Sunday, September 26, 2010


We have a new fireplace!

We have dreamed about putting a natural gas fired fireplace into our house for some time but just were not sure where to put one in a house as small as ours (1450 sq ft). But we are hearing that the long range weather forecast for our area is calling for another nasty winter, much like the one of two years ago, so we decided to finally go ahead and just do it.

We had visited the booth of a local heating supply place at our County Fair this summer so we started with them. They had a nice unit on a special price that we liked, so we ordered it. The delay was in getting the special sized hearth made, but it finally arrived last Thursday and they came on Friday to do the installation. Of course I have some photos of that process and I hope I can get them in here as Flickr has changed the way the code is copied to put into a blog. I hope I've figured it out. Here goes.....

Fireplace 01
This first photo shows part of our living room, with the hearth about in the right place. We felt this location would provide some heat into the dining area behind the fireplace and the kitchen is then to the left in the photo from the dining area. We rarely have power outages but they do happen and we wanted to be sure this stove would work, even with the AC power off. It does although not as well as it will with the AC powered blower working.

Fireplace 02
The two installers, Tim and Jake, have carried the main unit in and are placing it on the hearth. It is by Vermont Castings and has a cast iron firebox so weighs about 200 pounds. Tim is the stove man, Jake is the carpenter.

Fireplace 03
As you know, we live in a cat house with Huggy, Molly and Peewee. Peewee is the youngest and most inquisitive, although Huggy was watching most of the process from her perch on the sofa. Except when she was asleep which was quite often. Peewee has given the area around the floor a good sniff test and is now checking out the top. Better now than later when it gets hot.

Fireplace 04
Our manufactured home requires that outside fresh air be supplied to the firebox for combustion. With a gas fired unit there isn't a lot of exhaust so they are able to use a double walled chimney, with the fresh air coming down the outer part. With a fireplace that burns wood or pellets, you have to cut a vent into the crawl space under the house that comes up to the bottom of the fireplace. Gas is a lot easier.

Fireplace 05
The chimney goes through the roof inside a box that keeps the hot parts from the combustible parts of the house. For that, a fairly large hole has to be cut into the roof and it has to be aligned with the hole in the room ceiling where the box accepts the chimney from the stove. Here Tim and Jake are checking the alignment of the drill before punching the holes out through the roof.

Fireplace 06
Pat is sitting at the dining table in the background while the fireplace is in its final position, with the chimney installed. The glass front of the firebox has been removed so that Tim could place the "logs" in their proper position. These are some sort of a ceramic that glows when the flame heats them. There are also "embers" added to the mix. The iron front that goes in front of the glass is also here on the floor. You can see some of the gas controls under the firebox. We have a remote control that runs on batteries and the receiver in the fireplace gets its electrical power from some units that generate power from the heat of the pilot lite so no household electrical power is needed to operate it, although it will distribute the heat better if AC power is available to drive the fan system.

Fireplace 07
Here is the unit operating. When Jake finished hooking it up to gas he could get the pilot lite to ignite but it wouldn't stay on even after quite a long burn-in with the button depressed. Jake isn't a stove man and Tim had gone on to another job so we called in Jesse who got it working. These have a high temperature paint on much of the unit but it does smell a bit at first so they suggested that we let it burn for a couple of hours with the doors & windows of the house open. It was 77 degrees outside so we didn't need the heat but it did get the paint smell cleared.

Fireplace 08
Here's a closer view. I have been playing with using a couple of different sizes photos from Flickr and am anxious to see how they look in the blog. Hopefully they will be okay.

Anyway, we now have a fireplace so should be all set for winter. However, the pilot lite went out yesterday and it again won't stay lit. We will have to have the stove guys back out tomorrow to get it resolved. I'm glad that we did this before winter set in.

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Hi Dick,
Congratulations on your new fire place. The pictures look great! My name is Crista Adamczyk and I am reaching out to you on behalf of my client, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC). We’ve enjoyed reading your blog and learning about the various places you’ve visited in your travels. Specifically, I enjoyed reading about and looking at pictures from your trip to Depoe Bay. It’s clear that you enjoy traveling, camping grounds and everything the outdoors and environment has to offer.

Because the outdoors are so important to you, I wanted to contact you about the potential for partnering with FCCC regarding getting the word out about how RVers such as yourselves can contribute to protecting the environment they enjoy so much.

Please e-mail me back and let me know if this is something that would be of interest to you. I will be able to send you additional information after I hear back from you.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for your time.

Great to hear from you again Dick. Congrats on the fireplace, I agree it's a good thing you've got it installed before the cold weather. Hopefully all the bugs will be ironed out right away.

Looks great!
That's a pretty fireplace. I like the gas ones which surprised me before I tried one. They are so easy to use and a lot less messy than the wood. Unfortunately we only have wood burning ones for now. I am thinking also we need to be planning for winter even though it's still hot out right now.
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