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Discussion: Fireplace

  1. #1

    Discussion: Fireplace


    We finally have a house with a fireplace.
    I have always wanted one, since my grandparents had one and they pretty much raised me, so I was at their house all the time.
    Now, that being said I don’t know anything about them. We know the sellers, so they have confirmed it was used regularly and the chimney has been cleaned.

    Are they efficient to warm the place or do they suck the heat from other rooms?
    Is it ok to have it going all day, or should we have it going during the night/limited hours?
    Are fans the only way to move heat around? Wife won’t like that and won’t go for it probably.
    Any suggestions/tips for a new owner?

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  2. #2
    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: Discussion: Fireplace

    Use it for looks/ambiance once in a while. Unless it’s a sealed unit, you are talking low efficiency. Like 40-50%.

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  3. #3
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: Discussion: Fireplace

    Yeah, most fireplaces aren't TRULY designed to heat. Most are designed simply for looks and to enhance the room they're in. Make sure you keep the flue closed when not in use and make sure it closes tightly. They DO suck air out of the room when not in use.

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  4. #4

    Re: Discussion: Fireplace

    Fire places, only are not great for heating more then say the room its in, depends more where in the house its located. no school is on a outside wall, better if its centrally located. Keeping it going all day requires someone watching and feeding it. And if you don't have an ash trap you will need to clean it and haul the stuff outside... can be messy chore.

    We clean ours every other year but we use it sparingly (maybe 1/2 to 2/3) of a cored per heating season. I have a insert that circulates the cold air to hot and holds the wood. Works pretty well but again its not my main source of heat.

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    Last edited by MUZ720; 11-16-21 at 09:17 AM.

  5. #5
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Discussion: Fireplace

    The design of the fireplace is important. A deep fireplace may look better and probably has some historical significance as they were once used for cooking and such, but they aren't very efficient. A more efficient fireplace for room heating would be shallow with angled sides, as to reflect heat back into the room. The flue throat should be narrow and angled towards the room, not straight up the chimney. This is called a Rumford fireplace.

    My own personal experience is that this design is a spectrum. Somewhere there may be a model Rumford fireplace that follows all the rules and works well. My own fireplace follows some of this design, but not all of them. I was really disappointed at how poorly it heated.

    I quickly replaced mine with a wood burning insert. The insert I bought has a massive glass door so you can see the fire. It has an electric fan to circulate hot air around the firebox. It is cleaner. I think it is safer with pets and kids. I think it is attractive both when in use and when not. It is easier to set a fire in the stove than it was in the fireplace. Getting the flue set wrong and filling the house with smoke is not a thing. And there is simply no contest when it comes to efficiency. The built in fan is pretty easy to live with. That combined with a ceiling fan moves heat around the house pretty well. I can make it in the high 70's in the livingroom where the stove is and it will be in the high 60's in the kitchen at the other end of the house. I've had the pipes in my forced hot-water system freeze from being inactive thanks to the stove heating the house so well.

    I highly recommend an insert.

    If your fireplace is tall enough you may be able to duct in a full standalone wood stove. That'd be even more desirable as you wouldn't need the circulator fan.

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  6. #6
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    Re: Discussion: Fireplace

    I have a fireplace on one end of my house. I rarely burn because the draft the fireplace makes is strong enough to where the zone for the bedrooms on the other end of the house (I have a ranch) will start calling for heat. Drives me nuts.

    I should add this is even while using a fireplace blower/enclosure (not a full insert) with a noisy ass fan that also adds to my reluctance to ever use it.

    When it was just my wife and I we used it more often, but with the kids I’ve barely burned since it freezes out their bedrooms and there’s <10% chance they stay in their blankets at night lol.

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    Last edited by petro; 11-16-21 at 09:39 AM.

  7. #7
    suburban ghetto living... black's Avatar
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    Re: Discussion: Fireplace

    our fireplace, drafty in a windy day. I've gone so far as to put a cardboard insert to keep the draft out. Ours has a propane fire logs, more ambience than heat.

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    hmmmm......

  8. #8

    Re: Discussion: Fireplace

    Bubba I’m with you on the insert. For all the reasons you mentioned. Safety. Efficiency. Etc.
    wife shut it down right away with “that’s not a fireplace”

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  9. #9
    Lifer 01xj's Avatar
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    Re: Discussion: Fireplace

    Doesn't really answer your question but, at least for consideration, we put a pellet stove insert in. Heats our house to 70 or over all winter. Has about 75% the same ambiance as a wood stove. Much less work.

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    Last edited by 01xj; 11-16-21 at 10:24 AM.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator OreoGaborio's Avatar
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    Discussion: Fireplace

    Had Smutty over for MotoGP on Sunday... he asked me if we were ever going to use our fireplace insert...

    I was like "Nah, prob not"... But in my head I was like "wtf is an insert?"

    Is this thing even usable? I mean... if we take out the lights n acorns


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    Last edited by OreoGaborio; 11-16-21 at 10:29 AM.
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  11. #11
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: Discussion: Fireplace

    We burn a fair share in ours. It's not a focal point in such that room doesn't get used much. But if occasion calls for people gathering in that part of the house, we'll fire it up. However, as you should know by now, we heat with wood via woodstove. It rarely gets used if the propane furnace is running because it's just such a draw for heat loss. With the woodstove, it's not such a big deal to me if we lose a little heat through the fireplace.

