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Old 10-12-2008, 03:29 AM   #1
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New project: removal of old fireplace-replace with a new fireplace!


I done a quick search with the search feature, and it turned nothing for my application!
Well my latest of project I have considered tackling, is the removal of a pre-existing unoperative fireplace.
When I purchased my home i done a complete gut out of the home removing 2 of the 3 fireplaces(wood and coal accourding to ash remains in fireplace) i left the third one with intent of removing and replacing!
So i think as i a nice indoor winter time project i just might take this one on! Though i might not have it done in time fo ruse fo rthis winter it could be of use fo rmany many yrs to come!

Now the removal of the other 2 fireplaces were not that difficult, as the house was empty(we didnt live in it during the renovation) so destroy destroy-DESTROY damage didnt matter! This was a complete gutout of the entire interior of the home so there was no risk of anything being damaged! But now we live in the home, and it is beuatiful with very expensive crown molding, and even more expensive carpet, not to mention my family living in the home, including kids and my grandson(14 mnths old). So this removal will have to be taken very slowly, and propely done as not to damage the interior, nor provide any dangerous health issues for my family!
The other two fireplaces burned a variety of coal, and wood,(this proved by ash remains in the chimney)! I want to replace with a true wood burning fireplace, as it is truely the only 'free' renewable resource for heating that we have available to us!
What has already been done:
Chimney top has already been removed below the roof line(done during installation of new roof) so no open holes in the roof during the project till last second. But this is a two story home so i have a lot of brick to remove to get down int o the crawl space under the house!
The currect fireplace opening in the living room, was covered over with sheetrock during the remodel! Thats all that has been done at this point!

I can guess that coal was burned in this unit as well as the other 2 units that were in our home, so I can expect to see lots of nasty nasty black very thick and very heavy hard to breathe in black coal dust! This is where i am worried about health issues! Removal of the brick is not going to be an issue as it is just smash it with a hammer and it breaks away(many many yrs of extreme heat on regular red bricks, not approved for fireplace use)
So what we have is a two layer thick(innner brick and outer) with the inner bricks very fragile and brittle).

My rebuilding ideas are a very attractive, but yet safe burning fireplace.
their are no codes in force in my area, but i am worried about building a very heat efficient fireplace with great looking and appealing looks! But still be "SAFE" This is a flat wall application, (not a corner application) not sure of exact demensions as of yet, not yet ready to tear down the very expensive crown, damage expensive carpet, and sheetrock just yet, not till all my investigating , and reasearch and education is complete!

I love nothing more then the smell of burning firewood, or even throwing a couple of potatoes in the fire to have with dinner and if I build this thing correctly then their shouldn't be any reason I cant put a pot of old pinto beans on and cook over this fireplace!

So you now know my thoughts, ideas, concerns, now help me build this thing, and build it right! If you can!

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My house, a 1921 Sears-Robuk 1 1/2 story 4 bedroom, 2 bath 1975 sqr ft house! Ordered March 1921, delivered via: railcar 1922, assembled October 1922! Ignorance is not having the knowledge of', Stupidity is having the knowledge of' and not using it!
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Old 10-12-2008, 10:41 PM   #2
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New project: removal of old fireplace-replace with a new fireplace!


Just wondering because I haven't had any luck with responses. Well maybe it is Because its the weekend! Yeah thats it.

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Old 10-12-2008, 11:16 PM   #3
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New project: removal of old fireplace-replace with a new fireplace!


Mrshadetree0222,

I can not comment on right or wrong spot for your post.

Grandpa to Grandpa,

You are asking us for a judgement call on if the trauma of reconstruction of this fireplace and chimney will be worth the enjoyment you plan on receiving once completed... You are the ONLY ONE that can make that call.

1. Fireplace and efficiency should not be used in the same sentence.
2. Never ever put or let your grand child be at risk... what kind of grandpa are you? ( never risk your union membership).

Yes, the mess will be a lot more than you think.

consider a fire pit out side .. great place for samores, roasted marshmallows, potatoes, and special time with the grand.
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Old 10-12-2008, 11:35 PM   #4
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New project: removal of old fireplace-replace with a new fireplace!


Thank you fro the reply Big Bob, but the sole purpose of doing this project is for heating purposes. We have a very large manufacturering plant in our neighborhood that tends to knock out the power very often, and at times for as much as 3 to 4 days straight before they get us back on line! this is a on going debatable issue, hundreds of different potitions have been signed trying to get the issue resolved but still yet to of corrected the problem so in the mean time all residents have to have a back up heating source!

