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retrofitting fireplace to make energy-efficient?

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  • Andrea Wisner
    We have realized this winter that the fireplace in our house has no function except to suck all the heat in house out the chimney. Rather than sealing it off,
    Message 1 of 12 , Feb 7, 2010
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      We have realized this winter that the fireplace in our house has no function except to suck all the heat in house out the chimney. Rather than sealing it off, is there an inexpensive do-it-yourself option to turn it into a space-heater of sorts? I'm thinking gas, but maybe electric. If gas, what would be the best option for venting?
       
      We do already have gas heat, although it's not set up properly and we've been using electric space heaters in kitchen and bedroom and leaving the rest of the house cold. The gas source is just outside the chimney.
       
      Also, I'd love to receive recommendations of someone to integrate the gas with our new AC system, which wasn't done for some reason. Or are we better off not using the gas for heating the house?
       
      Any (inexpensive) suggestions would be appreciated.
      Andrea

    • William & Cynthia Stange
      Is it a regular masonry FP or one of those gas log things? When I lived in Portland OR. they used fireplace inserts, kind of like a pot-bellied stove but built
      Message 2 of 12 , Feb 7, 2010
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        Is it a regular masonry FP or one of those gas log things? When I lived in Portland OR. they used fireplace inserts, kind of like a pot-bellied stove but built into a FP opening. Alot of people then used a cooling thermostat and an inline exhaust fan to suck out some of the hot (and I mean hot) air and pump it to the bedroom areas or wherever was needed via an AC duct in the ceiling. Another device was the same cooling therm and fan in a room with windows that faced south and dark tile floor/wall. The passive heat build up on sunnier days could be moved around the house as well. Take some pics so we can see the situation, there's always a way to pester something.
         On a side note, the oak from Ike that I stacked last year came in pretty handy this winter. Got a little needed exersize as well splitting it. Burns hot and relatively clean as fire wood goes. I wonder if  large tanks of water near a hot FP could hold the heat for awhile??? Hmmm. Anybody?
         Bill


        From: Andrea Wisner <amwisner@...>
        To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sun, February 7, 2010 8:43:37 PM
        Subject: [hreg] retrofitting fireplace to make energy-efficient?

         

        We have realized this winter that the fireplace in our house has no function except to suck all the heat in house out the chimney. Rather than sealing it off, is there an inexpensive do-it-yourself option to turn it into a space-heater of sorts? I'm thinking gas, but maybe electric. If gas, what would be the best option for venting?
         
        We do already have gas heat, although it's not set up properly and we've been using electric space heaters in kitchen and bedroom and leaving the rest of the house cold. The gas source is just outside the chimney.
         
        Also, I'd love to receive recommendations of someone to integrate the gas with our new AC system, which wasn't done for some reason. Or are we better off not using the gas for heating the house?
         
        Any (inexpensive) suggestions would be appreciated.
        Andrea

      • Garth & Kim Travis
        Greetings, Several hundred years ago, a man was made a Count for solving this problem. His name was Rumford. He devised a way to adapt any fireplace to his
        Message 3 of 12 , Feb 8, 2010
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          Greetings,

          Several hundred years ago, a man was made a Count for solving this
          problem. His name was Rumford. He devised a way to adapt any fireplace
          to his principles. Kits do exist for making this change. A good mason
          may know how to do it as well. I don't know the cost, I am building one
          from scratch, myself. Google Rumford Fireplaces for more information.

          If you go with gas, try to get an insert that requires no electricity.
          If we get an ice storm, you will still have heat that way.

          Bright Blessings,
          Kim

          Andrea Wisner wrote:
          >
          >
          > We have realized this winter that the fireplace in our house has no
          > function except to suck all the heat in house out the chimney. Rather
          > than sealing it off, is there an inexpensive do-it-yourself option to
          > turn it into a space-heater of sorts? I'm thinking gas, but maybe
          > electric. If gas, what would be the best option for venting?
          >
          > We do already have gas heat, although it's not set up properly and
          > we've been using electric space heaters in kitchen and bedroom and
          > leaving the rest of the house cold. The gas source is just outside the
          > chimney.
          >
          > Also, I'd love to receive recommendations of someone to integrate the
          > gas with our new AC system, which wasn't done for some reason. Or are
          > we better off not using the gas for heating the house?
          >
          > Any (inexpensive) suggestions would be appreciated.
          > Andrea
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
        • Andrea Wisner
          It s regular masonry but with a gas line going into it. It s standard size and shape, but there s an overhang at the top which keeps heat from escaping from
          Message 4 of 12 , Feb 8, 2010
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            It's regular masonry but with a gas line going into it. It's standard size and shape, but there's an overhang at the top which keeps heat from escaping from the fireplace. We've used wood a couple times and you can sit right in front of it and barely feel anything. Also, a friend volunteered to cover the fireplace with some spare marble tiles he had, so it looks great but I think if we do anything with the fireplace we're going to end up cutting into the marble.
             
