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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    216

    Can I put in a wood burning stove?

    When i was younger, my folks had a fireplace insert that had a door on it and when it got hot enough, a fan would come on and blow all that hot air out into the room. A big living room could be 85 degrees in no time at all.

    I have moved into a newer home, and I want to know if this type of insert or stove can be added. I ask because my parents fireplace was actually masonry, or as i call it a true hearth. Mine is not made like that. It is basically wood framed, masonry ont eh outside, but basically a hollow framed core on the inside. The fireplace i have is what i would call a low clearance kind. Its pretty big, but its not a true hearth. Its manufactured. While i can build all teh fire i want in it and heat the room, its obviously not very efficient. Can i put an insert in this type of fireplace?

    EDIT: I do not mean "I" as in, me do it. I mean can i have one put in. I do not know the model of fireplace i have now, but its a majestic.

  2. #2
    I used to work for a stove company.
    I once built a prototype inset stove that sat within a steel box.
    There was a 3" cap between the stove and the outer box which allowed air to convect around the stove.
    I added a fan to improve the efficiency of the stove.
    even if the stove surface temperature was 500 degrees celcius, the outer box never got above 100 degrees.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    1,078
    Sounds like you have a prefab open fireplace. You may be able to put an insert in it. Find some local dealers and check things out. www.Quadrafire.com has a dealer finder and they are doing some good deals right now also.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,052

    Exclamation inserts into factory built fireplaces

    No, you cannot install an insert stove into a factory built fireplace. There is a task force working on this right now under Underwriters Laboratories because of testimony by Dale Feb, myself and others at the HPBA Technical Cmte. meeting last yr. at EXPO. The entire setup would have to be tested as a system: fireplace, stove, liner, termination hardware. To date, nobody, including HHT has done this. Several mfrs. will tell you its ok to install their stove into specific fireplaces and some state you can install then into any fireplace. However, the Codes require all installations be tested and listed. This voids the warranty and listing of the fireplace, stove and liner respectively.
    If you have a factory built fireplace and want some serious heat, consider ripping it out and installing one of the EPA Certified hybrid half fireplace/ half woodstoves which offer the heat of a stove with the ability to burn as an open hearth and is tested and listed as such.

    We see stove installations into fireplaces where they destroyed the original fireplace to get the stove in there. You block the cooling air that was going up the chimney, much like a ventfree. Then, you add a lot of heat into that chimney off the liner but no way to dissapate the heat. You cannot use the original termination so the transition to a liner cap will either block cooling air, allow rain penetration or retain heat and ignite the chase top. BTW, when you install a stove outside its listing, it becomes an unlisted stove, which carries a 36" clearance to combustibles. Your jack studs and header are how far from the stove??? The base of the fireplace is tested to hold 200lbs spread over the entire base. A 400lb stove can easily crush the base of a fireplace. I could go on but you see the dilemma? I hope so.

    The International Assn. of Fireplace and Chimney Inspectors has published a position statement against this practice: www.membersiafci.org

    HTH,
    Hearthman

    Hearthman

  5. #5

    Wow.

    That is an excellent post Hearthman.
    Really great information.
    -br

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio (geauga County)
    Posts
    46
    I agree..When I first got into the business, I had a hard time grasping the concept of wood burning in a prefab box. And now I have been seeing wood burning inserts in the prefab box, usually quadra fire.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,052

    Cool bad marriage

    Quad develped the 2700i just for installation into factory built fireplaces..........based upon dimensions. They mocked it up in the lab with a short section of liner stubbed out the appliance collar and fired it. The numbers didn't look bad so they launched it. I argued for years they failed to locate a liner listed for this application, failed to develop and provide the necessary transition hardware at the top of the chimney or conduct a full test with the fireplace in boards, full chimney, stove and liner. There were many assumptions made and you know how those can go. I've argued with the engineers, risk managers, corp. attorneys, Senior Mgt., and inventors on this but now they are seeing the light as others bring it into focus. Fire losses have a way of getting attention, too.

    Unfortunately, the same problems can exist with pellet and gas inserts---we just don't know. Some pellet stoves are approved for built in construction. However, that allows for some air circulation in the chase cavity. Again, installation into a UL127 box blocks cooling air. I know of one pellet stove where they condone gutting the original fireplace until it is just a shell.

