As long as your masonry fireplace is open (no doors), it is consuming excess combustion air which is heated room air. This air then has to be replaced by cold outside air coming in thru openings in windows and doors.
A good insert is really the only way to go for getting heat out of your masonry fireplace.
This is my first post. You guys seem to really know your business(s). 'Hope that you can help me...
The majority of my home (2600 sq.' walk-out ranch in the Minneapolis area) is under a cathedral ceiling. I have 2 wood-burning fireplaces; 1 on the lower level and 1 on the main floor. The main floor fireplace is a walk-around structure extending through the cathedral ceiling with two open sides. The flue for the fireplace on the lower level runs through this massive stone-covered structure parallel (obviously) to the flue for the main floor double-sided-fireplace.
I want to use this main floor fireplace as a significant source of heat for the main level of the home.
I realize that the house empties of pre-warmed air (hot water boiler baseboard heat) without doors over the openings on both sides of the fireplace. I've spent many hours scribing steel supports for the hinge sides to match the stone openings as part of the glass doors that I am building.
An outside air feed is possible (and necessessary, or course) but, I won't go into detail so as not to confuse the isssue, except to say that the air feed would enter the fireplace side.
Does anyone know of a wood-burning insert, blower, etc. that opens on 2 sides?
Last edited by 2dach; 11-05-2007 at 04:11 AM.
Reason: Word not needed.
If you want efficiency out the fireplace then one needs to think about a typical furnace:
1. Heat source (natural gas).
2. Heat Exchanger to extract heat from the combustion.
- Furnace uses fresh air for combustion.
- Furnace uses warm indoor air to make it hotter for heating.
The fireplace problem is that it uses "warm indoor air" for combustion so it makes the house cold.
So for firplace
- Bring in fresh air intake into the furnace would help.
- Close the FP doors when fire is burning.
- Use something like heat exchanger: http://home.earthlink.net/~ke6hfj/Grate/grate.html
You can ask a local steel place to weld something like this for you...as long as the bottom tubing sucks in warm air and top tubing blows out hot air. Make sure it fits in the existing FP doors bottom and top vents.
Forget all those crazy heat exchangers for open fireplaces. What they are good for is exchanging your money for their crap. If you want heat, buy an insert stove( gas, wood, or pellet). If you want aesthetics, understand it comes at a price. Can't have your cake and eat it, too.
FYI, those HX tubes were tested by Jay Shelton 20 yrs ago and found to be a joke. Also, being steel, it will burn out in a year or two most likely.
Point well taken on the heat exchangers for a woodburning fireplace.
Regarding a fireplace insert;
I have been to literally dozens of websites selling dozens of brands of inserts and have yet to see one that is open on two sides (see through, if you will). Sure, I could have a top-of-the-line one-sided insert installed but, please keep in mind that the existing fireplace in question is a double-sided, see through, walk-around, 2 story, flagstone-covered, central part of the main floor. Noone wants to be looking at the back of the insert while in the room behind or opposite the hearth.
While a manufactured fireplace is a set depth, inserts are inserted into existing fireplaces of varying depths. The adjustments in trim panels alone would be a bear but there is also the testing and clearance issue that no mfr. would want. Lastly, there is almost no demand for this product. Also, why do you need that much heat back to back? The adjoining rooms would cook.
Since the price of two wood stoves installed is significant, why not tear out what you have an install one stove or factory built fireplace/ stove hybrid?