Fireplace Extraordinaire
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    25

    Question

    We are building a custom home, and are at the point of picking fireplaces. We walked into a showroom to get some idea of the different fireplaces and came out with a list of a couple we liked. Turns out they were Fireplace Extraordinaires. We've been told they are the best and worth the money, but just wondering if anyone had any opinions or alternatives that make sense.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    1,383
    As a repairman, I tend to see equipment that is several years old or older. Most gas fireplaces have to be of reasonable quality in order to meet various certification standards.

    One consideration is whether the manufacturer will be in business a few years down the road so you will be able to get parts. The only outfit that I'd trust in that respect is Heatilator.

    Fireplaces vary rather widely in how user friendly they are with respect to maintenance and repair.

    One thing to consider is how easy it is to take off the glass cover. Increasingly, manufactures have clamp arrangements that make it easy to take the glass off for cleaning and maintenance, but others have large numbers of bolts and screws that can take a half hour to remove the glass, and a half hour to put it back on.


    Another job that needs to be done regularly is to disasseble and clean the pilot burner. Why don't you ask you sales rep to show you how that job is done? That might be quite amusing! Some manufacturers make that a pretty easy job, for others it's a BIG pain in the neck.

    Unfortunately, manufacturers change their models as fast as most people change their socks. I can't really make recomendations on particular models or manufacturers.

    Rather often, I imagine that the gas fireplace I'm repairing was designed by "Dilberts" engineering group.



    Seattle Pioneer

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,127

    Exclamation glass clips

    While the sping loaded glass clips make accessing the inside of the Fp easier and quicker, they main function if pressure relief. If you have an over pressure such as from delayed ignition, the glass will "burp" to relieve the pressure. However, if you're lighting a pilot and the delay is severe, you could get burned if flames shoot out the bottom gap. Therefore, when starting up a Fp for the first time, esp. LP, I recommend you remove the glass until you've started it and done it a few times until you're statisfied the burner ignites properly. FYI, ANSI allows 4 seconds to ignite the burner.

    Some units have aggravating glass, while others have deconrative fronts and surrounds that can be a real headache. You want to be able to access the valve compartment without too much hassle. If the front must be removed, you want one that lifts off easily.

    S/P, thanks for the HL endorsement. For the record, Quadrafire, Heat& Glo, and Heatilator are all part of Hearth & Home Technologies, the largest Fp company in the world- go to http://www.fireplaces.com . As for stability, their parent company, HNI Corp. is on a cash basis with no long term debt. Some of the other larger Fp companies seem to be in real financial difficulty right now.

    HTH,

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    25
    so I'm clear, you'd recommend these other brands over the Fireplace Extraordinaire or they are just another option if we don't want to go the Extraordinaire route?

    Also, are you saying FE has some of these problems that you find?

    I will check the other ones out as well. thanks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    54

    Smile

    Been doing HVAC work for years, went to Mount Pleasent for traing with HL few years back now find myself working for a H&G shop. It is in Tinners Union here so pay is the say. I work on all brands for them, but the HHT units are by far the best bunch to get parts and tech help with BTW a question for the HL rep you fellows have anything comparable to a H&G Escape and have you had any tech/design issue with said unit?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,127

    industry errata

    The product focus of Heat& Glo is for the designer units so I doubt we'll see a HL version of the Escape. BTW, Escape is growing bigger. New 42" box. Because this unit is so hot(high BTU) and brand new, we had a few bugs to work out such as where to locate things. For instance, the receiver for the multi-function wall switch/remote is now being installed on the line instead of being field installed.

    HL and HG do duplicate some units such as Titan/Olympus(Grand 50) and the wood burners. The HG woodburners are built in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa while the cast iron gas stoves are made in Colville, Wa. at the Quadrafire plant.

    As for financial stability of Travis Industries, I don't know but I think they are doing well. However, they are not part of the Big 3(HHT, CFM Majestic, and Lennox) of which I was referring.

    I'm glad to hear you've had positive experiences with HHT products. If you took one of Gene Schutte's courses in Mt. P., you're off to a great start.

    If you have any issues with HHT product, always contact Tech Services and provide them with the model & serial # so they can capture the info. in our database. Then, if you still cannot get answers, please feel free to contact me.

