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  1. #1

    Researching High efficiency Fireplace Designs - Suggestions?

    I am thinking about a fireplace for a retirement house but would like to know if there are any traditional brick style built-in fireplace that incorporate high efficiency designs with high exchangers, recirculating tubes, etc.

    What's the state of the art today?

    Can you suggest sites or manufacturer's products that are known for quality that I can investigate?

    Thanks all knowledgeable ones!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Powell River, BC, Canada
    Posts
    763
    Regency makes some nice ones.

    http://www.regency-fire.com/Wood/Fireplace/
    Where are you? Are you done yet? I got ONE more call for you.....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    1,383
    I saw the hearth an architect built for himself ten years or so ago. He had a rather massive and too large (for my taste) brick hearth/surround built for a free standing gas stove. Total overkill in practical terms, but it had the feel of a traditional brick fireplace.

    Interesting idea, but it was just too massive for a relatively small stove that put out a modest amount of heat and had no need for the kind of clearance to conmbustibles that was being implied by it's construction.

    The walls surrounding the stove were covered with brick which also extended out under and in fron of the gas stove.

  4. #4

    An hour or so found some great sites and this info

    RSF Energy

    Fireplace Xtrordinair

    Magna-Fyre™ Zero Clearance

    Intens-A-Fyre designed for a masonry enclosure

    Great Site and discussion of many types: http://revelle.net/lakeside/fireplaces.html

    Magnum, one maker of advanced combustion fireplaces, offers a comparison table of the top 7 brands. An advanced combustion fireplace from FireplaceXtraordinair comes either in wood fired or gas fired options. In particular, the Elite 44 is said to produce 2.5 grams of emissions/hour and burn with an efficiency of 72%. The BIS II from Security is yet another advanced combustion zero clearance fireplace. The EPA has a web page listing certified wood stoves (which includes some fireplaces.) Among fireplaces that a) meet our current dimensions (see below) and b) are EPA certified are the Lennox Brentwood and the RSF Onyx and Opel. RSF has a helpful vocabulary guide to fireplaces. Majestic Fireplaces seems to have one "advanced combustion" EPA certified fireplace, the Sequoia. The Quadra Fire meets our energy requirements, but is too large for the space. Similarly, the Regency is EPA II certified but requiresd 59.5 inches from bottom to mantel.

    (A problem we encountered with the Fireplace Xtrordinaire which we thought we would install is that it requires at least 24 inches of clearance from the top of the face plate to the mantel. Although this is clearly stated in the manual, no one, including the installer, bothered to notice this. So, we now need to look for another fireplace! Everyone focussed on the code requirements (12 inches) and were misled by a diagram in the FPX installation guide. Careful reading, however, shows that our mantel is much too close to operate the fireplace safely. Discussions on hearth.net suggest that this is not an unusual problem. Meeting our requirements for a raised hearth and the mantel we have put in is difficult, in that the distance is just 45 inches. However, the RSF Onyx seems to work. )


    Magnum Zero Clearance
    Magnum Masonry
    Country Flame Line

    This Country Flame SMART fireplace design is very close to what my untrained handyman brainstorming solution had in mind. It ties back to the home ventilation system to distribute heat.

    LENNOX Elite series Fireplaces > ME-43

    Quadra-Fire 7100

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Stevens Pass, WA
    Posts
    4
    Look up "russian oven" or "russian stove". Not exactily state of the art, but the design is time tested and proven. I've seen setups with heat exchangers built in them to heat the hot water in the house.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
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    6,205

    Cool web links

    www.rumford.com
    www.mha-net.org

    for a factory built unit that is EPA Phase II certified that is a hybrid half fireplace/ half stove, check out the Quad 7100i/Heatilator Constitution/ Heat&Glo North Star at www.fireplaces.com
    Some nice hearth design tools on this site.

    HTH.
    Hearthman

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Long Island New York
    Posts
    8
    Quote Originally Posted by hearthman View Post
    www.rumford.com
    www.mha-net.org

    for a factory built unit that is EPA Phase II certified that is a hybrid half fireplace/ half stove, check out the Quad 7100i/Heatilator Constitution/ Heat&Glo North Star at www.fireplaces.com
    Some nice hearth design tools on this site.

    HTH.
    Hearthman
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Now that is a really interesting set up , I would love to see this in action somewhere , I can not say I have ever seen this system before , it does sound incredible , though it does not sound cheap by any means .

    Though a lot of what we do isn't .

    I do a lot of work with pre cast refractory panels in existing fireplaces , this sytem appears to be similar ?

    Thank you for the heads up , I love learning of different products , this I have nevver even heard of .

    These are the steel reinforced refractory I was mentioning .
    http://www.hearthandflue.com/item_Li...2028A-Bellfire
    Last edited by TNTonPMS; 02-23-2009 at 07:37 PM. Reason: adding info

  8. #8

    Not sure I see the value there in the pre-cast

    It doesn't seem to be a high efficiency design. I don't see air circulating channels or duct connections.

    I have four traditional brick fireplaces in my home and we don't use any of them. The house gets colder when we do. I'd consider a high efficiency insert retrofit but the economy has botched that.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    9,564
    Quote Originally Posted by hearthman View Post
    www.rumford.com
    www.mha-net.org

    for a factory built unit that is EPA Phase II certified that is a hybrid half fireplace/ half stove, check out the Quad 7100i/Heatilator Constitution/ Heat&Glo North Star at www.fireplaces.com
    Some nice hearth design tools on this site.

    HTH.
    Hearthman
    Are these all UL listed? Wouldn't want to put in an unlisted Rumford...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,205

    Thumbs down listing to port

    Sysint, you are one frustrated, gloomy man. You know quite well masonry site built fireplaces cannot be "listed". They can be recognized by building codes and stds. thanks for just stirring things up and reminding us how miserable you are.

