Fireplace woes

hoosierdocJanuary 11, 2009

We just built a home with a two-sided direct vent Lennox fireplace. With the regulator turned all the way up, it is dark in the fireplace and I can't even see flame from many of the viewing angles. I would literally have more light with a single open flame candle in the area. In only one spot can you see flame through the logs, and never does it go higher than the logs. There are coals, but no flame.

Our builder has "exhausted his resources" in trying to get the supplier to do anything. It's a contractor-grade unit, but our builder used the same company's "contractor-grade" unit 3 years ago that looks great in his home.

Because it's a direct vent, I was told they have to remove the entire unit and the flu from the wall if they're going to replace it. Is this true?

We're clearly not happy about where it's at now and will be demanding it be replaced. Anyone else in this situation? When you buy a fireplace, you expect fire. Any suggestions on recourse or what to do? We even have a high pressure gas line in the house.

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SeattlePioneer

I would look for an honest and competent repairman to identify the problem with the fireplace. It's apparent that the installer doesn't have a clue, which isn't unusual.

Is this propane or natural gas? Do you have other gas appliances?

Does this fireplace have a standing pilot light or electronic ignition?

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 5:49AM
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hoosierdoc

It's a natural gas unit. There's another unit in the master bedroom upstairs and a gas water heater in the basement. They've come out to confirm that it's performing at manufacturer's specifications by some water column measurement. There's a standing pilot light on it.

The unit upstairs is rated for about 5000 BTU less and has a fantastic flame. Looks very nice. The higher rated downstairs unit is a bust. There's a solid glass plate on it that doesn't open, and there's no fan. I believe they also tested that there's good gas pressure at the unit and that the regulator is working.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 6:37AM
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haus_proud

This is not rocket science. There's probably a finite number of things that can contribute to a low low low flame, so low you can't see it. If the gas pressure has been checked and is okay, then the 2 vents that go up the chimney should be checked. One brings in fresh air to feed the combustion. If it is clogged or blocked in any way, that could be the problem. The other vent exhausts the fumes. If that one were clogged, you would probably have a smoke build-up in the firebox, which is not your problem. My guess is that the vent that brings in fresh air is not working properly. Any COMPETENT installer should be able to check that out for you.

If the air intake duct is not working right it could have been damaged in the installation -- the installer's fault. Maybe that's why you're being stonewalled.

If you haven't paid in full yet, you have some leverage. If you paid by credit card, call the credit card company and put a stop on your charge. If those options are not available to you, your only alternative is to complain to the manufacturer, and make it clear that they have franchised to an incompetent installer. If none of these options work, hire a lawyer.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 1:42PM
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garyg

In one of your previous posts, you were asking about high gas bills with the new fireplaces. Wonder if the problems are related.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 7:38PM
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hoosierdoc

Good news, the same tech came out again and this time took the whole inside apart. He took the burner to his truck to clean it and found a metal shaving inside the gas outlet portion. He drilled it out, cleaned the drywall dust off the burner, and now the flame is much better. You can actually hear the gas flow and burning, and heat comes from the fireplace. Also, it casts a shadow. Yay!

Thanks for all the help.

-Brian

    Bookmark   January 25, 2009 at 8:42AM
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