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Posted: 1/24/2014 3:31:19 AM EDT
Bough a new place in May and it had a real fireplace. Given the area that is rare and I was really excited. Anyways, once the weather got cold enough I'd make a fire and everyone was really happy. I've heard they suck the heat out of the rest of the house, but will warm the area around the fireplace. My house is normally set to 68* and I've noticed whenever I fire up the fireplace the thermostat ends up around 64*, but damn it is warm in the living room. Usually, I turn on the ceiling fan to push some of that warmer air around. I've also noticed if I keep the flame lower and burn slower the heat seems to radiate more. Until now I've never needed to worry about fireplaces and heating bills competing so I try to learn something each time I make a fire.

Sadly, I will honestly report I've learned that it is way way smarter for me to use one of those 3 hour burning logs and then add real wood to it. If I try to build a conventional fire it will without a doubt back draft and blow smoke inside the house. Its as if it doesn't burn fast enough to create an updraft up the chimney. Either way, let's hear some experiences and or wisdom. Also, come this spring I will be installing one of those silicone dampers that clamps the chimney top closed from the top to help reduce wasted energy up the chimney.

Here's a pick of said fireplace. The chimney is about 30' tall (for reference)



A little bit closer, but the dog is in the way....
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 3:33:41 AM EDT
Get a woodstove insert and never look back
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 3:35:55 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By ar2de:
Get a woodstove insert and never look back
View Quote


This!
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 3:36:08 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By ar2de:
Get a woodstove insert and never look back
View Quote



Which will be about 1 million times more efficient than your open hearth.

Link Posted: 1/24/2014 3:37:47 AM EDT
In the winter we keep our heat set at 68. It's not really that big of a deal here in the sunshine state. However, we do get some cold days from time to time that requires me to fire up our wood burning stove. I can and have heated our home to above 80 degrees with the thing. Granted it takes a few hours, but it's doable.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 3:40:27 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 3:44:55 AM EDT
The rest of the house is cooling off because the fire is getting the temp high enough to prevent the thermostat from kicking on, and the fireplace isn't heating the rest of the house as effectively.

Get an insert, or better yet, one of these.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 3:45:20 AM EDT
Are you priming your flue before you burn? Our sweep told me to hold a burning newspaper up the flue to get the air flowing the right way.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 3:49:21 AM EDT
At our last house we would go through the same thing you are because the thermostat was located near the fireplace. The new house has in floor radiant heat. Every room has its own thermostat. Having on hot room and a bunch of cold rooms is not a problem for us anymore.

Also on the draft, make sure you don't have any exhaust fans running when you start your fire. They will suck air in through your chimney.  If your house is super tight you might actually want to crack a window while during start up to help with the ventilation.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 3:49:23 AM EDT
If you want to generate heat and cut your heating bill get an insert.  Conventional fireplaces are nice to look at the fire but poor at generating heat.  Most of it goes up the chimney.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 3:51:39 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By FredMan:
The rest of the house is cooling off because the fire is getting the temp high enough to prevent the thermostat from kicking on, and the fireplace isn't heating the rest of the house as effectively.

Get an insert, or better yet, one of these.
http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b296/forester1/HouseRxn/DSC_2703.jpg
View Quote


I remember this picture from another thread. We plan to, there is an interesting "insert" in my basement that is directly below where my fireplace is. It's just this weird little area that is finished like the rest of the basement..think small closet without a door.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 3:52:38 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Spade:
Are you priming your flue before you burn? Our sweep told me to hold a burning newspaper up the flue to get the air flowing the right way.
View Quote


No, I'm not. I open the flue and the vent at the back to create air flow. I've learned if I don't build the fire far back it too will cause a problem.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 3:55:16 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By FredMan:
The rest of the house is cooling off because the fire is getting the temp high enough to prevent the thermostat from kicking on, and the fireplace isn't heating the rest of the house as effectively.

Get an insert, or better yet, one of these.
http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b296/forester1/HouseRxn/DSC_2703.jpg
View Quote


Interestingly, my thermostat is running. My fireplace is probably 30 ft from the thermostat for that floor.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 3:56:09 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By donnieR32:


No, I'm not. I open the flue and the vent at the back to create air flow. I've learned if I don't build the fire far back it too will cause a problem.
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Originally Posted By donnieR32:
Originally Posted By Spade:
Are you priming your flue before you burn? Our sweep told me to hold a burning newspaper up the flue to get the air flowing the right way.


