wood fireplace insert

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by East Texas Pine Rooter, Jan 7, 2004.

  1. East Texas Pine Rooter

    East Texas Pine Rooter Well-Known Member

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    Oct 2, 2003
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    TEXAS
    I have had enough of cold drafts down chimney, and smoke in room on windy damp days. My fireplace is brick with a brick chimney. It was built in 1945, and has no damper in chimney. I am thinking about a fireplace insert that is designed to burn wood, with glass doors to see the fire when the doors are closed. Has anyone had any experience with them? Does anyone have in better solutions?
     
  2. homestead2

    homestead2 Member

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    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    We have a fireplace insert. There is the stove, itself, that slides back into the hole and also a flat, one piece metal thing that slides down behind it to seal it to the fireplace at the top and sides. Even though our fireplace was built for this insert, the variation in the surface of the natural rock that we built the fireplace out of, made it so that we did not have a perfect seal behind that metal.

    That has to be airtight for the stove to draw correctly. Easily fixed by sealing behind that metal.

    Ours has a blower with it, but makes a whining that annoys us. Don't use it often. We bought a little "magic" fan from Lehman's that we sit right on the stove itself. The heat from the stove powers the fan (we still marvel) and the hotter the stove the faster the fan runs and it is silent.

    Our insert has no grate and no ash pan. Don't know if they are all like that. We use the ash shovel and bucket about twice a week. We slide the metal piece up and off each fall and slide the stove out and check and clean the chimney. Some years, there is nothing to clean out to speak of and sometimes we get a fair amount of creosote. Slide the stove back in, slide the metal seal back down around the stove and reseal. We are satisfied with it. Thirteen years ago, it cost $900. It is an Englander.
    homestead2
     

  3. chickflick

    chickflick Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    575
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    Oct 20, 2003
    Location:
    Texas
    Oh..man.. just the guy I've been hoping for!!! Come get mine.. it's great..but I want my plain old fireplace!! If you can remove it and replace my damper, etc.?? to get my fireplace functional.. it's ALLLLL yours!!!!! (Start studying!!:):) There is nothing wrong w/the stove.. just don't like it due to 'decor'.

    PM me (I'm in NE Texas an hour no. of Longview/Tyler)
     
  4. 1farmgirl

    1farmgirl Well-Known Member

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    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2002
    East Texas Pine Rooter-Do you have high heating bills? If so, all your heat is going up that nice brick chimney with no damper in it. Smoke in the room could mean that your chimney isn't high enough and cannot draw properly. Also, do you have a cap on your chimney? Water erodes the inside of a chimney like you wouldn't believe. Then if there is any metal-damper, insert, etc. the water combined with the creosote makes like an acid and just starts rusting it away. The glass doors are nice, but you have to find a good, easy way to clean the glass. They smoke up rather quickly, and most people find that regular glass cleaner doesn't cut it.

    Homestead2-has your fan always sounded like that? If not, it may just need taken apart and cleaned real good. You may also need to replace the bearings. Also, when you clean your chimney, you should make sure that you clean up BEHIND the damper. It's kind of hard to reach, but that is what a lot of people leave and that is where most of your chimney fires start. When the chimney gets brushed, etc, all that creosote falls down behind that metal damper and you have to climb into the fireplace and reach up behind there with a shop vac etc. and clean it out.

    My husband is a chimney sweep on the side, and this is just some of the stuff we've learned. Hope it helps.

    Kathy
     
  5. Similar problem here. We put on better glass doors and that has helped with the drafts some. The damper is there but is not working well. No chimney cap but we plan to get one that has a spring loaded pop-up damper (I am going to miss the chimney swifts).

    I wanted an insert with a blower but my wife wants to keep the open hearth for aesthetics or something.
     
  6. MaKettle

    MaKettle Well-Known Member

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    Oct 1, 2003
    Bought house with lovely fireplace. But after using it awhile, I looked down a little gap there and saw charred joists. We stopped using it, and called the fireplace people. The people we bought the house from did most of the work themselves, and didn't install the fireplace properly. It's a wonder it didn't burn the house down! We got a stove insert, and can heat the house without the furnace until the temperature drops below 50--it is a two story split level affair. To keep the glass clean, we build a small, hot fire in the morning and let it burn 15-20 minutes. That cleans off the glass, sends a surge of welcome heat into the house, and helps burn creosote. It will soot up during the day, but just as we don't worry much about wood splinters and chips and bark and ashes that come with wood heat, we don't get too excited about sooty stove windows. If we want to clean them up before company, it just takes a small, hot fire. The stove insert generates much more heat than a fireplace for much less wood. If you decide on an insert, find someone to advise you. Most fireplace chimneys need a chimney liner for the stove to prevent backdrafts and other problems.
     
  7. 1farmgirl

    1farmgirl Well-Known Member

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    Oct 7, 2002
    Your fireplace sounded like one we relined back in November except the boards were in the wall. When my husband finished taking out the broken tile, he found 2 x 4s right behind the fireplace on each side of the liner. He doesn't know how they didn't catch on fire when the lady had a flue fire, because it sure did a good job on the clay liner.

    We used to get some powerful glass cleaner to clean the glass doors, but found that a razor scraper works better and is a lot less messy.

    Should one decide to get an insert or even fireplace doors, it is best to talk to someone familiar with installing or ordering them, because the ratio to the front of your fireplace opening and the chimney hole have to be right or you have problems with the air draw etc. Here is a site that should have a chimney professional near you. Most are willing to help. www.homesaver.com

    Just remember, If you do use wood heat, Please clean your chimney every year whether it's you or a chimney sweep because creosote is some super burning stuff! We have some pictures of creosote buildup that would curl your hair--one is from a chimney that we cleaned 3 times last year. Their biggest problem, though, is the chimney ratio is wrong for their furnace. This is why it is important to get it right the first time because it becomes a frustrating, expensive mistake. It's kind of expensive to go back and rebuild a 3 story rock chimney or buy another furnace which is what this chimney would need.

    Kathy
     
  8. Amy Jo

    Amy Jo Well-Known Member

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    Mar 29, 2003
    My ex was a chimney sweep. Just before he went into the business a family just a couple miles from us lost their 5 children due to a chimney fire. That creosote burns off the walls of the flue and becomes little fireballs shooting out the top of your chimney onto your roof, leaves in the yard, etc.

    My grandparents sold their old house and 20 days later, watching out the front window of the home they built on additional acreage, they saw it burn to the ground. The new owners fired up a wood burner tapped into the unchecked chimney and the cracks in the morter allowed the heat and fire to move into a built in cupboard in the kitchen...

    Many people will use them without having them inspected or cleaned... simply because they don't realize the risk. A chimney sweep is a good friend to have!!!
     
  9. I'm in the process of looking for a used wood stove insert for my fireplace as well. My house is 100 years old, and my fireplace is has no damper. I plan on getting the chimny inspected and cleaned before I get the insert.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should look for when shopping for used inserts? I've seen a number of them in the classified ads around here (Boise) but I don't know much about them.

    Thanks,

    Eric in Boise