            I did find out that there are certain fireplace inserts which qualify for the 30% energy efficiency tax credit, but what I've seen so far is $1500 minimum cost just for a unit (not sure if it's even tax credit qualified), and around $2500 seems pretty common. A kit would be great! I need to keep looking.
             
            Your question about water near the fireplace  - a "heat sink" - is a good one. I was planning to ask questions on the issue someday. I think black stone is supposed to be a good heat sink. Also, the electric "radiator" space heaters use some kind of oil. I suppose water loses heat pretty fast.
             
            Any input from the experts on heat sinks would be great! I'd like to know how to take advantage of our south-facing picture window in the winter. A list of useable materials would be great.
             
            Andrea

            --- On Sun, 2/7/10, William & Cynthia Stange <stangfam@...> wrote:

            From: William & Cynthia Stange <stangfam@...>
            Subject: Re: [hreg] retrofitting fireplace to make energy-efficient?
            To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Sunday, February 7, 2010, 11:07 PM

             
            Is it a regular masonry FP or one of those gas log things? When I lived in Portland OR. they used fireplace inserts, kind of like a pot-bellied stove but built into a FP opening. Alot of people then used a cooling thermostat and an inline exhaust fan to suck out some of the hot (and I mean hot) air and pump it to the bedroom areas or wherever was needed via an AC duct in the ceiling. Another device was the same cooling therm and fan in a room with windows that faced south and dark tile floor/wall. The passive heat build up on sunnier days could be moved around the house as well. Take some pics so we can see the situation, there's always a way to pester something.
             On a side note, the oak from Ike that I stacked last year came in pretty handy this winter. Got a little needed exersize as well splitting it. Burns hot and relatively clean as fire wood goes. I wonder if  large tanks of water near a hot FP could hold the heat for awhile??? Hmmm. Anybody?
             Bill


            From: Andrea Wisner <amwisner@yahoo. com>
            To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
            Sent: Sun, February 7, 2010 8:43:37 PM
            Subject: [hreg] retrofitting fireplace to make energy-efficient?

             
            We have realized this winter that the fireplace in our house has no function except to suck all the heat in house out the chimney. Rather than sealing it off, is there an inexpensive do-it-yourself option to turn it into a space-heater of sorts? I'm thinking gas, but maybe electric. If gas, what would be the best option for venting?
             
            We do already have gas heat, although it's not set up properly and we've been using electric space heaters in kitchen and bedroom and leaving the rest of the house cold. The gas source is just outside the chimney.
             
            Also, I'd love to receive recommendations of someone to integrate the gas with our new AC system, which wasn't done for some reason. Or are we better off not using the gas for heating the house?
             
            Any (inexpensive) suggestions would be appreciated.
            Andrea


          • William & Cynthia Stange
            It seemed to me there was a fireplace burn rack that was tubular and in the shape of the letter C . In that air would circulate in at the bottom and expell
            Message 5 of 12 , Feb 8, 2010
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              It seemed to me there was a fireplace burn rack that was tubular and in the shape of the letter "C". In that air would circulate in at the bottom and expell out the top without any smoke. Any heavy metal (cast iron, steel ) should hold some heat for awhile. Copper heats quickly and radiates heat well, it just does not store it for long. When not using your fireplace do you shut the damper to keep homr heat in? I would seem  a way to stop drafts when ALL coals are out is to cover the opening/seal it.
               Some of these sites you may have already been to


              From: Andrea Wisner <amwisner@...>
              To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Mon, February 8, 2010 11:24:57 AM
              Subject: Re: [hreg] retrofitting fireplace to make energy-efficient?

               

              It's regular masonry but with a gas line going into it. It's standard size and shape, but there's an overhang at the top which keeps heat from escaping from the fireplace. We've used wood a couple times and you can sit right in front of it and barely feel anything. Also, a friend volunteered to cover the fireplace with some spare marble tiles he had, so it looks great but I think if we do anything with the fireplace we're going to end up cutting into the marble.
               