No, I'm not. I open the flue and the vent at the back to create air flow. I've learned if I don't build the fire far back it too will cause a problem.


Try the burning newspaper thing. It's worked for me

Admittedly I have no idea what the fuck I'm doing and this fireplace thing has been done over the last few months by trial, error, and YouTube videos. I recently bought my house too.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 3:56:18 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/24/2014 3:56:55 AM EDT by redfish86]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By donnieR32:


I remember this picture from another thread. We plan to, there is an interesting "insert" in my basement that is directly below where my fireplace is. It's just this weird little area that is finished like the rest of the basement..think small closet without a door.
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Originally Posted By donnieR32:
Originally Posted By FredMan:
The rest of the house is cooling off because the fire is getting the temp high enough to prevent the thermostat from kicking on, and the fireplace isn't heating the rest of the house as effectively.

Get an insert, or better yet, one of these.
http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b296/forester1/HouseRxn/DSC_2703.jpg


I remember this picture from another thread. We plan to, there is an interesting "insert" in my basement that is directly below where my fireplace is. It's just this weird little area that is finished like the rest of the basement..think small closet without a door.


It's a load bearing wall(s).  Catching the load above from the masonry work.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 3:58:22 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By redfish86:


It's a load bearing wall(s).  Catching the load above from the masonry work.
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Originally Posted By redfish86:
Originally Posted By donnieR32:
Originally Posted By FredMan:
The rest of the house is cooling off because the fire is getting the temp high enough to prevent the thermostat from kicking on, and the fireplace isn't heating the rest of the house as effectively.

Get an insert, or better yet, one of these.
http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b296/forester1/HouseRxn/DSC_2703.jpg


I remember this picture from another thread. We plan to, there is an interesting "insert" in my basement that is directly below where my fireplace is. It's just this weird little area that is finished like the rest of the basement..think small closet without a door.


It's a load bearing wall(s).  Catching the load above from the masonry work.


OHHHH!!! So, no way of "tapping" into it with a setup similar to yours?
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:02:37 AM EDT
Fireplaces are made for looks. And they are nice. But they are not designed to heat your house. An insert will help, true woodstove is better. With a woodstove you can set your thermostat to about 55 so that it kicks on in an emergenct, and heat your entire house with wood (probably, don't know the size/layout of your house).

A woodstove in your basement is the most efficient.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:14:42 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By TradWoodsman:
Fireplaces are made for looks. And they are nice. But they are not designed to heat your house. An insert will help, true woodstove is better. With a woodstove you can set your thermostat to about 55 so that it kicks on in an emergenct, and heat your entire house with wood (probably, don't know the size/layout of your house).

A woodstove in your basement is the most efficient.
View Quote


The house is a 3 story French Colonial about 6,400 sq. ft. I'm sure I can find a picture for layout if you're interested. Luckily, it's made of brick and hardiplank so it's solid. I will say that there are some drafty spots in the house. I plan to replace the seals around the doors.

Is there a way to do a basement wood burning stove and have it vented through the fireplace or is this an entirely different setup?
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:21:49 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:22:45 AM EDT
Fireplaces suck when it comes to heating a place.  If you want heat, get a woodburning stove.  The steel sides radiate heat and won't absorb it like the stones in a fireplace.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:23:49 AM EDT
Yea your not going to heat shit with that thing. Like everybody else said, insert or wood stove. As for your problem with smoking, I've found it to be some sort of low pressure/high pressure thing. At least that's what I think it is. Sometimes even with the damper wide open it will smoke unless I get a hot one going quick. Lots of kindling and light it with a small firestarter. Good luck.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:23:52 AM EDT
A fireplace is great at heating up a small area. Picture an open floor cabin.
If you want to keep using your fireplace without going to an insert, change your mindset on what you expect out of it. It will make that room nice and toasty and give you something nice to look at.  It's not going to do a lot for the rest of the house, except for helping out on the coldest days.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:25:36 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By RaisedByWolves:
Do yourself a favor.


http://www.quadrafire.com/Products/5100i-Wood-Insert.aspx



.
View Quote


Starting at $3,273
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:27:55 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/24/2014 4:29:47 AM EDT by JustJim]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Spade:


Try the burning newspaper thing. It's worked for me

Admittedly I have no idea what the fuck I'm doing and this fireplace thing has been done over the last few months by trial, error, and YouTube videos. I recently bought my house too.
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Originally Posted By Spade:
Originally Posted By donnieR32:
Originally Posted By Spade:
Are you priming your flue before you burn? Our sweep told me to hold a burning newspaper up the flue to get the air flowing the right way.