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  12. #12

    Re: Discussion: Fireplace

    Oreo, that's a prefab fireplace. ID/Data plate on the upper right should list make and model. Generally they are made for small, short duration, ambiance type fires. Often installed by a GC during construction who may or may not have looked at the install directions so clearances/installation details can be way off. It would be worth having it inspected before attempting to use it and even then there's a lot of areas you can't inspect because you just don't have access.

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  13. #13

    Re: Discussion: Fireplace

    picture of the insert in mine... Discussion: Fireplace-img_1912-jpg

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  14. #14
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Discussion: Fireplace

    I'll double down and add that my father had a slightly less efficient fireplace in his house. Although his had a heatilator type setup where there are air-voids set in the brickwork around the fireplace with a fan hard-wired to a dimmer. He scoffed when I bought my insert as a waste of money. He insisted I was doing it wrong as my fireplace had several design traits that should have made it more efficient than his.

    Fast forward a few years and we are over for a family visit. Guess what new addition he's showing off?! That's right, an insert.

    With the glass door the insert has almost all of the ambience while actually extracting some real heat. And is a hell of a lot easier to live with.

    First improvement I'd make.

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  15. #15
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Discussion: Fireplace

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoneman View Post
    We burn a fair share in ours. It's not a focal point in such that room doesn't get used much. But if occasion calls for people gathering in that part of the house, we'll fire it up. However, as you should know by now, we heat with wood via woodstove. It rarely gets used if the propane furnace is running because it's just such a draw for heat loss. With the woodstove, it's not such a big deal to me if we lose a little heat through the fireplace.
    I think I've seen a fire in your fireplace, only once in the time that I have known you, 20yrs + now

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  16. #16
    Super Moderator OreoGaborio's Avatar
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    Re: Discussion: Fireplace

    Quote Originally Posted by freezinvt View Post
    Oreo, that's a prefab fireplace. ID/Data plate on the upper right should list make and model. Generally they are made for small, short duration, ambiance type fires. Often installed by a GC during construction who may or may not have looked at the install directions so clearances/installation details can be way off. It would be worth having it inspected before attempting to use it and even then there's a lot of areas you can't inspect because you just don't have access.
    Thanks. We did get a house inspection and the inspector commented on it, confirming what the previous owners told us, which is that it's been used once or twice and is fit for use, but obviously it hasn't been used in quite some time. I have the report somewhere around here... Think it's got more details

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  17. #17

    Re: Discussion: Fireplace

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    I'll double down and add that my father had a slightly less efficient fireplace in his house. Although his had a heatilator type setup where there are air-voids set in the brickwork around the fireplace with a fan hard-wired to a dimmer. He scoffed when I bought my insert as a waste of money. He insisted I was doing it wrong as my fireplace had several design traits that should have made it more efficient than his.

    Fast forward a few years and we are over for a family visit. Guess what new addition he's showing off?! That's right, an insert.

    With the glass door the insert has almost all of the ambience while actually extracting some real heat. And is a hell of a lot easier to live with.

    First improvement I'd make.
    Maybe over the course of time I’ll convince her.

    Expect an invite to come over and give a ted talk on inserts. Lol

    - - - Updated - - -

    Also thank you all for the sharing knowledges wisdom and experience

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  18. #18
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: Discussion: Fireplace

    All that said, Big Shirl REFUSES to get a real, heat producing insert for the fireplace. With our open floor plan and ceiling fans it would cut down on our firewood consumption considerably as the most used room is the hardest to get the woodstove heat to and this is much closer and on the same floor. If I had my way, we would've had a proper insert in there (woodstove, really).

    Why do I always feel if I don't say "FIREwood" instead of simply "wood", Mark's gonna giggle and point that out?

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  19. #19
    Super Moderator OreoGaborio's Avatar
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    Re: Discussion: Fireplace

    ... I'll give ya some wood.

    Need any twigs?

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  20. #20
    (4) Try not to be a dick. PurplePackage's Avatar
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    Re: Discussion: Fireplace

    Fireplace:
    for pop-crackle-glow ambiance during the cold months
    for emergency heat

    Thats it. Even electric baseboard heating is more efficient.

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  21. #21

    Re: Discussion: Fireplace

    Quote Originally Posted by MUZ720 View Post
    picture of the insert in mine... Discussion: Fireplace-img_1912-jpg
    Where does one get one of these? Please don’t say local welder.

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  22. #22

    Re: Discussion: Fireplace

    I was going to say there from a couple of 80s style Kerker headers that I put together.... but alas it came with the house..

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  23. #23

    Re: Discussion: Fireplace


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  24. #24
    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Discussion: Fireplace

    For one year lived in a dorm built in the 19th century. Each suite had a fireplace. We used it a few times (that’s how old I am - high school students used be allowed to play with matches) with a few small pieces of wood and it easily heated the room.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumford_fireplace

    https://youtu.be/ZTQ6jdQHJN8


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    Last edited by Garandman; 11-17-21 at 07:10 AM.
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