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Old 09-14-2012, 06:07 PM   #1
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Fireplace Upgrade Options - Please See Pic


Hey all... I just joined the forum so forgive me if this is not how this works. I recently purchased a house built in the '70s and the main living room has this very large fireplace, brick and slate surround with a newer white wooden mantel. I have been renovating different parts of the home and I want to do this next but am not sure what to do with it.

Any ideas?

http://picturepush.com/public/9583614



Last edited by tpatel9; 09-14-2012 at 06:09 PM. Reason: Link to picture
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:36 PM   #2
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Why? Other then the paint around it I do not see anything wrong with it except there's no insert so it's about use less other then for looks.

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Old 09-14-2012, 07:29 PM   #3
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this is what i did with ours. i was glad we didn't have brick like you do.
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:15 AM   #4
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Why? Other then the paint around it I do not see anything wrong with it except there's no insert so it's about use less other then for looks.

Well, we are going for a modern look. The brick looks like it was either painted at one point or acid washed. There is an insert inside. Maybe just putting a decorative cover on it would solve the problem.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:39 PM   #5
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I feel like this question is the same as mine but I feel like the answers missed the mark. No offense to those who posted.

I have a similar fireplace in my 1965 house. It has a chimney and was clearly wood burning in the past and has been converted to a gas log with no insert and no vent as far as I can tell. We use it a few times per year like right now while our forced-air gas furnace is broken or during a party.

We bought a set of glass doors to cover it when we redecorated the room. They seal pretty well but not perfectly.

I know these aren't useful for heat. The temp in the living room only climbed from 62 to 63 over a 4 hour period. It's 55 outside.

Would it be worth upgrading this to an insert or something more efficient? What's the return on investment of some reasonable upgrade options? If it was more efficient, we'd use it more. How does the efficiency of a good gas fireplace insert compare to our 20-yr old gas furnace?
Should I just close it back up and save it for emergencies?

Thanks!
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:46 PM   #6
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There are some nice inserts out there and a fireplace specialty shop is the place to find them. They will also be able fit high energy doors. But at the end of the day, most fireplaces are not built to be very efficient heat sources starting with that they draft warm (along with some cold air) right up the chimney. And they will never match a good furnace for heat output.

That said, they are still nice to have and with fuels other than wood, you can close the dampers down some since you don't need to draft a raging inferno. And there is nothing like reading a book next to a fire.

As for what to do with the OPs fireplace? I guess I am not sure the goal and cannot tell what is going on interior design wise with the room. The mantel does look underscaled to me and I would change that. I would have a custom set of doors or screen made for it. A custom fabricated concrete surround or some sort of stone facing to go over the brick might make it look a bit more contemporary.
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Old 10-10-2012, 01:54 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mystic_cobra View Post
Would it be worth upgrading this to an insert or something more efficient? What's the return on investment of some reasonable upgrade options? If it was more efficient, we'd use it more. How does the efficiency of a good gas fireplace insert compare to our 20-yr old gas furnace?
Should I just close it back up and save it for emergencies?

Thanks!
This is very much a "Your mileage may vary" situation. We put a wood burning insert into our wood burning fireplace and it made a HUGE difference in our heating cost. But that's just us. We had been losing a lot of heat up that fireplace before the insert. It was inefficient when burning and basically a big heat draining hole-in-the-wall when not in use.

For a non-scientific experiment, when you have the heat going, get two thermometers. Place one in a center area of the house away from any heat vent, and one near the fireplace.
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:02 PM   #8
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Are these wood burning inserts expensive? Do you need to modify the chimney somehow before you put them in... Sorry for the stupid questions but I am staring at my new wood burning fireplace in my new 1954 house and have no clue about what to do with it. I don't think it was used for a long time...
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:41 PM   #9
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Happyface-
My brother bought a wood burning fireplace insert and a chimney liner/insert from northerntool and installed them in his fireplace. There's a bunch on their website. Only one of the gas variety, but a bunch that burn wood. The fireplace inserts are in the $700-1000 range.

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