No, I'm not. I open the flue and the vent at the back to create air flow. I've learned if I don't build the fire far back it too will cause a problem.


Try the burning newspaper thing. It's worked for me

Admittedly I have no idea what the fuck I'm doing and this fireplace thing has been done over the last few months by trial, error, and YouTube videos. I recently bought my house too.


I remember the first fire I made after having our brand new insert installed.  Nothing like it being 20f outside and opening your doors and placing floor fans in them.  After the smoke cleared, and my wife and kids were allowed back in....dat dust.

I make a torch out of newspaper and wave it around, depending how cold it is.  I've also placed a space heater in front of the stove while I gather kindling etc.  Another thing that works well is placing a can of Sterno in there for a few minutes.

ETA:  Nice looking house, OP.  With that hearth, I'd skip the insert and get a regular wood stove.  Insert requires electricity to run the fans (which also make noise).
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:29:50 AM EDT
My dad has a freestanding wood burner in his basement that he burns almost 24/7 during the winter.  The gas company changed his meter out twice b/c they thought they weren't working right since the usage was soo low.  Anyway, the basement is kept at damn near 90* and the upstairs (ranch house) is about mid 70's to 80.  Growing up I'd sweat my ass off when watching movies or playing video games down there.

We also process a lot of firewood throughout the year (and sell some) so the efficiency depends on how much you want to spend doing that or purchasing wood.  We get 300-400 per cord delivered of premium hardwood.  Only maple, oak, locust, ash in our wood.

I have an open fireplace that I will be installing an insert into.  They are great b/c they have fans that will circulate air into the room heating a larger area.  If I get my open fire roaring now you can feel the heat from a good 15-20 feet away.  

Last winter was our first in this house and it had propane powered furnace.  We spent almost 6 grand for propane all last winter.  Gas company ran lines in the spring and so far we are paying about 120-175 a month in gas bills.  And I hear there might be a propane shortage this winter as well.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:32:09 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By thelaw09:
A fireplace is great at heating up a small area. Picture an open floor cabin.
If you want to keep using your fireplace without going to an insert, change your mindset on what you expect out of it. It will make that room nice and toasty and give you something nice to look at.  It's not going to do a lot for the rest of the house, except for helping out on the coldest days.
View Quote


I've found this as well. I have a small two bedroom, two floor house, and really only use the fireplace because the gf and I enjoy cuddling up with a fire and a movie.

I have found, though, that all of the heat in my house ends up upstairs in the bedrooms if I use the furnace, so its cold downstairs and hot upstairs. If I burn, it gets warm downstairs without the furnace running, so the upstairs bedroom stays cool so we an sleep more easily.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:37:32 AM EDT

Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By fatcat4620:
Starting at $3,273
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Originally Posted By fatcat4620:



Originally Posted By RaisedByWolves:

Do yourself a favor.





http://www.quadrafire.com/Products/5100i-Wood-Insert.aspx
.





Starting at $3,273




 



Lifetime warranty=buy once cry once.







I have that insert in an unfinished, soon to be finished basement and when its running it keeps both floors (3600sqft) warm. I do get my wood free from my lot so thats a factor.




Last few years we averaged +-500 gal of oil for heat and hot water.






Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:43:19 AM EDT
Have you had your chimney checked since you moved in?  I used to burn enough wood that I had to have my chimney cleaned twice per year.

Open the flu an hour before you start your fire and do the newspaper thing.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:45:34 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By DeltaV42:


I've found this as well. I have a small two bedroom, two floor house, and really only use the fireplace because the gf and I enjoy cuddling up with a fire and a movie.

I have found, though, that all of the heat in my house ends up upstairs in the bedrooms if I use the furnace, so its cold downstairs and hot upstairs. If I burn, it gets warm downstairs without the furnace running, so the upstairs bedroom stays cool so we an sleep more easily.
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By DeltaV42:
Originally Posted By thelaw09:
A fireplace is great at heating up a small area. Picture an open floor cabin.
If you want to keep using your fireplace without going to an insert, change your mindset on what you expect out of it. It will make that room nice and toasty and give you something nice to look at.  It's not going to do a lot for the rest of the house, except for helping out on the coldest days.


