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Discussion Starter #1
i bought a 70s kit home in 2000 and recently had the chimney relined. the guy told me my fireplace was a Heatilator. it's a metal enclosure inside the fireplace with input and output air ducts, you make a fire inside the metal enclosure, cool air flows in at bottom and gets returned heated at top. there must have been fans at some time.

i've had an old woodstove in there forever, now venting via the new chimney liner, but today with winter coming i decided to check out whether the Heatilator with its fancy vents is doing anything at all.

the main back metal wall is rusted but in place, however its roof is rotted away completely. a second metal shield behind the first has rusted out and crumbled entirely, so bad i just vacuumed the entire thing out today via the lower ducts. those lower ducts, if they are doing anything at all, would be carrying air to the non-existent second metal shield. the metal channels of the upper ducts themselves are rusted out also so even if there were fans they would be leaking heat like crazy.

i believe this is unsalvageable. i've seen vids of people tearing these out and they've torn apart their entire fireplace. i don't want to go there!

SO. what are my options?

a) just use the fireplace as a decorative fire thing?

b) stay with the old woodstove insert?

c) is either option safe given the missing metal roof and back wall of the Heatilator?

d) with the woodstove buried so far inside the damaged Heatilator enclosure i suspect most of the radiant heat is just getting lost.

e) get a brand spanking new woodstove from HD and put it elsewhere. (could a new woodstove put the air ducts to use somehow?)

f) get the Heatilator repaired :surprise:?

sorry my first post was so long, i found a monster in my wall! pics show front view, rotted top of back metal enclosure, view into upper duct

any advice greatly appreciated.
 

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Hvac Pro
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Are you bound and determined to use wood to try and save $$ and you have your own free supply?

Do you have natural gas or propane heating your house? If so you could get a nice airtight pretty efficient fireplace insert for it.

Unless a fireplace is airtight it is mostly cosmetic as you are sucking in lots of cold air from outside to feed the fire. That has to be reheated and costs $$.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
no, i'm not stuck on burning wood, i'm mostly on baseboard electric here and want a backup in case of outtage. my chimney guy just informed me i owned a "Heatilator" and it was working fine. of course a working Heatilator doesn't use a woodstove and the pics show it's not fine.

i do own a huge propane tank outside the house and have propane wall heaters stored in my garage. i'm mostly on baseboard electric here.

can you point me to a propane insert and tell me how it radiates heat to the room? blowers?

thx
 

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This is a very well known Canadian co. who builds very high quality fireplaces. I am sure the US has them too.

They are airtight in that they take the combustion air from outside and bring it down a pipe and the exhaust goes out another pipe which is inside it. Pipe within a pipe /concentric exhaust system. That can go down your existing chimney or they can run it horizontal thru the wall and then cap off the fireplace chimney. Depends on physical layout.

Your best bet is to get some quotes and info from a fireplace company that sells them or HVAC companies who sell them. They are specialty units.

Some have fans to blow the heat and others just radiate.

Some of them are 30,000 BTU and higher output and that is 1/3 the size of a small furnace where I am. My neighbor has one and it radiates LOTS of heat.

Google: gas fireplace insert and there is lots of info out there.

http://napoleonfireplaces.com/products/infrared-3-gas-fireplace-insert/
 
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