zero clearance fireplace oopppsss

sonnyaMarch 18, 2008

About 10 yrs ago we bought our home. It has a fireplace and an incert. At that time I didn't want the insert so my dear sweet non-handyman husband and two of his equaly non-handyman friends decied to be helpfull and pull out the insert. The pulling out part went ok. The trouble started afterwards. The noticed the back of the fireplace had a metal backing they thought might be part of the incert and that it needed to come out. Well..after banging pulling and knocking a hole in the back my husband looked in the hole and relized they were destroying the actual fireplace. So what did he do??? He just slipped the incert right back in the hole and we have never used our fireplace.

I had a fireplace company come out and give me an estimate on the cost of fixing it. The guy came out..didn't pull out the incert just looked at it and said about $5,000.

Could this be right? Since he didn't even look at it. I'm sure we will have to replace the fireplace backing...but not sure how much that might run? Any ideas advice..besides getting another husband.

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Next time do it yourself since you apparently don't value the honest effort your husband made.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 3:44AM
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Have a certified stove shop guy inspect the unit. You know the fireplace is toast, but the insert may still be good. But how old is the insert? Is it pre EPA? If so get rid of the old "Smoke Dragon" and have a new insert complete with glass door installed for about $2800.
The insert is better by far than an open fireplace anyway. Much more effiecient and better looking.
You won't regret it.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 8:19AM
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Seattlepioneer.."snap!" that hurt! And as a matter of fact I will do it myself.. ;-P

Old-vt-crafter... thanks..that sounds much better then what I was told before. I don't want the I will make the call today..Thanks again!!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 7:09PM
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A guy who just takes a quick look and says $5000 should not be taken seriously. In all fairness, the cost will depend on the condition of the fireplace aside from the damage that your husband did. If you are really intent on eliminating the insert, take it out and then get an estimate from a qualified fireplace company. Without the insert in place, they can probably size up the situation more easily. Incidentally, removing the insert does not involve only removing the firebox that you can see. It also involves removing the vents that are attached to it that go up the chimney. If your insert was of the direct vent technology, there should be 2 vents. You need to remove those vents and then your expert can check out the condition of the original chimney and tell you if it need attention. REmoving those vents may not be easy because they may be attached to the chimney cap, and that cap may be a special kind designed specifically for direct vent systems.

In essence, you are taking apart an insert that probably cost several thousand dollars and, if well designed, provided highly efficient heat, much more efficient than you would get from an open fireplace. But, to each his own.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 9:05PM
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I think we may be having different definitions of "insert".
I'm referring to a woodstove that fits inside the fireplace opening. It's a stove that has "glass' doors and the fire is completely visible.
What must be determined by the stove shop guy is whether or not the fireplace is a "zero clearance" fireplace or a masonry one. If it's a zero clearance unit, or prefab it's destroyed from what I read. So it might involve tearing out the wall to get at the unit as it's inside the studs and is quite a large piece. So to install a wood or gas "insert" inside the opening is the best and most cost effective solurion. You still have very a visible fire and they are quite efficient. I heat my home up here with my woodstove.
On th eother hand, fireplaces are heat losers. They actually suck the heat out of the house creating a "negative efficiency."

In my last house I put a woodburning insert into my Zero clearance fireplace. And never regretted it for one minute.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 7:40AM
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I guess the reason I wanted the insert out...and a reg fireplace is more for "looks" than heat. We live in Ca and it does get cold in the winter but not that cold.

Yes, our insert is black with a window door that you open to put the wood or whatever in..

More info on what's behind it:
I know nothing about fireplaces..but behind the metal plate (sheet of silver backing) was sheetrock. It was originaly designed to be a gas fireplace. Whoever installed the insert capped off the gas pipe.

Question: since it had gas hooked up does that mean it's not a zero clerance fireplace?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 11:26AM
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Yes, that's a zero clearance fireplace, and it's toast.
Go to a stove shop. Talk to them. Maybe you can tear out the unit and replace it. And it should cost less than $5000.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 8:21AM
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thank you for your help!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2008 at 4:08PM
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