I've found this as well. I have a small two bedroom, two floor house, and really only use the fireplace because the gf and I enjoy cuddling up with a fire and a movie.

I have found, though, that all of the heat in my house ends up upstairs in the bedrooms if I use the furnace, so its cold downstairs and hot upstairs. If I burn, it gets warm downstairs without the furnace running, so the upstairs bedroom stays cool so we an sleep more easily.


This is kind of what we do. "Oh, it's cold outside you should make a fire". I've found by keeping the flame lower and burning at a consistent rate helps heat the immediate area. I think there are too many twists and turns in my house to use it efficiently (not that I was convinced I could), but I think it's for looks and close proximity heat.

I will say my house runs electric and propane. I guess depending how hard the furnace runs it will automatically switch to propane.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:45:50 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Spade:
Are you priming your flue before you burn? Our sweep told me to hold a burning newspaper up the flue to get the air flowing the right way.
View Quote


I have never heard that until I read it here today.
I just Googled it up and found out it's true.

I have never had to do that with any fireplace.
I think it's more of an inefficient flue design than anything else.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:46:22 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By NRA2:
Have you had your chimney checked since you moved in?  I used to burn enough wood that I had to have my chimney cleaned twice per year.

Open the flu an hour before you start your fire and do the newspaper thing.
View Quote


I had it cleaned this fall. I wasn't sure of the state it was in so, I had it cleaned before my first fire just to be sure.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:48:59 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/24/2014 4:52:37 AM EDT by wildearp]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Spade:
Are you priming your flue before you burn? Our sweep told me to hold a burning newspaper up the flue to get the air flowing the right way.
View Quote



Not up the flue, but put paper or cardboard under the wood you are starting and then put some on top of the pile to heat the flue and start a draft. If it is drafting, the fire will make a roaring sound.  A window cracked helps too.  If your flue is not clean, you can easily start a flue fire.  

What do you do when you have a flue fire?  Take the ice bucket out of your freezer and dump the ice into the fire.   The steam will kill the fire.

One of those inserts is on my wish list.

Take comfort in the fact it has been too warm this month for me to start a fire.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:49:03 AM EDT
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They all have one thing in common that I don't have......a complete enclosure. Damn.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:51:10 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By RaisedByWolves:

 

Lifetime warranty=buy once cry once.


I have that insert in an unfinished, soon to be finished basement and when its running it keeps both floors (3600sqft) warm. I do get my wood free from my lot so thats a factor.

Last few years we averaged +-500 gal of oil for heat and hot water.


View Quote View All Quotes
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By RaisedByWolves:
Originally Posted By fatcat4620:
Originally Posted By RaisedByWolves:
Do yourself a favor.


http://www.quadrafire.com/Products/5100i-Wood-Insert.aspx



.


Starting at $3,273

 

Lifetime warranty=buy once cry once.


I have that insert in an unfinished, soon to be finished basement and when its running it keeps both floors (3600sqft) warm. I do get my wood free from my lot so thats a factor.

Last few years we averaged +-500 gal of oil for heat and hot water.



That's pricy for something we would run 3 months out of the year down here.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:51:44 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/24/2014 4:55:28 AM EDT by wildearp]
Originally Posted By donnieR32:
Bough a new place in May and it had a real fireplace. Given the area that is rare and I was really excited. Anyways, once the weather got cold enough I'd make a fire and everyone was really happy. I've heard they suck the heat out of the rest of the house, but will warm the area around the fireplace. My house is normally set to 68* and I've noticed whenever I fire up the fireplace the thermostat ends up around 64*, but damn it is warm in the living room. Usually, I turn on the ceiling fan to push some of that warmer air around. I've also noticed if I keep the flame lower and burn slower the heat seems to radiate more. Until now I've never needed to worry about fireplaces and heating bills competing so I try to learn something each time I make a fire.

Sadly, I will honestly report I've learned that it is way way smarter for me to use one of those 3 hour burning logs and then add real wood to it. If I try to build a conventional fire it will without a doubt back draft and blow smoke inside the house. Its as if it doesn't burn fast enough to create an updraft up the chimney. Either way, let's hear some experiences and or wisdom. Also, come this spring I will be installing one of those silicone dampers that clamps the chimney top closed from the top to help reduce wasted energy up the chimney.

