renovating fireplace

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Old 12-26-02, 09:19 PM
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SirKimble
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renovating fireplace

Hi I'm looking to renovate my existing wood burning fireplace from the surround to the firebox I want to stay with a wood burning fireplace however I heard wood burning fireplaces are not efficient. What options are available in getting an efficient wood burning fireplace kit? Iím looking to install this in my existing fireplace are there any reading material you can suggest in remolding a fireplace? Thanks: confused
 
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Old 12-27-02, 06:52 AM
Doug Aleshire's Avatar
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SirKimble,

Well, lets start off with this to help with the basics in having an efficient fireplace;

Keep the chimney clean and have it inspected yearly by a chimney sweep.

There alot of variety in fireplace heat extractors and heat savers and all are designed either to extract or use some of the heat, which would otherwise rise up the chimney, or to decrease the warm air loss from the house. Since a fireplace's normal efficiency is so low, there is considerable room for improvement. One of the most common and least expensive types of fireplace heat extractors is the tube grate. These grates may be designed to operate with air or water as a transfer medium.

A heat saving tube grate offers a means of increasing the efficiency of an existing fireplace. It is a grate made of U-shaped tubes that draw in cool air at the bottom and shoot heated air into the room from the top. Fans can be added to these grates and, although the fans raise the cost of these units, they significantly increase the heat output.

It is difficult to measure the efficiency of a fireplace since it is incorporated into the structure of the house. The better models of tube grates (particularly those which include an electric fan) will raise the efficiency of the fireplace to as much as 25%.

Another effective and expensive fireplace accessory is a whole new metal fireplace, which can be inserted into the old one. As you mentioned we don't want to remake the fireplace but use what you have. Inserts can come with electric blowers while others rely on natural convection to circulate the air. Because of the double wall, sheet metal construction and the natural convection of air, they efficiently transmit the heat from the firebox into the living quarters. It has been estimated that they will raise the efficiency of a fireplace to about 40%.

In the past, an insert was often placed in the fireplace without any direct connection between it and the chimney. This method of installation led to an increase in creosote build-up, and a subsequent fire hazard, because the smoke lingered and cooled in the back of the fireplace instead of being immediately vented up the chimney. To prevent this, most building mechanical codes and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), require inserts to have a connector between the appliance outlet and the first section of the flue liner. This may cost some money and should be done by a licensed installer.

I have attached some links for inserts, check your local area for what is available and determine your best solution;

http://www.vermontcastings.com/

http://www.bromwellsfireplaces.com/inserts.htm

http://hearth.com/wilkening/inserts.html

http://hpba.org/consumer/2/Inserts/index.shtml

Hope all these help, if not let me know.
 
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