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  1. #1
    dan orourke's Avatar
    dan orourke Guest

    Default this may be a silly question....but..

    Last edited by dan orourke; 01-01-2008 at 12:35 PM.
    OREP Home Inspector E&O Insurance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Dallas, Texas
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    4,112

    Default Re: this may be a silly question....but..

    If I mentioned it, I would just call it what it is, a non- functional decorative unit. If there is no flue, etc. by design, then there would not be any requirement for a hearth.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Near Philly, Pa.
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    Smile Re: this may be a silly question....but..

    By "faux" fireplace, what do you mean? What is that fireplace fo'? There are all sorts of contraption, both mfd. and DIY out there. Some are actually ventfree listed appliances while others are electric only. I would be very nervous about any gas line stubbed into an area where there is no visible provision for gas utilization equipment. Perhaps it would be better to have it stubbed out in the basement. The original owner may have installed a listed heater in there and it might have actually met the listing requirements at that time. Now, the new owners see the Fp and gas line, go to the Big Box, buy a set of logs and fire them up! The very presence of a gas line signifies there is some acceptable way of connecting a gas appliance there and if left unguarded, people will do stupid things. I'd call out the gas line rather than worry about a hearth extension, which tells me you are concerned they will attempt to connect gas and use it.

    Do you have any pics?
    Bob

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Dallas, Texas
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    Default Re: this may be a silly question....but..

    Dan, that is very similar to what I see in many older homes here. Typically, these homes had gas jets in every major room and utilized unvented "Dearborn" space heater.
    I have seen some of these units that were allowed to be used ON CARPET by the manufacturer's instructions. So hearth extensions would not be on my radar.
    Bob may have a point about warning about the gas line to keep Billy Bob from installing a log set.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  5. #5
    Dale W. Feb's Avatar
    Dale W. Feb Guest

    Default Re: this may be a silly question....but..

    Dan,

    This is an alcove for a vent-free gas-burning heater. These heaters would vent 100% of the byproducts into the living space. This is why some of our family trees have bent branches. Be sure to watch for heaters still remaining in place and make the call. Do not operate these systems as they are a potential hazard. There are new vent-free heaters that are listed. If theses new listed systems are installed then they must meet the current listing requirements. The current hearth extension means nothing until a new system is installed. For the record, I do not recommend the installation of these vent-free systems. There are a lot of things to consider before applying one of these systems.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
    Posts
    3,471

    Default Re: this may be a silly question....but..

    Dale, if I understand correctly, ventless gas fireplaces are banned in a number of states, something like 13 of them. Correct?


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Near Philly, Pa.
    Posts
    1,633

    Cool Re: this may be a silly question....but..

    Nick, that number changes all the time because of the powerful lobbying going on. Their current drive is at the IAMPO, who adopted them. If you go onto the ventfree alliance's website, you can download tons of propaganda. No middle ground here--you either love them or hate them.

    Please note the CPSC state in a letter posted on that site that their findings are based on whatever gets reported to them. They investigate every CO death that gets reported. If nobody is keen on what caused a death and doesn't report it as such, it gets swept under the rug. Their highly touted White Paper, which was done at their request to justify a specific result, was all computer modelling. To date, there have not been any in vivo field studies of ventfree appliances and the evidence is at best anecdotal.

    As for ventfree in faux fireplaces, the ANSI z21.11.2b listing does not recognize them. You either install them into a code compliant fireplace or install a listed free standing unit maintaining stated clearances. Homemade fireplaces, esp. faux ones, are notorious for construction shortcomings, esp. the use of combustible materials. The photo presented at the top looks like an accident looking for a place to happen.

    Bob

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

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