Here's a pick of said fireplace. The chimney is about 30' tall (for reference)

<a href="http://s112.photobucket.com/user/DonnieGTI/media/fireplace2_zps5398bf00.jpg.html" target="_blank">http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n175/DonnieGTI/fireplace2_zps5398bf00.jpg</a>

A little bit closer, but the dog is in the way....
<a href="http://s112.photobucket.com/user/DonnieGTI/media/fireplace_zpse5dcaee1.jpg.html" target="_blank">http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n175/DonnieGTI/fireplace_zpse5dcaee1.jpg</a>
View Quote



Those combustibles are too close to your fireplace.  I bought an antique copper steamer with a lid to keep my kindling.

I would also recommend installing a metal baffle in the top of that opening extending downward about 4-6".  I bet it would help with drafting.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:52:34 AM EDT
My next house will have a wood burning stove.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:54:40 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/24/2014 4:58:20 AM EDT by AeroE]
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:56:15 AM EDT
Does it have an insert? If not, it will be drafty. I have an "heatilator' brand in my fireplace, it works well but I don't have a blower which would help more. I've been using my fireplace to ease up on my furnace sucking propane down. All comes down to your availability of cheap hardwood.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:56:20 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Nick710:


This!
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Originally Posted By Nick710:
Originally Posted By ar2de:
Get a woodstove insert and never look back


This!



and again


my woodburner in the basement cuts our heating bill by about 75%
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:58:19 AM EDT
http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_1_139/1580651_DIY_fireplace_insert_.html

Link & bump for more info i need to add a insert
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 4:59:41 AM EDT
Help me understand how this makes heating more efficient.  I live in Georgia and we have a heat pump which pretty much works very hard any time the temp drops below 20 degrees.  I would love to be able to have my master bedroom and bath heated better during the winter time.



Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By RaisedByWolves:

 

Lifetime warranty=buy once cry once.


I have that insert in an unfinished, soon to be finished basement and when its running it keeps both floors (3600sqft) warm. I do get my wood free from my lot so thats a factor.

Last few years we averaged +-500 gal of oil for heat and hot water.


View Quote View All Quotes
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Originally Posted By RaisedByWolves:
Originally Posted By fatcat4620:
Originally Posted By RaisedByWolves:
Do yourself a favor.


http://www.quadrafire.com/Products/5100i-Wood-Insert.aspx



.


Starting at $3,273

 

Lifetime warranty=buy once cry once.


I have that insert in an unfinished, soon to be finished basement and when its running it keeps both floors (3600sqft) warm. I do get my wood free from my lot so thats a factor.

Last few years we averaged +-500 gal of oil for heat and hot water.



Link Posted: 1/24/2014 5:02:34 AM EDT
At my parents cabin they had a good sized mud room that was heated by a pot belly stove.
Getting that stove going was the first thing my dad would do when we went to the cabin in the winter.

They removed the fireplace (kept the hearth) in the cabin and installed a Franklin stove when they remodeled.
To get that stove really going (really hot fire) you had to crack open the door to the mud room to get circulation going.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 5:07:19 AM EDT
In our new house we have a woodstove in the basement and an insert up stairs. We are planning on replacing the insert with a freestanding stove (Jotul F55) as I don't want to have to rely on the blower on the insert to heat the house.
We are going to have a mason come in an close up the opening where the insert is and install a thimble for the stove as well as extend the hearth. The price I got for the stove with liner and installation was almost $4000 without the masonry work.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 5:09:27 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By donnieR32:


They all have one thing in common that I don't have......a complete enclosure. Damn.
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Originally Posted By donnieR32:


They all have one thing in common that I don't have......a complete enclosure. Damn.


they are also built so that most of the mass of the fireplace is inside the house, or ideally centrally located in the house; w enough mass to absorb most of the heat and convect it back into the house.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 5:11:10 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/24/2014 5:15:52 AM EDT by blwngazkit]


Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By FredMan:



The rest of the house is cooling off because the fire is getting the temp high enough to prevent the thermostat from kicking on, and the fireplace isn't heating the rest of the house as effectively.





Get an insert, or better yet, one of these.


http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b296/forester1/HouseRxn/DSC_2703.jpg
View Quote






That's incorrect...
A chimney works using the principles of hot air rising and cold air sinking.  When the flue is open and there's no fire, cold air from above will draft DOWN the chimney and backdraft into the house; if there's a fire, the heated air will rise through the chimney.





