Direct Vent Fireplace: Great Looking/Low Heat Needs

flseadogFebruary 8, 2008

It's chilly here today in central Florida and a great day to consider the fireplace plan. Have already decided on a direct vent but not much else. The great room is 34 x 18 with 10' ceilings. I want built in bookcases to flank the fireplace on a 13' wide wall, no raised hearth.

Could someone give advice on the proper proportions for the fireplace plus surround? I was hoping to have each bookcase at least 3' wide and this would leave approx. 7' for the firebox, mantel, etc. How wide and tall should the firebox be for a 13'wide by 10' high wall?

Also, about 30 days a year it gets chilly enough here to be miserable and damp without being cold enough to justify heating the entire house and I don't like forced air heating anyway. If we had a direct vent fireplace capable of heating the great room I doubt we would ever have the heat pump running at all in daytime and only at night very rarely.

Any suggestions for a good looking (realistic flame) direct vent product that doesn't need to be a blast furnace?

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We recently installed a Jotul direct vent gas insert into our 20 year old prefab fireplace. It throws off a lot of heat into our 25 by 15 living room here in North Carolina, and we use it early in the morning and in the evening. We're very pleased with the performance of the system although we have a cosmetic problem with its installation that the installer has yet to fix. Jotul also makes a direct vent gas fireplace that we considered, but we decided against it because we would have had to tear out our existing fireplace, and that seemed like overkill. I would go to the Jotul website and check out the gas fireplace. But I would also hunt on Google for other brands of direct vent gas fireplaces.

I think your questions about the right size that you need for that wall where the fireplace will be built are best answered in terms of the appearance, not the performance. Of course, you may need a certain minimum size to get the amount of heat that you want, but once you go over that minimum size, you have plenty of wiggle room to select what will look right. There are plenty of websites accessible from the google search engine. Unfortunately, Consumer Reports does not rate these things by brand like they do refrigerators. So once you have narrowed down your choices to a couple of brands, post another message on this forum and see what people think. Happy hunting.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 4:16PM
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Thank you haus proud. Yesterday I visited a local dealer who sells both the Fireplace Xtrordinaire and the Lennox brands. He felt the Xtrordinaire as way too much for this part of Florida and how we intend to use it.

From the brochures it seems the Lennox Elite Series ELDV-35 or ELDV-40 would suit us. Could anyone comment on looks and performance of these fireplaces? My only further concern is having young children around the hot glass front. I was thinking of using a traditional wooodburning fireplace screen to stand on the hearth in front of the glass to get some separation between the kids and heat. Would this work or could you suggest something else? Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 10:26AM
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You could use a screen if you wish. Our son has one in his.

Some of the inserts come with a screen as an option at small extra cost. We didn't get one. When our grandkids come over, they're 10 & 8, we warn them never to touch the glass on the firebox. So far,they've stayed away. These systems tend to get so hot, that even being within a foot or so can feel uncomfortable. So I do not think they'd be tempted to touch the thing, but they might accidentally bunk against it in rough play. Just tell them not to get too close.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 5:17PM
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we are in the process of installing an Excalibur Direct Vent...I spent quite a bit of time looking for the prettiest yet warmest one and am very excited about this one. Can't take pictures yet but check this website for more info...

Here is a link that might be useful: Excalibur Web Site

    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 12:52PM
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