    Happy New Year!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    54

    Talking

    Hearthman the main problem that I am having with this Escape is that it is pulsing big time. Have changed the gas valve per Chad at HHT. The problem seems to one of losing flame rectification. The pilot is good and steady on the sensor and it is putting out 1mA however 45 min or so into the burn the turbulance inside the thing is causing the pilot to pull off the sensor and then it is pulsing the pulse varies from mild to actually shutting off the unit and the module then sparking again. The install guys did a good job the flue is only 22=24 feet high and they have installed the smallest restrictor that the unit will take. Both holes are open in this unit and I even tried to block the one by the pilot with one of the spare logs at Chads behest. It did not solve the problem either. Is there some kind of modification to the pilot such as a C or U shaped hood I could field fabricate that would resolve this issue. The homeowner is not real happy at this point but has been patien so far

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,127
    Chad is pretty sharp on IPI systems-- he wrote our service manual on them. I assume you gave him the serial# so he could enter it into the database and get a case# on it? This will help any engineers or others to see where you are with it.

    Can you take some digital pics of the house showing the venting then take some pics of the pilot burning, both at startup and as it cycles? Short MPEGS work great, too.

    I'd still look at your gas supply first before jumping to conclusions. What is your inlet pressure: static, burning, and under full house load? Have you changed the pilot orifice spud and/or pilot burner assy?

    I'll contact Chad tomorrow from my office as I'm on a Cmte. tracking recurring field problems and I want to stay on top of this.

    As for that rectification reading, did you mean Microamperes and not Milliamperes?

    Double check your ground with a meter. If there isn't a grounding strap on the pilot assy., ask Chad for one. Make sure the sensor and ground wires aren't touching the sides of the Fp--that sucker gets really hot!
    I tend to discourage pilot shields. They rarely help but often hinder. I guess you could experiment as long as it's under the direction of Tech Services but I wouldn't leave one in there without their ok.

    This is the first I'm hearing of this problem on this unit. Please keep me posted: harperb@hearthnhome.com
    **************************
    Sorry to put the group through this but this is an example of how to get problems solved--not by going freestyle without involving the factory.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    54

    Escape

    Well I did most of what you suggested with the exception of the pictures. Chad and I went through the pressures ECT. They were 13 static 12.5 running at front end of valve and 11.5 or so maybe a little less I do not have a digital mano. Chad is sending a new pilot assembly we had also discussed a new burner assembly he said was a possibility.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    East Texas
    Posts
    892
    Originally posted by brianmu
    We are building a custom home, and are at the point of picking fireplaces. We walked into a showroom to get some idea of the different fireplaces and came out with a list of a couple we liked. Turns out they were Fireplace Extraordinaires. We've been told they are the best and worth the money, but just wondering if anyone had any opinions or alternatives that make sense.
    I put one in my house that I built 2 years ago. Mine uses propane. The glass is actually ceramic, tranfers heat better.

    Stay away from the glass when it is running, my daughter was sitting on the hearth and her hair got too close.

    I like mine, puts out lots of heat.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Seattle Area
    Posts
    96
    A trip to a Vermont Castings Dealer would be well worth the trip in my opinion. Also there is a company just north of the Aurora bridge called The X Company that manufactures custom fireplaces, I imagine they are pretty spendy though.

  12. #12

    fireplace extrodinaire

    fireplace extrodinaire. Made by travis industries. i have one. i paid over 2K for it two years ago and never used it until this winter season. I have a few comments that i hope will prevent someone from wasting a lot of money for a very unreliable product. I will state the following:

    #1. You will pay very dearly to run this unit. I would estimate it will run you about $400. a month to use it as a furnace. it is not a substitute for a furnace. period. in one three week period at the start of the season i used a full tank of LP. (100 gal). i have no idea how long it was out of fuel.

    #2. The heat sensor will not function properly. They are now going to put in the 4th one. the fan will not go on. the flame ignites, runs for about two hours and the fan comes on for under ten minutes then stops, runs a couple of hours longer and the fan may come on, or may not. it is very frustrating. The dealer would not give me the number of the company as they don't like to have end users call them directly. (nice attitude) It took me a while but i found it on the internet.

    last week i told them to come and remove it from my house. of course, they wouldn't.

    i would not recommend this product under any circumstances.
    if you are using it to heat a home, you will pay for the price of the unit in two years in fuel costs.

    you owe it to yourself to look further at what is out there.
    you won't be sorry.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1

    Hmm Clare Brothers Fireplace????

    All I'm looking for is any information on a specific propane fireplace that I have. It's made by a company called Clare Brothers. The model # is CF 28. The serial is G0142981. There is also a code #, 28F-PVP. The make of it is called a Cambridge.
    Anything you can tell me?
    Thank you.

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