    Moreover, the UL1482 test is done in an alcove structure, which means there is plenty of air circulation to ventilate the walls. An insert is entombed in a steel coffin with no air circulation. That's because it was tested and intended for use in a masonry cave (fireplace)--not combustible construction.

    The CSA B415 tests for efficiency do not address clearances or safety.

    It's a hard pill to swallow but there it is. I'm afraid there won't be any remedies any time soon on this. In the meantime, the EPA fireplace replacement remains the best alternative. I will report back on the Tech Cmte from EXPO in a few weeks. Stay tuned,

    Hearthman

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio (geauga County)
    Posts
    46
    Thanks for the info..JB

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    9,564
    Quote Originally Posted by boltonranger View Post
    That is an excellent post Hearthman.
    Really great information.-br
    I'm sorry but I disagree. Not with Hearthman's information necessarily but that he is dealing with UL. With all the mistakes UL makes in this industry you think you could get a more reputable NRTL than UL. Actually, it's about time people start finding a different label to use.

    The "tested as a system" mantra is UL. Tell you what, define a method and components that satisfy that method. This "tested as a system" garbage has to stop. It just lines UL's pockets with lots and lots of money. Is your light switch tested with specific wire and specific receptacles and lights as a system? NO. Otherwise every house would have the same product sets. However, if UL had a shot at doing that I'm sure they would try it. Last time I checked I'd say that UL and the AHJ's UL mantra isn't doing the job. Maybe people should consider education and standards rather than this "tested as a system" excuse way of doing things. People have brains, I say start using them rather than have AHJ's frantically looking for the magical UL labeling system and turning a blind eye with a false sense of acceptance.

    Here's a real world example of a stupid "tested as a system" garbage UL puts forth. We have a product used in communication on a UL864 smoke system. The core circuitry (identical) is also used in another product model we have that does 100% redundant communication. SO, you have two of those in your smoke system and you have 100% redundant communication... Guess what? Not listed in that "tested as a system" garbage stance UL puts forth so it's not listed. That has to be the most retarded stance from a logical standpoint I've heard in some time, but that's UL for you. Of course, UL will take lots of more money from you to list that as an additional tested system. So, try to tell me it's not about the money with them...

    Hearthman, keep pushing your standards. I'm sure your an asset to the industry. Just stay away from the UL kool aid and use your head and I'm sure you can come up with decent guidelines.
    Last edited by sysint; 02-20-2009 at 07:14 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
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    Question tested as a system bogus?

    Sysint, you are passionate about the industry!

    Just to clarify: UL has promulgated certain listings such as 127 for factory built woodburning fireplaces, 1482 for woodstoves, 1777 for chimney liners, 103HT for factory chimney, etc. ANSI has promulgated their Z-series: 221 National Fuel Gas Code, Z-21.88 for heater rated direct vents, Z21.15 for gas shutoffs, Z21.24 for gas flex connectors, Z21.60 for vented logs, Z21.11.2b for ventfree logs, etc., etc. ASTM has E-1509 for pellet stoves, C-315 for terra cotta flue tiles, E-199 for refractory mortar, E-136 for non-combustible materials, etc.

    UL does not have a monopoly on promulgating standards. Now, as a mfr. you have a choice of testing labs to test your product to one of these stds.: OMNI, ETL, UL, etc.

    Like it or not, society has spoken, through our building codes, that they want codes, standards, and listings. Standards provide some measure of predictability and it is that which we tend to hang our hats. Sure, no std. is perfect. We see this all the time. No std. is fully comprehensive to every possible condition of use or iteration. The point is, the alternative, no standards, has not served us well, which has driven us to this point. Left to their own devices, people will cut corners or do things that we simply now have data on that we know are wrong or statistically will cause a problem.

    These Stds. are consensus Stds, meaning their genesis and continual existence is constantly reviewed and adjusted as needed by professionals from a mandatory mix of backgrounds and disciplines to ensure an accurate view of the product. I sit on the UL103 Standards Technical Panel, which reviews all the venting listings. I knock heads with mfrs., distributors, etc. all the time. There is a current move to weaken the listing requirements for aluminum chimney liners. So far, I have helped defeat this, though narrowly. It's not a perfect system but it is better than allowing sweeps to roll their own liners and do whatever they want.

    If you don't think they will, just go to the Chimney Safety Institute of America's website: www.csia.org and read their position statement on the use of non-OEM aftermarket parts. The day they released this position, a sweep in Vt. jumped for joy that she now "had permission" from the CSIA to do what she wanted then asked if anyone knew of a metal fabricator who could roll their own chimney pipe and terminations for 30 yr old factory built fireplaces! For those reading this who don't know, the correct response would be to replace the entire fireplace.

