Converting a Fireplace

lar1970February 24, 2008

Has anyone ever converted an older 70's style fireplace into a wood stove?

Is it possible to install a wood burning stove where a fireplace once was?

Thank you!


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It might be possible to install a wood stove in the firebox, but the installation is not straightforward. First, you have to make sure the stove you select will fit in the existing firebox. It's all right if if sticks out some onto the hearth, but it cannot be higher or wider than the firebox. Second, the firebox needs to be level with the hearth because, if it is higher than the hearth, the stove would slope, which is unacceptable. But that could probably be fixed by making the front legs of the stove taller than the rear legs, or by propping up the front legs, although that might not look very good. The next issue is the size of your chimney, which needs to accomodate the stoves vents, of which there will probably be two, one to exhaust the fumes and the other to draw in fresh air to feed the combustion. You may also have to put in a new chimney cap, one designed to work with the stove.

It will probably not be hard to find a stove that will work in your fireplace. Your main challenge will be to find an installer that you can trust. This is a major installation that will probably take two workers 4-5 hours to complete, and they may have to come back to fine tune the thing. Try to find an installer who is willing to have you talk to previous customers, so you can build a level of confidence that they know what they're doing.

To answer your second question: You can, of course, tear out you present fireplace and substitute a stove in its place. This would be more costly and messy. Again, you do need an expert installer to look your situation over and discuss the options with you.

You might want to consider having an installer come to your house to clean your chimney -- some also work as chimney sweeps -- and you will need to clean your chimney before you install a stove. Then, while he or she is cleaning the chimney (I've seen women chimney sweeps!!), you can ask him or her about the changes you've been thinking about.

Good luck

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 1:41PM
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We had a "zero clearance" Heatilator brand fireplace installed when we built our home in the Poconos of PA in the early 80's. We wanted to install a woodstove and we talked to our local stove shop. There was NO PROBLEM finding a stove that fit inside the fireplace. We purchased an AVALON stove and had it installed by PROFESSIONALS. The fire insurance company really appreciated that. Yes the stove was higher than the hearth so all they did was cut the standard size legs to the correct height and all was fine.

We've since sold the house and moved to the country. But we talk to friends from the Poconos that know the new owners and they tell us the stove is still going strong.

So it IS possible. But it's NOT a DIY installation.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 7:22AM
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Most people install inserts in to existing masonry fire places And insert is designed just for that application One will appreciate the use of a blower most inserts have to bring heat forward into the living space For more discussions I would direct your questions to hearthtalk foeums click on the provide links

Here is a link that might be useful: hearthtalk

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 8:10AM
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