              I did find out that there are certain fireplace inserts which qualify for the 30% energy efficiency tax credit, but what I've seen so far is $1500 minimum cost just for a unit (not sure if it's even tax credit qualified), and around $2500 seems pretty common. A kit would be great! I need to keep looking.
               
              Your question about water near the fireplace  - a "heat sink" - is a good one. I was planning to ask questions on the issue someday. I think black stone is supposed to be a good heat sink. Also, the electric "radiator" space heaters use some kind of oil. I suppose water loses heat pretty fast.
               
              Any input from the experts on heat sinks would be great! I'd like to know how to take advantage of our south-facing picture window in the winter. A list of useable materials would be great.
               
              Andrea

              --- On Sun, 2/7/10, William & Cynthia Stange <stangfam@swbell. net> wrote:

              From: William & Cynthia Stange <stangfam@swbell. net>
              Subject: Re: [hreg] retrofitting fireplace to make energy-efficient?
              To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
              Date: Sunday, February 7, 2010, 11:07 PM

               
              Is it a regular masonry FP or one of those gas log things? When I lived in Portland OR. they used fireplace inserts, kind of like a pot-bellied stove but built into a FP opening. Alot of people then used a cooling thermostat and an inline exhaust fan to suck out some of the hot (and I mean hot) air and pump it to the bedroom areas or wherever was needed via an AC duct in the ceiling. Another device was the same cooling therm and fan in a room with windows that faced south and dark tile floor/wall. The passive heat build up on sunnier days could be moved around the house as well. Take some pics so we can see the situation, there's always a way to pester something.
               On a side note, the oak from Ike that I stacked last year came in pretty handy this winter. Got a little needed exersize as well splitting it. Burns hot and relatively clean as fire wood goes. I wonder if  large tanks of water near a hot FP could hold the heat for awhile??? Hmmm. Anybody?
               Bill


              From: Andrea Wisner <amwisner@yahoo. com>
              To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
              Sent: Sun, February 7, 2010 8:43:37 PM
              Subject: [hreg] retrofitting fireplace to make energy-efficient?

               
              We have realized this winter that the fireplace in our house has no function except to suck all the heat in house out the chimney. Rather than sealing it off, is there an inexpensive do-it-yourself option to turn it into a space-heater of sorts? I'm thinking gas, but maybe electric. If gas, what would be the best option for venting?
               
              We do already have gas heat, although it's not set up properly and we've been using electric space heaters in kitchen and bedroom and leaving the rest of the house cold. The gas source is just outside the chimney.
               
              Also, I'd love to receive recommendations of someone to integrate the gas with our new AC system, which wasn't done for some reason. Or are we better off not using the gas for heating the house?
               
              Any (inexpensive) suggestions would be appreciated.
              Andrea


            • Gary Beck
              $500 dollar 3 Day FirePlace Make-Over: Day 1 - Friday - Planning Enjoy red wine and cheese while you check Craigslist for a Chimea and for a used 26 to 36 or
              Message 6 of 12 , Feb 8, 2010
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              $500 dollar 3 Day FirePlace Make-Over:

               

              Day 1 - Friday - Planning

              Enjoy red wine and cheese while you check Craigslist for a Chimea and for a used 26 to 36" or LCD TV.  The red wine is necessary to help you make good impulse purchasing decisions.

               

              Day 2 - Saturday - The Work Day

              Early on Saturday morning get a small strong coffee (see attached) from StarBucks and go buy the Chimea and the used LCD TV before anyone else gets them.

              On Saturday afternoon close your flue. Add a plywood insert with a gasket to improve sealing the chimney.  

              Hang a little sign from the plywood that say 'Remove This Before Burning Anything Here'

              Then set up LCD TV inside in the fireplace with a hidden DVD player. Get a DVD with a variety of fireplace videos.

              While you watch the videos go online on your phone and find a better electricity provider with a lower rate.

              Use the savings each month to buy some caulk and re caulk your windows.

              Before you start caulking stack the wood outside next to the Chimea.

               

              Day 3 -Sunday - Relax and Reflect

              Burn the wood in your new Chimea while you enjoy more red wine and cheese and check Craigslist for more impulse purchases.

