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Hearthman 11-17-2008 02:11 PM

Fireplace questions. Hearth, venting, etc.
I am a fireplace consultant and trainer. I have worked in product liability, quality control and technical services for a major hearth appliance mfr. and have been in the hearth industry for over 20 yrs. I sit on the UL Standards Technical Panel 103 for venting products.

Please feel free to ask your hearth, venting, IAQ, sooting questions. :D

Admin / APP Team 11-17-2008 06:27 PM

That's excellent, Hearthman! Good to have you. [IMG][/IMG]

I'll pin this to the top for now till we get a few questions and then make a separate category.

richappy 11-25-2008 06:28 AM

I am sure you are aware that an open fireplace will produce a negative efficiency, suck more energy out than in, due to the large draft. Will heat one room real good and freeze the others.

Hearthman 11-25-2008 06:41 AM

open hearth efficiency
Rich, you are correct regarding the low efficiency of open hearth Fps. Your typical 36"wide by 30" high fireplace can suck 400-600 cfm up the chimney. Air you already paid to heat. While standing in front of the flames, you will feel heat. This is infrared energy or radiant heat the same as the sun. There is an urban legend this is where the wingbacked chair came from---the breeze of cool air blowing by your glowing face. :D

Glass doors have been studied and tend to reduce the stack losses to somewhere around 75-150 CFM with the doors closed. However, when closed, they reduce the radiant heat output about 60%.

Most new construction uses a gas direct vent fireplace. These use a coaxial vent systyem, which allows great flexibility in siting while the best of high efficiency with positive indoor air quality impact. Being sealed combustion, you don't have to worry as much about carbon monoxide into the home. You are not removing indoor air. Most units today have AFUE ratings btw 60-84%, which is amazing for a luminous flame appliance with glowing logs and embers inside a trapezoidal combustion chamber with glass across one side.

Gas fireplaces are either standing pilot or electronic ignition. More and more states will join Calif. in banning standing pilots. Of the electronic ignition systems, Direct Spark Ignition was the first followed by Intermittent Pilot Ignition with Hot Surface Igniters used in special applications. If any of you service gas heart appliances or pellet stoves, I would be happy to help you with any issues. In turn, I will be learning from you guys on large appliance service and troubleshooting.

richappy 11-26-2008 03:38 AM

I have had the pleasure of telling my oil company to never deliver oil. I heat the house with my wood burner and lacking any built in air handling devices, I circulate the hot air with two portable squirrel cage fans, works pretty good.
The wood burner room is around 74 degrees, the rest of the house around 70 degrees. In the process, I save about $200 per month not counting free firewood I pick up due to my service business,and the $80 oil delivery fee.
I am sure you are aware of this growing trend particularly in the high heating oil usage areas.

Hearthman 11-26-2008 06:12 AM

This year has been insane for stoves shops just as it was back in 2005. Most shops report their next shipment is due in mid to late spring '09. What the HPBA is reminding everyone is to have their stoves professionally inspected and swept as needed. Even stoves sitting dormant can experience corrosion and other problems.

I'm always asked what is the best species of firewood. The answer is: "free!". You are doing a valuable service picking up storm damage or trees lying in forests where they would otherwise rot releasing the same CO2 back into the environment anyway. They key is to burn properly seasoned wood. You should use a simple pin type moisture meter and burn wood in the 12-20% m.c. range. Too green and you waste BTUs on drying the log, which leads to creosote formation, low heat output and increased fuel consumption. Too dry and your stove can backpuff or blow apart.

I use a pellet stove insert to supplement my heat. Due to my floor plan, it cannot evenly distribute the heat so I have to burn oil a few times a day. However, I replaced my old iron monster with a Buderus G-115 w/ Riello burner, Logamatic control with outdoor reset and an indirect tank. Have not been able to run out of potable hot water.

There are a lot of outdoor hydronic heaters on the market and some are quite refined. They do suffer from severe smoking driving the neighbors to get them outlawed as they have on Long Island and in NJ. There is a town just west of State College looking to do the same thing. The problem is, one resident tells the Township about his smokey neighbor then next thing you know, they are trying to ban ALL woodburning. They just did it in Calif. except for pellet stoves and EPA certified woodstoves above 4,000 ft. You will see air quality issues more and more with all these regional air quality districts. FYI Rich, you are in an EPA non-attainment zone for pm2.5 emmisions.

Burn small fires hot and clean!
Happy Thanksgiving!

richappy 11-26-2008 12:45 PM

Thanks for the emissions info. for State College. We do have little problems here with few factories dumping out smoke.
Happy Thanksgiving also, will chat some more I am sure, feel free to check out all the appliance info here.


DONOVAN 12-04-2008 09:43 AM

Vent through roof
I recently moved into an older house that has the flue block sticking up through the top of the chimney brick without any damper or covering. Rain comes in through the opening into the firebox. What is the best type of damper/ covering to use here, the size of the opening is approximately 7" x 12" oval shaped clay pipe and it finishes about 4" above the brick.
Any guidance is appreciated.

richappy 12-04-2008 07:22 PM

Without seeing this, it looks like a poor design. You need the rain to flush down creosote and a catch basin below the opening to your heater to drain off the water.
I would get a pro to look at it to make sure it's ok to use.

DONOVAN 12-05-2008 07:28 AM

Thanks, I will follow your advice....

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