Superior line within Lennox - opinions?

karnogMay 19, 2008

My builder is recommending (and has installed in other homes) the Superior BC-42 wood burning fireplace. I guess Lennox's Superior line is geared towards architects and builders. Anyone have an opinion or experience with these and more specifically the BC-42?

Below is a link:

Here is a link that might be useful: Lennox/Superior BC-42 Wood burning Fireplace

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Lennox bought Superior a in 2000ish. Those are what are refered to as a builder box, or by many a disposable fireplace. They are cheap thin metal, cheap thin refractories and if you use it daily in the winter, it might last 5 years before the refractories are toast and metal rusted and mis-shaped from the heat. And on the subject of heat, it'll cool you house when you use it, not heat it, even with doors and a fan. And it probably does not come with either, doors and a fan will cost more than the fireplace itself. Replacement refractories cost twice what the whole unit does, if that says anything. If you want a wood fireplace for an ocasional fire, look at a fully insulated unit. If you want it to actually make heat, then there is a whole other price range and list of options. Sorry to be so negative, I was just really disappointed in the Superior KC-38 that was put in my house in 1998.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 11:06PM
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Ouch. Yes that is negative and worrisome for me to hear but at least you are speaking from real experience with one of their products. I am not sure what I would be given for an allowance on this, which will have to drive my decision on choosing another product to some degree, but something tells me it won't be much. :(

Anyone else with experience on these products?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 12:42PM
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As long as you don't plan to use it everyday in the winter and generate heat with it, then it'll serve its purpose as an occasional fireplace for ambience. You could call a fireplace store and price it out, they are probably $600-$700 without doors. A unit that will generate heat and stand up to daily use is going to run well over $2000. So you can see the difference. I'm sure that many people that use them as an occasional fireplace are perfectly happy with them, but that was not how I envisioned mine. I wanted to burn it daily and have it heat the house. That is why I tore it out and went with the Optifire, and I couldn't say enough good things about that model. Also keep in mind that once the spring outdoor kitchen season passes, fireplace stores are hurting for business unless they have diversified into something else, and offer some pretty good discounts.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 10:50PM
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I agree with everything that has been said above about Superior. It is everythin but . . . Our 1985 vintage house has one of them, probably not the same model you were offered by your builder. We used it only occasionally for ambience, burning fake logs that you get from the supermarket. But we recently had installed into the cheap fireplace a direct vent gas logs system, which is highly energy efficient, safe and clean. It does more than make a pretty, drafty fire. It really warms the room, and it looks great. These direct vent systems should not be confused with ordinary gas logs, which send most of their heat up the chimney. If you are seriously interested in a direct vent system, you should buy and have one installed by a specialist. Your building contractor probably does not know enough about them. And they cost much more than $1000.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 4:47PM
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What is a direct vent log set?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 8:29PM
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if you do a search on this forum for "direct vent" you will see several posts on the subject. briefly, a direct vent gas fireplace (or fireplace insert) is a sealed firebox with 2 vents to the outside, one exhausts the fumes from the fire, and the other brings in fresh air from the outside to feed the combustion. so you do not affect indoor air quality. systems that are not direct vent can reduce the oxygen level in you home and produce some fumes from the fire, and are in many building codes outlawed in sleeping rooms because they are a safety hazard. direct vent is also highly energy efficient. after a few minutes they can feel like a blast furnace, and you need a remote control thermostat, usually available at extra cost, to manage that. in my experience, i highly recommend such a thermostat. they charge too much for them, based on what they probably cost to make, but you really need them.

If you're interested in finding out more about direct vent systems, the consumer reports website has a brief explanation about them, and the reasons why you should avoid other systems. then, if you are still interested, google direct vent gas and you can shop around for the different manufacturers and pick the one you want. be prepared to pay big bucks. we got our insert for serious heat because here in north carolina we sometimes get power outages in ice storms, and this will keep us from freezing.

we like the jotul brand, made in Norway and assembled in Maine. they make real quality products. but there are many others that are just as good, some less expensive than jotul. one thing I did not like about jotul, they do not have a 800 # customer service, because when you call it, you get a recorded message referring you to the retail dealer.

whatever you decide, make very sure the people who will do the installation are proven to be competent. ask around, check work they did for others, etc. putting in a fireplace from scratch will probably take 3-4 days. Our insert took over a day.

happy hunting

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 8:41AM
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