Monday, August 12, 2013

Fired Up

This is my fireplace or more precisely, what remains of the fireplace after it was butchered. It had a nice arched front to it and no doubt burnt wood in a nice fashion. However, the previous owners told me they had a phobia about burning wood and had an electric insert put in. They didn't mention that they butchered the metal lining of the brickwork hid behind the trim but even if they had, I don't think it would have prevented me from buying this house. However, I do love to burn some wood at a recreational level during winters and I have lots of wood to burn with five more large hardwood trees still on the stump, I would like to get this fireplace working before winter.

I'm torn as to what to do right now. Because the metal lining of the firebox was butchered to run the electrical outlet for the electric insert and the bricks have been hacked, I don't think I will be able to have an open fireplace short of completely demo-ing what is there and starting over. I'm not terribly fond of the bricks used but the practical side of me says they aren't terrible either. So I exploring the possibility of putting in a wood burning insert into the cavity if a properly sized one can be found. After lots of searching, I finally found a local place that was willing to come out next week to look at the situation and give me advice and a quote on what should be done with the fireplace.

If it isn't easy or priced right to salvage what is there, I may end up just tearing out all the brick myself and starting over from scratch. Then I can do things properly and the way I want them done but the drawback is that it will require a lot of time which I would really like to spend on other projects I have in mind before the year is out. So for now I am doing what I have done best on this project, procrastinating. Perhaps once the fireplace rep comes out next week, a plan of action will begin to firm up in my mind and I can start this project simultaneously with the other six I am currently working on.

On a more positive note, I drug the electric insert outside to take a few photos to try and sell it on the web and discovered a false grill on the front that popped open and revealed the controls. Up until now, I hadn't found a way to turn it on and assumed it must have been by a remote control taken by the previous owners. So I drug it back to the fireplace, plugged it in and saw that it does work but looks cheesy as can be. I get the same affect of looking at it as I would seeing a video of a fire on my cellphone. In other words, nothing at all.


Vince said...

The big issue with open fireplaces lifted above the floor is draft. And I think you'll have exactly the same issue here.
What you could do simply enough is put in a stove sending the pipe up to the chimney pot.
I had an open fire here and it made the place a very sick house. Even the smallest amount of carbon-monoxide can lower resistance to all sorts of bugs and virus. Now I've a stove with a small air inlet which automatically created a pressure draft as distinct from a suction draft. Anywoos, my best on whatever you decide.

Ed said...

Vince - You are absolutely correct. I'm always a believer in makeup air or what you call the draft. You need plenty of air to ensure combustion and to make sure the combustion products go up the flue instead of in the house.

With open fireplaces, it often means that you need to crack a door or window open to create proper airflow. Fortunately since writing the post, I am going with an insert to place in the open fireplace. It will have makeup air to outside and a door to prevent gassing into the house interior.

Bone said...

Wow, they really did butcher that. Why would anyone do that to their home and just leave it?

Ed said...

Bone - Well to be fair, all that butchering was hidden behind the cheezy electric fireplace which when it wasn't turned on, looked pretty decent.

TC said...

the previous owners told me they had a phobia about burning wood and had an electric insert put in.

I almost screamed at my computer at that point in time.

Ed said...

TC - I didn't scream then but I did when I pulled the insert from the wall the first time.