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Thread: Heatform/Heatilator Questions
03-10-2011, 12:13 AM #1New Guest
- Join Date
- Mar 2011
Had a customer call me and informed me they had started some demo to save money and were ready for me to come start their reno.
I walked in to find the picture below!!!! It is a thick metal insert firebox with a masonry chimney. The piece that is laying on the ground in front was the brick fascia on the fireplace.
So now I am trying to devise a POA. Customer wants a traditional stained wood surround, with granite tiles directly surround the fire box.
Can I metal frame and use hardi board to cover that is now exposed then use that to build the new surround off of?
We are in West Texas with 2 week winters, so customer doesn't want any wood burning stove insert (which I know could be installed).
Nor does the customer want any vents in the face of the new surround. So that limits the options to cutting out the heatilator and installing a masonry fire box or??? IS it possible to install a gas insert and run a new vent through the clay chimney?
I have an inspection scheduled to find out the condition of the chimney. If everything is in good shape, I know I can't just cover up those heat tubes, even without working blower fans. I am really at a loose of trying to make something that is safe but in line with the design and plan for the house. I've been searching and reading as much as possible on these things.
Any and all help or direction is much appreciated! Thanks
03-10-2011, 07:06 AM #2
steelform fireplace options
You should start with a Level II inspection. That will guide you in your choices. From what I can see here, I would lean towards getting a plasma torch and cutting that steelform out, repairing the masonry and rebuilding it as a masonry fireplace with the facing of choice following your codes. No, you cannot use metal studs and Hardibacker or any old cementitious backer board. I'm only aware of the old formulation Durock by USG as having passed ASTM E-136 as being rated 'noncombustible'. I have not found this rating yet on the new Durock Light product so for now, I would abstain from their use in lieu of solid masonry units and mortar.
Yes, you would need to brick up those convective air chambers before covering them.
People have a mental image of chimneys being a solid mass of masonry. Look closely at all the gaps in the photo presented here. This is how masons usually build chimneys and fireplaces--with huge voids instead of solid masonry units with full head and bed joints and any gaps push-filled.
You could install a gas DV insert but they are not a repair item so the chimney and fireplace must be in good working order to install one of those. It would be better, though, than an open heart fire. Sealed combustion and venting with great supplemental heat, controls, backup heat source, and look great, too.
TX, I'm glad you stopped in to ask before diving in. BTW, those DIY shows are the absolute worst as they NEVER consult the codes or ask experts in the applied fields before charging off in the wrong direction. Most should be shut down.
03-10-2011, 09:52 AM #3New Guest
- Join Date
- Mar 2011
Thank you so much for your reply. I will reschedule to have a level II inspection done. Assuming that checks out as in good working order, since a DV gas insert isn't a "fix" and can only be installed in a working firedplace...
The DV gas insert would NOT put any heat out of the heatilator vent tubes, correct? It would be all self contained and just sit in the existing fire box, hooked to a new vent up through the old clay tile? So in this case would sealing up the vent tubes be that necessary? Other than possible cutting to fit the DV gas insert.
I had talked to a masonry contractor about cutting it out and installing a masonry firebox. He couldn't understand the need, or that the customer has a specific look they are going for. I won't be calling him back. Are you familiar with this approach? Is it just the front wall of the firebox that they torch out, with the vent tubes? Do they normally leave the flue and damper in place?
To let you know how high on the priority list looks are for this customer, they have already told me that depending on the cost, they would rather loose the functionality of a working fireplace than to have the exposed vents or unattractive, unnaturally looking gas logs.
I'm not planning on personally installing any of this, I just want to pick your brain since I can see you know what you are talking about and the dozens of people I have asked around town are all clueless...and then tell me, "You probably would be ok doing this...." - not my idea of solid answers.
Again, thank you for any and all replies.
03-20-2011, 07:00 PM #4New Guest
- Join Date
- Mar 2011
I have a 3 year old Quadrafire Castille and I am having a problem with the firepot cleanout. When I pull the knob that opens the cleanout, it will only open a small amount. I've tried scraping inside the firepot to free this up, but I still cannot open it all the way. Any suggestions?
03-21-2011, 10:58 AM #5
new thread please
Ocean, welcome to the forum. FYI, it would help if you had started a new thread or piggybacked onto one of the Castile threads instead of this one.
The guillotine gate on your firepot must have a certain amt of slack by design. Too tight and you get what you have. Too loose and you get too much airflow and hot coals falling into the ash pan. The hinge can be lubricated but it should be done and adjusted by a qualified technician. In the meantime, ensure this hinge point is not binding due to fly ash or other material. Make sure it is cleaned thoroughly.
03-21-2011, 10:21 PM #6Regular Guest
- Join Date
- May 2005
- Madison, WI
12-29-2012, 05:25 PM #7New Guest
- Join Date
- Dec 2012
I have a Heatform -- researching Superior Heatform sounds like they are out of business now. In a .PDF for their products, they mention repair parts for rusted walls -- so wondering if anybody might know if any such parts still exist -- there are likely some someplace but finding them will be hard. Apparently they had preformed boiler plate repair pieces made to bolt/screw over rusted
areas. Would be great to find as I have some rust thru at the base on the right wall -- probably from years of summer dampness and rainwater. Otherwise, it works fine -- built in 1981. Any leads greatly appreciated. My alternate idea is to line the inside of the existing metal firebox with a secondary firebrick wall .........
12-29-2012, 05:46 PM #8
There is no approved repair for a rusted out steelform fireplace. It must be cut out and replaced with traditional masonry. Patching this fireplace is literally playing with fire. I have never seen one properly installed when demo'd. There is always something combustible too close or in direct contact with it and there are always huge gaps where there should be solid masonry. There is no reliable way to make the transition from the steel smoke chamber to the masonry chimney. The breast plate on these fireplaces always warp leaving a profile gap, which there is no approved way to repair.