               

              Gary Beck

              Eco-Holdings Engineering Services

              4010 Blue Bonnet Blvd. Ste 114

              Houston, Texas 77025

              Tel: 713-377-4209  Fax: 832-201-5338

               

              SECB certified in the Practice of Structural Engineering, a structural inspector for the Texas Residential Construction Commission SIRP program, and a listed Engineer for the Texas Department of Insurance Wind Storm program. Member ASCE, SECB, USGBC, GHBA, NAHB, and ASHRAE. Eco provides Engineering and Engineer's Inspection Services for Residential, Commercial, Lodging, Educational, Industrial and Government Facilities. Eco's design engineering services include AutoCAD based construction documents for permitting and building foundations, structures, storm water systems, and detention ponds; and Autodesk Revit based 3D Building Information Modeling for green building practices.

               

               

               

               

              From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Andrea Wisner
              Sent: Monday, February 08, 2010 11:25 AM
              To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [hreg] retrofitting fireplace to make energy-efficient?

               

               

              It's regular masonry but with a gas line going into it. It's standard size and shape, but there's an overhang at the top which keeps heat from escaping from the fireplace. We've used wood a couple times and you can sit right in front of it and barely feel anything. Also, a friend volunteered to cover the fireplace with some spare marble tiles he had, so it looks great but I think if we do anything with the fireplace we're going to end up cutting into the marble.

               

              I did find out that there are certain fireplace inserts which qualify for the 30% energy efficiency tax credit, but what I've seen so far is $1500 minimum cost just for a unit (not sure if it's even tax credit qualified), and around $2500 seems pretty common. A kit would be great! I need to keep looking.

               

              Your question about water near the fireplace  - a "heat sink" - is a good one. I was planning to ask questions on the issue someday. I think black stone is supposed to be a good heat sink. Also, the electric "radiator" space heaters use some kind of oil. I suppose water loses heat pretty fast.

               

              Any input from the experts on heat sinks would be great! I'd like to know how to take advantage of our south-facing picture window in the winter. A list of useable materials would be great.

               

              Andrea

              --- On Sun, 2/7/10, William & Cynthia Stange <stangfam@...> wrote:


              From: William & Cynthia Stange <stangfam@...>
              Subject: Re: [hreg] retrofitting fireplace to make energy-efficient?
              To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Sunday, February 7, 2010, 11:07 PM

               

              Is it a regular masonry FP or one of those gas log things? When I lived in Portland OR. they used fireplace inserts, kind of like a pot-bellied stove but built into a FP opening. Alot of people then used a cooling thermostat and an inline exhaust fan to suck out some of the hot (and I mean hot) air and pump it to the bedroom areas or wherever was needed via an AC duct in the ceiling. Another device was the same cooling therm and fan in a room with windows that faced south and dark tile floor/wall. The passive heat build up on sunnier days could be moved around the house as well. Take some pics so we can see the situation, there's always a way to pester something.

               On a side note, the oak from Ike that I stacked last year came in pretty handy this winter. Got a little needed exersize as well splitting it. Burns hot and relatively clean as fire wood goes. I wonder if  large tanks of water near a hot FP could hold the heat for awhile??? Hmmm. Anybody?

               Bill

               


              From: Andrea Wisner <amwisner@yahoo. com>
              To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
              Sent: Sun, February 7, 2010 8:43:37 PM
              Subject: [hreg] retrofitting fireplace to make energy-efficient?

               

              We have realized this winter that the fireplace in our house has no function except to suck all the heat in house out the chimney. Rather than sealing it off, is there an inexpensive do-it-yourself option to turn it into a space-heater of sorts? I'm thinking gas, but maybe electric. If gas, what would be the best option for venting?

               

              We do already have gas heat, although it's not set up properly and we've been using electric space heaters in kitchen and bedroom and leaving the rest of the house cold. The gas source is just outside the chimney.

               

              Also, I'd love to receive recommendations of someone to integrate the gas with our new AC system, which wasn't done for some reason. Or are we better off not using the gas for heating the house?

               

              Any (inexpensive) suggestions would be appreciated.

              Andrea

               

            • Andrea Wisner
              Been there, done that except I didn t know what a chimea was, I think LCD is a little expensive right now (and I don t watch tv), I don t drink wine and I
              Message 7 of 12 , Feb 9, 2010
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                Been there, done that except I didn't know what a chimea was, I think LCD is a little expensive right now (and I don't watch tv), I don't drink wine and I don't impulse shop. Anyway, my husband is a contractor (everything but gas/electrical), my father is an electrical engineer, my daughter is in her 4th year of civil engineering study and I am brilliant, creative and driven, so we'll think of something.
                 