This is the only "free renewable resource" offered in america these days! I growed up with one in my parents house and cut firewood from the time i was 5-6 till I left home home. I want to be able to create the growing memories for my children, and grand children. Sitting around the fire on a cold winter night, when the electric goes out(which happens very very often in fact way to often in our neighborhood thanks to the large manufacturing plant) sitting around the fire telling stories, and making smores or even cooking a pot of beans on the fire!
But I want to do this entirely for the heating purposes!
I belive you had suggested that fireplace-efficeincy is not to be included in same sentence, so why is that? Can you elaborate?
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My house, a 1921 Sears-Robuk 1 1/2 story 4 bedroom, 2 bath 1975 sqr ft house! Ordered March 1921, delivered via: railcar 1922, assembled October 1922! Ignorance is not having the knowledge of', Stupidity is having the knowledge of' and not using it!

Last edited by MrShadetree0222; 10-12-2008 at 11:43 PM. Reason: delete the name of large manufacturing co. correction to big bob's name, sorry for the typo Big Bob
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Old 10-13-2008, 01:26 AM   #5
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New project: removal of old fireplace-replace with a new fireplace!


Most of the heat goes up the chimney (90% or so) what heat radiates out in the room is often sucked up the chimney in combustion air currents.

If you have a heatilator.. forced air (heated pipe type system) and out side combustion air supply the efficiency can increase.

Yes, never let the grand child get cold.. if you are looking at a need... for survival purposes... than do it.( Fix the FP so it will work.

In the mean time ... get a portable free standing kerosene heater... just in case.

Last edited by Big Bob; 10-13-2008 at 01:30 AM.
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Old 10-13-2008, 02:48 AM   #6
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New project: removal of old fireplace-replace with a new fireplace!


How about an earth stove,or similiar,,,or a corn or pellet stove in basement or first floor. Some of them duct out side with PVC pipe,,,,or,,, Put a flue liner inside the chimney and go. Put metal pipe up thru the roof. If the chimney black is bad,,,get a chimney sweep to clean it

any of the above can heat a home for days on end. AND maybe cheaply enough you may run your present system as a backup only!!! ONLY good wood heat system I have seen is those sheds away from the home,heating liquid that is piped to the house,,,keeps smoke,fumes and ashes ALL outside where it belongs.(including bugs and tracked in dirty snow). Stoke them twice a day and your good to go.(if you REALLY enjoy cutting wood)
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Old 10-13-2008, 04:05 AM   #7
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New project: removal of old fireplace-replace with a new fireplace!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Bob View Post
Most of the heat goes up the chimney (90% or so) what heat radiates out in the room is often sucked up the chimney in combustion air currents.

If you have a heatilator.. forced air (heated pipe type system) and out side combustion air supply the efficiency can increase.

Yes, never let the grand child get cold.. if you are looking at a need... for survival purposes... than do it.( Fix the FP so it will work.

In the mean time ... get a portable free standing kerosene heater... just in case.
It is not a need currently, just finished installing a new/used furnace more then capable of providing heat for the house!
But the need or demand to have a back up heat source is very much needed. And if I had a operational fireplace right now I would be burning it instead of the furnace!( to save on heating costs)
No one is going to go cold currently untile the local large manufacturing plant knocks us off line again.(knocks us off the power grid). Expected again anytime now! Its ben this way for 11 yrs now, so we have learned to adjust for the conditions and situations! But with this new house( One block from the old house) we have not got a back up heat source, yes we have a gas furnace but its of no use with electric to run it!
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My house, a 1921 Sears-Robuk 1 1/2 story 4 bedroom, 2 bath 1975 sqr ft house! Ordered March 1921, delivered via: railcar 1922, assembled October 1922! Ignorance is not having the knowledge of', Stupidity is having the knowledge of' and not using it!
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Old 10-14-2008, 02:46 AM   #8
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New project: removal of old fireplace-replace with a new fireplace!


can you get a back up generator,,,the cheaper gas vesions should do,,,and make it so you can unplug the furnace from the power grid and plug it into the generator then??? CARE must be taken NOT to backfeed the power company lines tho. IF you have both wired you need a special double throw switch that disconnects one while other is connected. Easier to unplug a receptacle and plug into another,,,goof proof that way. I used to live in the country and we lost power sometimes too,,,even BIG weather events like the large ice storms of late,,,can knock out power for weeks,,,BACKUP heat is very necessary,,,as I said before a earth stove in the vicintiy of the furnace,,I used to be able to take the filter panel cover off and blow the warm air up the ducts with a window fan,plugged into the 'small' generator,,and have my well pluged in too,,,so I had water(and MORE importantly the animals there) Sorta fun to get out the old time kerosene lamps out now and then,,,huddle around a transistor radio or news,and play with ACTUAL cards since nothing else to do,,,besides sleep in the DARK!!!

least wise then you can plug refrigs and freezers in once in awhile thru the day to preserve the FOOD!!