    Rumford fireplaces provide some radiant heat. They are not tested to an AFUE energy rating for example. Of all open hearth fireplaces, Rumfords, Rosin, Frisch, PriorFire, Bellfire, or Ahrens are better than traditional masonry open hearths but they ALL still lose a lot of energy and excess air up the stack.

    The masonry heaters including Russian stoves are much more efficient but have limited viewing area of the fire and only burn for about one hr. at a time. However, they are among the most efficient, heating a home with one to two one hour burns per day.

    The hybrid stove/ fireplaces are tested and listed to the dreaded Ul standards by a recognized testing lab (not necessarily UL). Some may claim efficiency testing but most have also received EPA Phase II certification for emissions.

    Properly installed, they all do a good job at what they were designed for but they are all different. Do your research, ask a lot of people for opinions based upon your expectations and don't choose until you're happy with your decision. Or, you can take Eyore's attitude and slit your throat so you won't have to worry about those dreaded codes , standards and especially, listings.

    TNT, which setup were you referring to?

    Hearthman
    So ashamed for actually believing there is value in codes, standards and listings and playing by rules.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    9,564
    Quote Originally Posted by hearthman View Post
    Sysint, you are one frustrated, gloomy man. You know quite well masonry site built fireplaces cannot be "listed". They can be recognized by building codes and stds. thanks for just stirring things up and reminding us how miserable you are.
    Nope. Making a point. Here on one side you are talking about recognized codes and standards of the manufacturer of the masonry fireplace (Mason) but you (for what reason?) won't let a pellet stove manufacturer follow standards of a quality product and let building codes and construction standards be enough.... No. Not Hearthman. He wants some Insurance Company Underwriters Lab to tell him what's good.... even though they don't endorse products. Very liability free zone UL plays in and rakes in huge dollars to do it. Further, they serve the interests of insurance companies who really don't want to pay out any money for anything. UL sure helps them achieve their goal.

    I'll take that unlisted masonry fireplace built by a guy who knows what he's doing over any UL stamped piece of garbage any day. My position is consistent and clear. You fence jump both sides and have an inconsistent application of thought on the matter.

    I say to anyone having the opportunity to install what's in this thread over any UL sanctioned product ANY day. You will be significantly further ahead should there be an issue.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
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    Thumbs down really miserable guy

    Sysint, have you checked to see if Ted Kazcinski's Unabomber cabin is available? Since you are so anti-technology, I guess you live in a cabin with no electricity, heat or plumbing because all those things require listed parts and components. I'm sure you sold your car and walk on moccasins made with genuine vegetable tan instead of chrome tanned leather. I still don't see how you are online because some of the parts of your computer or connection probably have listed components or that dreaded UL listing mark.

    Society started off with people going freestyle. However, when some people cut corners, other people got hurt so laws were passed to protect the public good. You can trace that back to Hammurabbi in Babylon. Without those laws and rules, we would not have progressed. Historically, fire codes evolved only when people died. Now, you want to revert back to cave man times. Society doesn't agree with you.

    I haven't jumped ship on anything. I support the codes that prescribe site built masonry fireplace and I support listings for factory built fireplaces. I don't follow your thought about not letting a pellet stove mfr. follow stds. Please speak English--what in the heck are you babbling about?

    An entire cottage industry arose to correct the problems made by those masons you claim know what they are doing. Masons who conveniently disappear and are never held accountable. Masons who built 36x30 inch fireplaces with 8x13 flue tiles and put them in $3million homes. Masons who use damaged flue tiles improperly stacked bedded in thick joints of improper mortar connected to improper smoke chambers with improper dampers to improper throats.........which we see every day. The number of proper fireplaces out there you can count on one or two hands.

    BTW, will your ace mason be building those fireplaces using modern materials? If so, he would be using ASTM C-315 flue tiles, C-199 refractory mortars, C-476 for masonry grouts, and lay the firebox in accordance with C-1261. You just can't seem to escape those nasty old standards, can you?

    Sysint, if you don't have anything positive or righteous to say, why do you insist on posting here? Is it to bring others down, because you do. You've made your point that you hate UL and a certain pellet stove mfr.. Why don't you move on and go ruin somebody else's day, little black cloud.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    9,564
    Your UL preaching is a dangerous activity. It discredits professionals and other NRTLS, while offering protection to the insurance industry.

    I don't mind codes and standards. I mind that UL is THE reference for any codes and standards. Any NRTL that has any influence in any way from an insurance company should be banned from consideration. Further, any NRTL should carry enough responsibility to not pull off the stunts UL has pulled throughout the years. More accountability needed.

    However, that is entirely not the way it is.

    So, my preference is that the manufacturer takes responsibility for his equipment rather than some insurance company sponsored testing lab telling him he needs to change the way he makes product, or show up unannounced with the ability to charge significant sums of money on forced service.

    It has nothing to do with preferring technology or not. I work for a very technically competent technology. More to the point, they are competent and put out high quality products. They don't need someone from UL that doesn't have a clue tell them that and get a check. It's their standard.

    Tell you what-- maybe I can force the the WD (watchdog) label on NRTL's like UL. I'll force them to pay to make sure they can maintain WD status. They can write WD checks for coming in to make sure they are consistent in their testing process for certification. Should UL change anything the WD should be able to come in and if they don't PAY UP WD can remove or suspend their NRTL status.

    If UL can manufacture a whole business, somebody else can too. Fair is fair, right? Trouble is unless the government does it the insurance lobby would never stand for that scrutiny against their own.

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