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  1. #1

    How can I find/identify a competent gas FP installer?

    I just had a meeting with a professional gas fireplace installer who came highly recommended. I was not inspired with his advice.

    I have a gas fireplace that's had nothing but problems since it was installed new over 12 years ago. When it's windy, I get a lot of ghosting and the flame goes out. In addition, the fireplace will “pop” every 10 minutes when it's windy (fireplace is not on when this happens). This popping sound is caused by the metal of the fireplace itself flexing. In addition, as you can see from the enclosed picture, we've had some melting on the vinyl siding.

    I'm not looking to repair any of this myself. I realize a lot of issues could cause ghosting. However, the professional installer said he cannot guarantee the ghosting will not occur with a new install. He did not mention any potential issues such as the intake and exhaust vents being improperly connected or an improperly sealed bump out. He suggested I fabricate an enclosure around the exhaust vent to block some of the wind gusts (not safe in my view). As to the replacement fireplace, he pushed real hard for a vent-free fireplace but said he would install a vented fireplace for $1700 labor but wouldn't guarantee anything.

    So my question is, how can I find a professional installer who is competent? What questions should I ask him? And finally, is it just a fact of life that vented gas fireplaces aren't usable in moderately windy conditions?

    BTW, I live in Northern Virginia.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,225
    What are the make and model? I would shut that fireplace off at once and not use it until it has had a Level III inspection inside the chase for signs of pyrolysis (fire damage).

    Many things you say he said are scary but site fabricating some sort of unlisted windscreen is a problem any day. On a unit with symptoms of venting failure and melted siding is nuts.

    You can search www.nficertified.org for the nearest Gas Certified Specialist but that is no guarantee. I need you to enable private messages on your profile and I will pm you a company to contact. Whether he guarantees anything or not your State will have an implied warranty of merchantability and implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose in addition to construction defect law to hold him accountable. This is not the person you want.

  3. #3
    Apparently, PM messaging is a Pro Feature. I don't think I'd qualify for that. I added my email address to my profile. Hopefully, it's visible.

    My current fireplace is a Martin Industries 5500 RVP. My house was "spec built" and I assume this is a very cheap fireplace. I intend to replace it with a better fireplace, like a Mendota, but don't want the same issues.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Upper Michigan
    Posts
    3,589
    They do make 90% fireplaces that vent with PVC.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Pacific NW
    Posts
    28
    Not sure if you have resolved this issue yet....but my 1st question is does the cap indicate "HOT" and have an arrow? Most DV caps that I'm familiar with would vent downward...not out the side. You seem to have a cap that is open on both sides....obviously wind can and will enter the cap with that configuration.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    201
    I agree with illfixit, usually the top and bottom on dv caps is open while the sides are closed or have louvers. Looks like maybe your cap is rotated 90 degrees.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,225
    That's why I always press for the make and model so I can look it up in the manual to see what venting systems are approved for that particular model Fp. Even if the cap was oriented 90* wrong, how do you know it is the correct termination for that model Fp? Does it require Mil-Pac in the joints? Level or sloped up? What are the clearances to the termination? Does it have a flashing that slips up under the siding, does it caulk or free -float?

    I don't have the manual to this Martin and they are out of business. I recommend the OP contact Monessen Hearth which is now Vermont Castings Group as they have a very limited amount of technical support on Martin.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Pacific NW
    Posts
    28
    You are absolutely correct hearthman; there are an untold number of things we don't know or can't tell about this unit, the attached venting, or the quality/scope of installation.

    However, just like a real service call, I look for something that stands out as obvious when presented by a customer with a "list" of symptoms.

    As you advised earlier, the OP needs to get a professional to look at the unit as a whole as well as observe operations; only then might a realistic opinion be given.

    My original comment regarding the termination cap is provided a possible cause or partial cause of the issues described and a question the OP can ask his hearth pro when they are at his house and can review things as a whole.

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