I have a great deal of respect for your knowledge (not to mention the gratis time that you spend on this site) and I'm not trying to be difficult however, December 23 is my 30th wedding anniversary. If I tear out this 9' by 3' freestanding, 2 story (nearly), flagstone unit, I would very doubtfully see my 31st and the woodburning fireplace on the lower level of the house would no longer have a run for its flue.
With baseboard hot water heat (and of course no furnace ducts) I'm kinda stuck or limited in areas with room to improve the internal temp. of the home without turning up the temp on the boiler.
I am a carpenter with a heavily wooded lot. Nearly everyday I bring home scraps of maple, oak, cherry, pine, etc., hoping that someday that growing pile can be put to good use (along with the large, growing pile of logs) to help heat the house during our sub-zero winters. I do not like to pay for insurance (of course I do pay) and I don't like to pay $300+/month gas heating bills.
This wood is a free resource so I am seeking all adaptable resources with which to use it.
I've replaced all windows and this spring will be tearing off the roof to properly insulate the cathedral ceiling (thus most of the house) with the addition of soffit-to-ridge air chutes and the addition of at least R30 to the existing R12 (maybe)...and (as long as we're there) add a workshop onto the 2 1/2 car garage (excavation to take place while she's at work ).
How does one make it to 30 years of marriage? Give and take and comprimise...If I add the workshop I have to remodel the kitchen..."yessss, dear".
getting heat from a fireplace
I was thinking about lining my fireplace with tubes that could be access with the glass doors shut. Mount the glass doors to steel adaptor about a 1 ½ inches wide where the pipe would come through for the air intake and discharge, Since the pipe would more or less not come in contact with the fire, just pick up heat the burn out problem would be limited. Also to hide the pipe with one of those steel fireplace plate so you would not see that much of the pipe.
My fireplace has a outside draw for air to maitain the fire so the loss of warm air would be limited.
Let me recap my position:
Regardless what you end up doing, you need a Level II inspection to ascertain if it is useable or if it needs repairs.
The only way to get heat out of a fireplace is to install a gas, wood or pellet insert stove as previously described. All other heat exchanger tubes, pipes and gimmicks will suck away your money, not deliver worth a hoot and possibly pose a hazard to your home.
Remember, what ever you are proposing must meet the codes. In order to modify an existing fireplace, you would need to run plans by your bldg dept.. I know a little about the bldg dept in Minn. and they are knowledgeable about hearth systems. If you want to provide adequate makeup air 100% from outdoors, you would need to seal up the front of the Fp air tight then blow a similar size opening through the side of your home directly to the outdoors. Since this is not practical nor code compliant, forget about it. They simply ain't no other practical way of getting heat out of a fireplace except inserts. Rumford fireplaces suck out less heat than a std. open hearth but they are still air hogs.
2dach, If you installed an insert into one side, you would need to brick up the other side so it complied with the code, then patch in flagstone over that. Sorry but not many choices for you.
In all cases, I recommend paying a hearth professional to come to your house and advise you.
Keep the fire inside the fireplace.
After a year and a half with an new Fireplace Extrordinaire (enclosed, zero-clearance, positive-pressure, wood-burning), which IS extraordinary almost heats good-sized house on its own, the blower suddenly fails to start, even though the firebox is well above the threshold temperature.
Any suggestions where to investigate. I'm neither electrician or technician, but understand pretty well how the fireplace works. What to try first?
Also, wondering if I can change this to a manual switch, instead of thermostat, since the threshold temperature for starting the blower seems way too high for me.
Sorry, I think I submitted what I intended to be a question/thread about a fireplace blower, in the form of a reply to someone else's question, possibly causing some confusion or annoyance. I've since posted my question in the proper way, I hope.
As far as providing heat for the home , you're probably not going to do any better than a wood burning stove or a nice cast iron fireplace insert , if you do not want to lose the look of a natural fireplace and desire more heat from that fireplace you might want to look into the Bellfire system .
I have installed dozens of the Bellfire's and I got nothing but rave reviews from my customers .
Some people are just not willing to comprimise with losing the look and feel of a natural fireplace .
As I was researching this bellfire I came across these people who are getting quotes of $3000 to as much as $8000 to install these. Is that the going rate on these? That's crazy! Many were saying they couldn't get anyone to do it at all.
What have you found?
Originally Posted by TNTonPMS
Mmmm, Yes they are very expensive.
You need the Bellfire precast system, you need the stainless smoke chamber , you need the stainless liner and whatever alterations to the firebox to install the system, often times customers just want to fit one inside the existing space which will naturally make the viewing area smaller.
It should be on par with what a mason would charge you for demolition and rebuilding your old inefficient fireplace.
Insulation is needed around the new liner and behind the bellfire system.
It is quite involved and a very heavy system but works very well as far as throwing heat into the room and burning complete, that means having nothing but pure ash at the floor of the fireplace after the fire has gone out .
$3000 seems cheap, I mean depending on the size of the bellfire then the liner and the stainless smoke chamber and the special insulation used, you're bordering material cost alone.
5-6K is a good estimate but it really depends on size.
A quality installation is Paramount, I can not stress that enough.
You will get what you pay for.
Best of luck to you
Edited to add:
Sometimes the install could be done without the smokechamber, it seems to work more efficiently with it though as a complete system.That would really depend on your existing config.
Last edited by TNTonPMS; 01-06-2010 at 08:26 AM.
Reason: forgotten info
I have a couple of questions...
I am looking into building a passive solar home, probably a slab with what i believe is called an "in-floor hydronic system", with a large, centrally located masonry fireplace, probably an insert, my question is would it be worth my while to extend the hydronic system into the masonry structure to act as a radiant in floor heat system? Is this just redundant? Will the masonry itself radiate enough heat? Also in an open hearth system could cold external air be vented in to replace the room temperature air and help to prevent condenation issues?