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  1. #1
    Jon Randolph's Avatar
    Jon Randolph Guest

    Default Contractor Fireplace Modification

    Found this fireplace in a contractors' home today. Hard to tell from the pic, but the flue opening in the fireplace is completely covered with sheet metal.

    What you can't see on the pics is that he added a sunroom opposite of this wall. I could find no evidence of a chimney.

    Here is what went into the report:

    Repair, Safety Issue: The venting of this fireplace appears to be inappropriate to this application. The following items need to be addressed prior to the fireplace being used. I recommend further investigation by a fireplace professional or licensed chimney sweep prior to closing on the home. This may include a level II or level III (destructive) inspection. If a level III inspection is needed, walls will need to be opened up to inspect what should be the flue area above the fireplace.
    The installation guide for the fireplace can be found
    The fireplace model number is EC36.
    1. Page #12 of the installation manual states that the minimum chimney height is 13 feet. There is not a chimney present for this fireplace.
    2. Page # 19 has a warning that the damper must remain fully open if a gas log set is used. The flue opening has been covered by sheet metal, rendering the damper inoperable. This could allow for carbon monoxide poisoning and possibly death.
    3. Page # 19 has a warning that the fireplace was not tested to be used with an unvented log set unless it has been specifically tested by the Underwriters Laboratory for use in this specific model fireplace. Use of an unapproved log set could result in a structural fire.
    I could not find a label on the gas log set to investigate itís approved use in this fireplace as an unvented log set. It is possible that this log set is approved and can be used as is. It is also possible that the log set is not approved, that no approved log set can be found, and that the entire unit will need replacement with an unvented fireplace or that a chimney will need to be constructed to allow for the safe use of this fireplace.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Near Philly, Pa.

    Thumbs up Re: Contractor Fireplace Modification

    Jon, you've got it covered pretty well and good pick up. This unit should get a level III as the combustibles may have experienced pyrolysis from the intense heat. Heatilator fireplaces use a system where cooling air drawn in through the side louvers is dumped into the throat where it gets entrained up the stack. This essentially turbocharges the flue while dumping heat up the stack. When you block the flue, you obstruct the primary cooliing system of the fireplace.
    Fireplaces that have been tested and listed for use with ventfree logs still require the Entire chimney be installed to the listed instructions. Since the optional portion of UL 127 that tests ventfree logs in factory built fireplaces did not even come out until 1998, this unit could not have possibly been listed with ventfree since it dates back to the 23rd week of 1994.

    I especially commend you for shooting a pic of the rating plate. Once back at the office, it is easy to look it up or even send this pic to Heatilator Tech Support for a ruling.

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.


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