We have a 60's house. It has a heatilator type fireplace built around a metal firebox. The air passages appear to be built into the brickwork - there is one low level duct and two high level. I have attached some pics - maybe someone could identify it (no nameplate visible). The glass doors are a later addition.
The chimney is built of brick and supported by the fireplace and it's foundation. It is about 22x17 OD and appears to have a clay-tile flue inside (or at least that is what sticks out the top).
Problems we have found:
- Clearance to combustible framing:- at ceiling level, there is one 2x4 that is hard up against brickwork. A ceiling rafter on one side is 3/4" away and on other side varies from 1-2.5" clearance. Other side has nothing at present. These pieces are not easy to remove and even if possible work would be costly.
- I found a piece of light gauge steel lying in hearth as well as some sort of a bracket with 4 screws. They can be seen in the second picture. It clearly rusted off. Anyone have any idea what that might be?
What should we do?
- We no longer build big fires in the fireplace. At most a couple of those fireplace logs when visitors come and over holidays. I doubt the brickwork even gets warm from one of those, so one option is to just carry on doing that.
- Abandon fireplace and install a propane insert or just logs? (we don't have natural gas piped in). We would likely just use this as we use the existing logs - just for special occasions. Or we could think of the installation as backup heat if we lose power (we have baseboards/heatpump)
- If there is an air gap between the brick chomney and the flue, does the 2" clearance requirement still apply?
- If we install a gas insert or logs, is the existing chimney still used? Or is a separate vent pipe installed?
- If a separate vent is installed, is the existing chimney sealed to stop heat losses?