Heatilator ND 4236
WE have a 4 yr old home built with Heatilator ND4236. FP exits on westside of home and is exposed to cold easterly winds. We experience severe cold air leakage from base of unit where air would normally be drawn in to be heated. (From what i understand)
Builder did remove siding and make repairs/insulate back of unit during our first winter in home. It seemed to help. During winter of 2008-09 we noticed cold air leaking again and sealed off base air supply, secured gas and quite using unit.
Builder went out of business. Local Heatilator is reluctant to repair as he did not do install. He did suggest removing siding around back of unit, cut out insulation and add bags of vermiculite to seal up outside of Heatilator. He told me, off the record, that Heatilator would advise he to do same.
House is a ranch with vent coming straight out back of unit horizontally Fireplace sits on cement kickout with plywood base. Ground clearance is approx 5 inches off ground.
Appreciate any advise. I was told to figure $2500 to remove and reseal. Also read air leakage is always an issue and most builders were not qualified to do proper install. It is getting confusing!
Ok first thing, the vermiculite trick is old, and also violates the clearances of the fireplace and venting and WILL make your house start on fire eventually. Maybe this is why Heatilator would not reccomend it? I suggest not listing to anything that guy says after that stupid suggestion.
Secondly, make sure the glass on the fireplace is seated properly and clipped on in all for corners, or all three springs acorss the top depending on the glass mount it has.
If air is not leaking through the glass, it is probably leaking into the chase behind the fireplace due to the walls back there not being built / insulated to proper building codes.
This has been brought up on this forum amny times.
The tip to use vermiculite came from a Heatilator dealer. He did claim Heatilator had suggested same thing in the past. Glad I got a 2nd opinion.
I have had the glass off and re-installed it and all 4 clips are in place.
Is it possible that the air could be entering through the air supply for the firebox?
I see you are in Madison. Ever get to Racine area for work or can you recommend someone who can handle this type of repair? I don't see myself going back to local dealer.
After builder repaired/re insulated, I thought my issues were resolved because it did seem to be sealed for two winters
The combustion air supply is sealed to the unit, if that was comprimised somehow it could be leaking. Never seen it happen. Some heatilators have an issue if someone starts taking screws out for rear venting, but then goes to top vent and does not put all the screws back, it can leak. I have only seen this once and it was an old GCDC60. I don't think current models have the same setup.
What dealer did you talk to? Badgerland in Waukesha?
Did you see any of the work the builder did? Curious if he sealed the insulation with drywall or something on the inside, or did he just add extra insulation?
I didn't see repairs but The expediter for Neumann was a good friend and I believe he had installer do what they felt was a superior job. All of the repairs were conducted from outside. They removed sheets of siding and added insulation as necessary and where it made sense.
I first talked to the retailer in Sturdevant, Alaskan Fireplace I believe is the name.
read the old threads given
ditto on JTP's comments. Anyone recommending packing any kind of insulation around a fireplace is a special kind of idiot and not your friend.
Note the difference btw insulation and air sealing--two entirely separate issues. Read the threads he linked before going any further.
Now that this dealer has proven they are idiots, you will need to find someone else for service. JTP knows his stuff and will assist you. I know him personally and he is top notched.
Keep the fire inside the fireplace.
Thanks Hearthman. Glad I found this forum. Now I just need to find someone I can trust to do a proper repair.
Well it is strange that it seemed to not leak air for 2 years. I would first have someone come service the fireplace and check for air leaks there. Before you do have someone come out can try a few things to pinpoint it a little more.
A quick test you can do though is find the hole where the gas line comes in, stuck your hand or finger through there and see if you can feel a vast temp difference or air flowing from behind the fireplace to inside the house. If it feels cold back there, or there is air flowing into the house from back there its probably the chase walls leaking, and not the fireplace. Be very careful around the sharp metal where the holes are cit out.
Also you can try another trick. Turn the gas off to the fireplace and then tape a bag over the cap sealing it to the siding. If the cold air stops coming in then its leaking through the venting or the fireplace. If it continues, it is leaking through the chase. I would give it a day or two with the plastic there to let temperatures stabilize.
I would hate to have you waste money on a building contractor to find out later it was the fireplace that was leaking the air in. If you determine it is leaking through the chase walls, I would wait till after that's fixed to have someone look at the fireplace itself.
The gasline is sealed where it comes into through the box. FWIW, the gas line comes in through the bottom and is accessible through the basement. The fireplace is on a kickout where the foundation is built out.
Will try closing off the cap and get back to you.
I have the same issue... same builder.
Mi ND4236 doesn't get very warm at all. How big should the flames be? And how close should I need to be to feal the heat? Do these come with Concrete logs I could replace with ceramic?
I am wondering how much is the build quality... is this a good fireplace or should I have low expectations?
Thanks for the info on alaskan fireplaces... although the guys in lake geneva told me they wouldn't help me either.
jtp10181 seems to me that you should open a SE location business. Folks up and down the street by me all have similar problems. Shoot if you were to come out I could probably find a half dozen neighbors all wanting the same help. (seriously - I could probably do this we need someone like you)
Last edited by dougor; 02-12-2010 at 10:12 PM.
Chalky has already contacted me off the forums about doing a repair, so we might be in that area once we slow down a little. We could do 2 or 3 in one day. I have various contact info in my profile.
Also the Heatilator fireplaces are definitely made well and not a bad fireplace. The brand is geared towards "value". So for the basic "builder" models you get a good fireplace but without a lot of extra features. It should already have fiber-ceramic logs in it.
Do you get the same cold draft coming in under your fireplace? Or does yours just need service work done?
check the silicone used to seal the hole were the pilot line, thermopile& thermocouple come thru the firebox. they had some runs that used a different silicone and has been found to get hard and break apart causing air to leak thru that area.
Still looking for assistance
I started talking to Heatilator. They seem quite certain issue is install related.
I went back out today and pulled the cap off just for my own curiosity. It looked like normal stove pipe on cap where it goes through wall and just presses into pipe coming up from Heatilator.
FP has a horizontal exit with a 90* down pipe where cap matches up. In looking at various instructions, it generally shows a inner/outer pipe, not the single pipe I saw. Is this normal?
I found one of the original construction people and he indicated the chases were all drywall finished and insulated. I am beginning to think my issues are related to the vent pipe leaking air.
Appreciate any info on the pipe for venting as far as type of pipe and any other relevant info.