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  1. #1

    Question about a wood burning insert and the best way to circulate heated air

    Hi. Let me first point out that I am not a HVAC specialist or even remotely in this line of work. I am merely a home owner trying to do research about a wood burning insert and it's benefits. My apologies in advance if I use the wrong term regarding something.

    I am located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas. I live outside of town which only allows for heat by electricity. During the winter months, our heating bill will easily reach around $500. That is keeping the house on an average temp of 68. This cost has led me to research a fireplace insert. My question is regarding the best way to circulate it once the blower blows the heated air into the living room (where the fireplace is). Luckily my return air is in the hallway that is next to the living room. My thinking was that if I just ran the fan on the HVAC unit itself, that in time, it would start to warm the rooms. What I would like to try and avoid is having a living room that is 80 degrees while the rooms are 60. My hope was that introducing hot air at some point in the circulation would spread the heat throughout the house.

    Hopefully I was clear on what I was trying to do. Comments or suggestions?

    Also, my house is approx 3000 sq. ft.

    Thanks for your time and replies.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,195

    Thumbs up

    Once you have passed a Level II inspection then had the stove installed to the listed instructions and building code, permitted and inspected if required locally, notified your insurance carrier and read the operating instructions then you can consider heat management. Yes, using the existing forced air ventilation is an excellent economical means of heat distribution. I call it "spreading the joy" around the house. Fans are cheap to run. By using your existing ductwork, you remove the excess heated air from the room with the stove, ventilate the house, filter the air, mix the warm with with the cooler stale return air and in so doing, equilibrate the heat throughout the house. It makes the house more comfortable while saving a little energy.

    hire a pro to inspect your fireplace first then, once repairs have been made, you can begin shopping for stoves he advises might be suitable for your application. Note: if you have a factory built fireplace, you cannot install a woodstove insert into it no matter what the mfr. says. It is a fire hazard.

    HTH,

  3. #3
    Thanks for the reply. I was definitely going to have this inspected and installed by a professional. I just wanted to make sure that it was feasible to distribute heat using the fan of the HVAC system. My wife and coworkers say it won't work and I was under the impression that as long as warm air was introduced somewhere in the cycle, it would heat the house.

    Regarding your comment about having a factory installed fireplace already in place. When we built our house, we did have a fireplace put in. I was under the impression that I could tear this out all the way down to the wood frame that it stands on and then have it rebuilt to support the insert. I don't know the technical name of it (the tube where the smoke passes through the chimney) but I read some articles that says it needs to be replaced and others that said it did not need to be replaced. That was something I was going to let the installer advise me on.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,195

    Exclamation

    You need to clarify some terminology here Cletus:
    an *insert* is essentially a stove that gets 'inserted' into an existing fireplace. It can be gas, wood or pellet fired. The existing fireplace must pass an NFPA Level II inspection prior to installation and the insert must meet all other criteria by the mfr and codes.

    Some mfrs will tell you its ok to install inserts into factory built fireplaces. This invariably requires modification of the existing fireplace, thus making it no longer a *fireplace*. I am tied into the fire investigation community and have done litigation support work so I can tell you installing inserts into factory built fireplaces is a bad idea regardless if a mfr. says its ok. The International Assn. of Fireplace and Chimney Inspectors has issued a position statement denouncing the practice: www/membersIAFCI.org

    If you have an existing factory built fireplace but want the heating power of a woodburning stove, your best solution is to replace it with an EPA certified hybrid factory built fireplace/ woodstove. This way you get a unit that maintains its listing top to bottom, meets all the codes and standards, does not void your homeowner's insurance and is an awesome performer.

    If you can provide makes and models of what you have and what you are intending to install it would help clarify matters.
    HTH,

  5. #5
    I agree and my apologies. I used the word insert thinking that they were all called that. Sorry for the confusion. I was looking at something like this.

    http://www.hearthstonestoves.com/woo...?product_id=16


    I was under the impression that I would have to have my existing fireplace taken out and this installed. I hope this help clarify things a little more and thanks for all your help.

    All I really want to do is install something that will help offset my electric cost. If you have any suggestions on the best way to do that it would be greatly appreciated.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,195

    Question half of the picture

    what do you have now?

  7. #7
    Sorry. Right now I just have a normal fireplace. Superior brand. Model number BR-36-2.

    I was under the impression that this could be taken out and the link I posted above, put in.

    Thank you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    1,078
    If you take it out, there is nothing to insert the insert into anymore. If you want to pursue the path you need to look at "fireplaces" not "inserts". They are called inserts for a reason.

    Here is an example.
    http://www.quadrafire.com/Products/7...Fireplace.aspx

    You should have this professionally done, and be prepared for the total expense to be $6k - $10k depending on how you finish it off around the new fireplace.

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