When the hot air rises through the chimney, it exits the house and results in a miniscule vacuum drawing cool air from outside the house.  If you use a fireplace with a big roaring HOT fire, a LOT of air will exit up the chimney and be replaced in the house with unheated air.  This will drastically LOWER the home's interior temperature in areas not heated by the radiant heat of the fire.
A fireplace insert works in 2 ways; the insert lets you more effectively control the draft of the chimney AND it burns many times more efficiently than an open fire.  In other words, the insert creates many more BTU's of heat per unit of air displaced by the burning resulting in a very positive heating of the home.





This is in addition to the insert having a more complete combustion of the wood & wood gases, as much as a high 90-something percent efficiency.  My insert has a catalytic re-burner in the top and will heat my home at 75f on 2 arm loads of wood per day.





ETA:

As for your smoke issues:  It's common these days that builders don't focus on the proper design of a chimney.  The chimney must be warm enough that it doesn't cool the rising air to the point it begins falling again.  The most effective chimneys are centrally located in a building and heated with ambient building heat until they exit the roof; the performance begins dropping once you expose more & more of the chimney to the outside.



You can "prime" a cold chimney by burning a small fire or small piece of newspaper up in the flue to get some air moving vertically.  Once the air has started drafting up, you can build your bigger fire and get less smoke in the house.





 
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 5:12:34 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/24/2014 5:14:17 AM EDT by slanted]
Fireplaces can't compare to wood stoves, but it is possible to get one that heats.

http://www.rumford.com



Note the shallowness, and the angled sides.  All designed to radiate more heat into the room.  There is a special throat that helps to keep smoke out of the room.

I have one and you can't sit on the hearth.  It absolutely heats the house, but again it can't compare to a wood stove.


Link Posted: 1/24/2014 5:17:10 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/24/2014 5:22:34 AM EDT by Spade]
How hard are these inserts to retrofit in a current fireplace? Ours is from 1977.

We've got two fireplaces on either side of the house. On the left side the fireplace is in a room that's over our garage. The room is freezing most of the time (the door to our porch is also shit and needs to be replaced). We were talking about an insert or something to help keep that room warm and maybe running the HVAC fan (there's a return near there) will distribute the heat.

The other room seems fine temp wise, and I'd like to keep that one pretty to look at.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 5:29:39 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By slanted:
Fireplaces can't compare to wood stoves, but it is possible to get one that heats.

http://www.rumford.com

http://www.rumford.com/images/Tate300.jpg

Note the shallowness, and the angled sides.  All designed to radiate more heat into the room.  There is a special throat that helps to keep smoke out of the room.

I have one and you can't sit on the hearth.  It absolutely heats the house, but again it can't compare to a wood stove.


View Quote


Mine has the angled sides and the back is slightly angled forward as it goes up.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 5:31:19 AM EDT

Just as a general response. The smoke issue was when I tried making a "traditional" fire out of paper, kindling, and letting it build. Now, (I'm afraid to admit this) I just burn one of those 3 hour logs and then add real wood to it about 2 hours in.

I've found I can keep my thermostat from dropping if I keep a smaller sized fire and it will still radiate heat.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 5:45:07 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By FredMan:
The rest of the house is cooling off because the fire is getting the temp high enough to prevent the thermostat from kicking on, and the fireplace isn't heating the rest of the house as effectively.

Get an insert, or better yet, one of these.
http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b296/forester1/HouseRxn/DSC_2703.jpg
View Quote


That looks familiar...


It was 85 in my house the night before last.  Fuck the cold.
Link Posted: 1/24/2014 5:51:06 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Army_of_One:


That looks familiar...

<a href="http://s240.photobucket.com/user/ZX2_R/media/GOPR0014.jpg.html" target="_blank">http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff141/ZX2_R/GOPR0014.jpg</a>
It was 85 in my house the night before last.  Fuck the cold.
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Army_of_One:
Originally Posted By FredMan:
The rest of the house is cooling off because the fire is getting the temp high enough to prevent the thermostat from kicking on, and the fireplace isn't heating the rest of the house as effectively.

Get an insert, or better yet, one of these.
http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b296/forester1/HouseRxn/DSC_2703.jpg


That looks familiar...

<a href="http://s240.photobucket.com/user/ZX2_R/media/GOPR0014.jpg.html" target="_blank">http://i240.photobucket.com/albums/ff141/ZX2_R/GOPR0014.jpg</a>
It was 85 in my house the night before last.  Fuck the cold.


Wow, that is gorgeous.
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