HERE,,, you can buy BIG generators that are run off a PTO shaft for pretty cheap(at auction sales,,,most of them are seldom if EVER used),,IF you have a tractor around to push snow,etc with anyway!!!

I used to have an earth stove piped into my fireplace chimney with a sheet of heavy tin over the fireplace pot with a round hole for the stove pipe and an elbow to head her up. Splice a metal pipe on top and go with that,,,for emergency time only,,,can store in garage or wherever you want it. OR burn it all winter for heat!!
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Old 10-14-2008, 10:39 AM   #9
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New project: removal of old fireplace-replace with a new fireplace!


Alot of great suggestions for dealing with my heat source issue, thus making my furnace a back-up heat source, but they all seem to be out of my range for the budget of a large/medium winter time project!
The suggestion that fire places looses 90+ percent of the heat up th echimney stack, now is this the case with an fireplace insert? What if I rebuilt the fireplace and just used a fireplace insert in it? Are they any more efficient then just a standard built fireplace? I couldn't imagine spending the time and money on rebuilding the fireplace, with only getting 10% or less efficiency out of it???

The last residense we/i lived in as a teen, we had a 'POT BELLY' Fireplace, this was a freestanding fireplace, and this thing was incredible for producing heat all throughout our house. Lets just say you could wear shorts in the house while snow on the ground outside!
This unit was located in a house about the size of my downstairs( same size floor plan--minus my upstairs) It remained at still standing on a piece of granite, exjausted with 6' tripple wall wall pipe out the sid eof the house. And the way my father had htis one set-up, it could easily be dollied to the shed from season to season, then take out granite plate, and then he could put a deer head over the pipe in the wall. It was a very clever idea for my father to make this a stealth unit when not needed(off season).

Sorry to go off track from what others have suggested but the cost issue for doing it some of the ther ways make no sence to me! Again i am looking to do this project for sole heating purpose, then use the furnace as auxillary heat when needed.
Alot of homes are built brand new today with fireplaces in them are these brand new homes being built with fireplaces in them are the not getting any more heat efficiency out of these brand new fireplaces with todays technology assist? Has the fireplace today never advanced to more heat efficient application then 90% waste?

Thank you for looking at my thoughts and ideas! If i am way off here then someone let me know, so i can quit boring you folks with my replies, and questions!!!
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My house, a 1921 Sears-Robuk 1 1/2 story 4 bedroom, 2 bath 1975 sqr ft house! Ordered March 1921, delivered via: railcar 1922, assembled October 1922! Ignorance is not having the knowledge of', Stupidity is having the knowledge of' and not using it!

Last edited by MrShadetree0222; 10-14-2008 at 10:43 AM. Reason: Is i tproper to capitalize the 'I' when not the first letter in a sentence? lol
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Old 10-14-2008, 01:31 PM   #10
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New project: removal of old fireplace-replace with a new fireplace!


Yes, the inserts are more efficient... lots of designs to pick from and their
efficiency will vary a lot.

Form follows function...
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Old 10-14-2008, 01:57 PM   #11
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New project: removal of old fireplace-replace with a new fireplace!


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Yes, the inserts are more efficient... lots of designs to pick from and their
efficiency will vary a lot.

Form follows function...
Thank you fro taking the time to respond again BigBob, Do you know what Efficiency rating i should start looking for? I'm sure the better the efficiency the better the performance, but that also means the higher the costs right?
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Old 10-14-2008, 04:13 PM   #12
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New project: removal of old fireplace-replace with a new fireplace!


The more efficient units will have outside combustion air supply and an electric fan that forces hot air from a heated chamber. If the powers off, well ...you know that story.

If efficiency in converting the stored energy in wood to heat (Useful BTU's) is the goal then the "pot bellied stove" like you had as a teen is the way to go.
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Old 10-14-2008, 06:40 PM   #13
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New project: removal of old fireplace-replace with a new fireplace!


