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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    Posts
    309

    Wood Fireplace HEAT EXCHANGER anyone?

    I have a masonry fireplace and am burning wood.

    I came across this Heat Exchanger online (see pic).

    Does this work (making room warmer) or is it just gimmick?

    Thanks.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    The Twilight Zone
    Posts
    2,964
    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.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    Posts
    309
    What is an "insert"?
    Could you link a picture somewhere?

    Thanks

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    1,078

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    Posts
    309
    Thanks for the info,

    Does this insert work though?
    Does it heat up the room like a Vermont Casting Wood Oven (i.e., the Wood Oven on 4 legs)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    1,078
    It uses the same technology as a free standing stove but is designed to fit inside an existing fireplace. With the optional blowers they throw out a lot of heat.

    Masonry fireplaces are maybe 10-30% efficient if you are lucky, the wood inserts are going to be 70%+ for the most part. Less wood burned and more heat.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    4

    Challenge for You?

    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.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    Posts
    309
    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.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,300

    Thumbs down

    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.

    Hearthman

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    1,383
    Keep in mind that masonry fireplaces were state of the art technology in Europe in the 12th century. They are about the same level of efficiency today.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    4
    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.

    Does such an animal exist?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,300

    Cool ST Fps

    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?

    Hearthman

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    Posts
    309
    How does an insert work?
    I have looked at their design and it looks like the "built-in heat exchanger" is designed to produce heat like a HX?

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