    Now, to address your charge about "tested as a system" being baloney. If you change components, you change the heat signature of the fireplace. It affects not only clearances to combustibles but durability and performance. For instance, you can get most fireplaces to work with universal thermocouples available from your hardware store. However, I know of cases where there was an incident with injuries arising from this practice. You see, the TC and pilot bracket control the dropout rate of the pilot. If it takes too long to dropout, unacceptable gas can build up in the combustion chamber. Someone goes over to relight the pilot and BOOM! One blind eye and a million dollars later,..... Aftermarket chimney caps and glass doors HAVE caused unfriendly fires and burned houses down. Having worked in an R&D test lab and seen the numbers, I know it is true. I have investigated incidents in the field and know its true. I'm sorry you have a beef with UL. I personally know of an impropriety they committed with a listing test so they are not lilly white.

    When man chooses to live together in a society, he has to develop laws. This is an evolutionary process. If you have information about faults in the system, it is incumbent upon the professional to be part of the system and formally bring it to the attention of the listing agency or lab and the agency who wrote the stanard. They will listen and covet feedback from the field.

    I invite more discussion on this matter as that's how we all learn, including me.
    Thx,
    Hearthman

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    9,564
    Quote Originally Posted by hearthman View Post
    Like it or not, society has spoken, through our building codes, that they want codes, standards, and listings. Standards provide some measure of predictability and it is that which we tend to hang our hats. .....

    These Stds. are consensus Stds, meaning their genesis and continual existence is constantly reviewed and adjusted as needed by professionals from a mandatory mix of backgrounds and disciplines to ensure an accurate view of the product. I sit on the UL103 Standards Technical Panel, which reviews all the venting listings. I knock heads with mfrs., distributors, etc. all the time. There is a current move to weaken the listing requirements for aluminum chimney liners. So far, I have helped defeat this, though narrowly. It's not a perfect system but it is better than allowing sweeps to roll their own liners and do whatever they want....
    Now, to address your charge about "tested as a system" being baloney. If you change components, you change the heat signature of the fireplace. It affects not only clearances to combustibles but durability and performance. For instance...I'm sorry you have a beef with UL. I personally know of an impropriety they committed with a listing test so they are not lilly white....
    UL needs to make money. Period. Non-Profit means nothing because everybody wants their money that works there and insurance companies influences rule the day... They also need repeat business.

    I think your example PROVES my point. The manufacturer had expectations with the specified thermocouple. But, to have UL tell me that it's that unit, with that specific manufacturer of vent and cap is LUDICROUS. But that's what they do. It puts more money in their pocket. Next thing they will want is to specify the manufacturers of any bricks, screws, nuts and bolts with the system.

    Codes and standards are no substitute for intelligence. These UL hawking AHJ's can be really dumb if they want to hang their hat on that. I'm looking for intelligent installation and maintenance people. Here's another example: A company designed an electrical junction box out of solid concrete (they had their reasons) Some idiot AHJ didn't have a UL label on the one foot solid concrete and wanted to reject it in place of 16ga steel spot welded boxes... Can you think of anything more retarded? Facts are the engineered concrete was significantly superior solution. This is what that lousy NRTL does... take away any common sense and actual thought.

    What needs to happen is licensed installation with standards. I'm not advocating somebody rolling their own pipe (unless it meets specifications) but they sure as heck don't need to cow-tow to some ridiculous rating "as a system" crap UL spews.

    The units need to conform to standards, the design needs to conform, the venting needs to conform, but UL can take their "as a system" garbage and stick it... well you know where I'm going with that.

    In fact I wish I had enough of a bank account to sue any municipality that referred to UL rather than make it a general statement recognizing all NRTL's fairly. This reign of terror and incompetence needs to end.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    1,383
    Quote Originally Posted by sysint View Post
    but they sure as heck don't need to cow-tow to some ridiculous rating "as a system" crap UL spews.

    Not to knit pick, sysint, but I think that's supposed to be kow tow.

    A cow toe is something I'd like to see on the TV program "Parking Wars" about the Philadephia Parking Authority and the adventures of it's staff.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    9,564
    ...maybe I'm trying to call UL a bunch of fat cows that you bow down to...

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