I helped my dad replace our fireplace with a heatilator one when I was growing up. It had an outside air intake and fan as Bob mentions, and also does a much better job a reflecting radiant heat. We hardly ever used the electric fan though, in part because it was rather noisy, but also it never really seemed to be needed. We could easily raise the temperature of our living and dining rooms in the upper 70's if we a fire going for a while. This was in a Michigan climate. We were very happy with it. There where several times where it did provide effectively heat while the power was out, as you are looking for (of course the up stairs was still cold). If I remember right the model we put in used a triple walled stove pipe, so I don't know how you would integrate that with a masonry chimney, but I imagine they make models to do that. (In our case we demolished a masonry chimney that was pulling away from the house and replaced with a wood frame chase. I must have been 13 or 14 at the time, so I basically did grunt work, and most of my memories were confined to swinging a sledge and throwing debris in a dumpster.) I can't imagine we it was a very expensive fireplace, or my family would never had gotten at that time, but I'm afraid I can't tell you any more detail than that.

You mentioned cooking as well. Somewhere my dad found a grill for the fireplace, which I haven't seem anywhere else. It was basically a screw jack that you put in one corner, and had these pivots you to attach a grill or pan to and swing over the coals. It was great and we did this about one a week in the winter growing up.
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Old 10-15-2008, 11:37 PM   #14
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I helped my dad replace our fireplace with a heatilator one when I was growing up. It had an outside air intake and fan as Bob mentions, and also does a much better job a reflecting radiant heat. We hardly ever used the electric fan though, in part because it was rather noisy, but also it never really seemed to be needed. We could easily raise the temperature of our living and dining rooms in the upper 70's if we a fire going for a while. This was in a Michigan climate. We were very happy with it. There where several times where it did provide effectively heat while the power was out, as you are looking for (of course the up stairs was still cold). If I remember right the model we put in used a triple walled stove pipe, so I don't know how you would integrate that with a masonry chimney, but I imagine they make models to do that. (In our case we demolished a masonry chimney that was pulling away from the house and replaced with a wood frame chase. I must have been 13 or 14 at the time, so I basically did grunt work, and most of my memories were confined to swinging a sledge and throwing debris in a dumpster.) I can't imagine we it was a very expensive fireplace, or my family would never had gotten at that time, but I'm afraid I can't tell you any more detail than that.

You mentioned cooking as well. Somewhere my dad found a grill for the fireplace, which I haven't seem anywhere else. It was basically a screw jack that you put in one corner, and had these pivots you to attach a grill or pan to and swing over the coals. It was great and we did this about one a week in the winter growing up.

Wow really takes you back don't it? I am right thier with you on the memeories, the best of memories, was once My father, brother and I was out cutting wood, and he told us, and told us do not throw the wood into the back of the truck from so far away, I bet he told 1100 times this particular morning, (it was late in the season and ran out of wood,) so had to run out in the freezing cold to get a couple more loads to carry us rest of the way through the season, but let me tell you what that was back when winter was winter, not like today! But anyways (WOW I SUCK AT TELLING STORIES), he told us and told us not to throw the wood from so far away into the back of the truck, and well yup you guess pop, crash boom shatter, bang shatter bang shatter, that was the sound of the back windows getting knocked out of the back of my dads old pickup! I remember well it was cold! And letts just say the 35 mile drive back home with no back window( and terrible heat in his mid 70 ford wasnt worth a darn to begin with) was freaking cold, i dont think i have ever defrosted from that day!
Well i spent the next three days splitting them 4 loads of wood by myself, and we wasnt priveladged enough to be able to afford one of those fancy log splitters like all the nieghbors, them loads of wood was split with a Mall, and wedges. Hey great story and thanks for bringing up one of my great stories! I will never forget, and he(dad) dont let me forget either!
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Old 10-16-2008, 07:12 PM   #15
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New project: removal of old fireplace-replace with a new fireplace!


Mrshadetree0222,

today's parenting techniques advise to explain the possible consequences of the undesired behavior you are attempting to modify with the child. So when you are out with the grand gathering wood in the back of your
pick-up truck, you can share this wonderful memory.
I'm guessing that being a little "head strong" might be a family trait... so I would recommend a scrap piece of plywood leaned up to protect your rear pick-up truck window anyway.

thanks for sharing.


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