Standard fireplace with a wood burning stove insert

NPhoenixBAugust 31, 2012

I have a split foyer, and down in the basement I have a wood burning stove that the previous owner installed in a regular fireplace...or what seems to be a regular fireplace. He told me that if I wanted to remove the wood stove, I could, however there is no fan in the chimney itself to help pull the smoke up and out. I can't use the current wood stove because the door is broken and the company who originally manufactured it went out of business (it's 34 years old). It's also 2/3 the size of the fireplace opening itself, and it just looks goofy.

My question is, should I just buy a new larger wood stove and install it where the previous one used to be, or would it be better to just forget it and use the fireplace without it? How difficult would it be to vent it if I did use it like a regular fireplace? I've never tackled a project in this area before, so any input would be appreciated!

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akamainegrower

A properly designed and constructed chimney does not need a fan; it operates by natural draft. Before doing anything, you should have the chimney inspected for safety and have a draft test performed. Basements are not ideal locations for wood stoves or fireplaces as they often have draft difficulties.

As for your choices, a fireplace is extremely inefficient as a heating source. Nearly all the heat goes straight up and out through the chimney. Modern EPA certified woodstoves or inserts are much more efficient but may experience more drafting difficulties than the old stove in a basement.

You can find a world of information at www.hearth.com. Your local fire department should be able to give you the name of a certified chimney sweep for inspection and advice.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 5:34AM
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NPhoenixB

Thanks for the information! I know what it's like to have a regular fireplace, and I have to admit that I wasn't crazy about going without a wood stove because the last house I lived in had a fireplace and it had a ventilation system where you'd just flip the switch and the fan would come on. It did a great job with pulling all the smoke and soot up, but the heat went with it as well.
I've got someone coming to inspect the chimney and clean it out, and I've already found a replacement stove that I'm hoping to have put in within the next few weeks. This particular situation just threw me for a loop because I've never had a fireplace or wood stove in a basement before. If everything works as planned, I'll keep my fingers crossed for lower electric bills this winter!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 2:22PM
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