                Not everyone has money to spend on things that take over 5 years to pay for themselves.
                 
                If you know of a local fireplace insert dealer (preferably not located in a high-rent area), please let me know.
                 
                Thanks.
                 
                Andrea

                --- On Mon, 2/8/10, Gary Beck <eco@...> wrote:

                From: Gary Beck <eco@...>
                Subject: RE: [hreg] retrofitting fireplace to make energy-efficient? [2 Attachments]
                To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Monday, February 8, 2010, 11:24 PM

                 

                $500 dollar 3 Day FirePlace Make-Over:

                 

                Day 1 - Friday - Planning

                Enjoy red wine and cheese while you check Craigslist for a Chimea and for a used 26 to 36" or LCD TV.  The red wine is necessary to help you make good impulse purchasing decisions.

                 

                Day 2 - Saturday - The Work Day

                Early on Saturday morning get a small strong coffee (see attached) from StarBucks and go buy the Chimea and the used LCD TV before anyone else gets them.

                On Saturday afternoon close your flue. Add a plywood insert with a gasket to improve sealing the chimney.  

                Hang a little sign from the plywood that say 'Remove This Before Burning Anything Here'

                Then set up LCD TV inside in the fireplace with a hidden DVD player. Get a DVD with a variety of fireplace videos.

                While you watch the videos go online on your phone and find a better electricity provider with a lower rate.

                Use the savings each month to buy some caulk and re caulk your windows.

                Before you start caulking stack the wood outside next to the Chimea.

                 

                Day 3 -Sunday - Relax and Reflect

                Burn the wood in your new Chimea while you enjoy more red wine and cheese and check Craigslist for more impulse purchases.

                 

                Gary Beck

                Eco-Holdings Engineering Services

                4010 Blue Bonnet Blvd. Ste 114

                Houston, Texas 77025

                Tel: 713-377-4209  Fax: 832-201-5338

                 

                SECB certified in the Practice of Structural Engineering, a structural inspector for the Texas Residential Construction Commission SIRP program, and a listed Engineer for the Texas Department of Insurance Wind Storm program. Member ASCE, SECB, USGBC, GHBA, NAHB, and ASHRAE. Eco provides Engineering and Engineer's Inspection Services for Residential, Commercial, Lodging, Educational, Industrial and Government Facilities. Eco's design engineering services include AutoCAD based construction documents for permitting and building foundations, structures, storm water systems, and detention ponds; and Autodesk Revit based 3D Building Information Modeling for green building practices.

                 

                 

                 

                 

                From: hreg@yahoogroups. com [mailto:hreg@ yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of Andrea Wisner
                Sent: Monday, February 08, 2010 11:25 AM
                To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                Subject: Re: [hreg] retrofitting fireplace to make energy-efficient?

                 

                 

                 

                I did find out that there are certain fireplace inserts which qualify for the 30% energy efficiency tax credit, but what I've seen so far is $1500 minimum cost just for a unit (not sure if it's even tax credit qualified), and around $2500 seems pretty common. A kit would be great! I need to keep looking.

                 

                Your question about water near the fireplace  - a "heat sink" - is a good one. I was planning to ask questions on the issue someday. I think black stone is supposed to be a good heat sink. Also, the electric "radiator" space heaters use some kind of oil. I suppose water loses heat pretty fast.

                 

                Any input from the experts on heat sinks would be great! I'd like to know how to take advantage of our south-facing picture window in the winter. A list of useable materials would be great.

                 

                Andrea

                --- On Sun, 2/7/10, William & Cynthia Stange <stangfam@swbell. net> wrote:


                From: William & Cynthia Stange <stangfam@swbell. net>
                Subject: Re: [hreg] retrofitting fireplace to make energy-efficient?
                To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                Date: Sunday, February 7, 2010, 11:07 PM

                 

                Is it a regular masonry FP or one of those gas log things? When I lived in Portland OR. they used fireplace inserts, kind of like a pot-bellied stove but built into a FP opening. Alot of people then used a cooling thermostat and an inline exhaust fan to suck out some of the hot (and I mean hot) air and pump it to the bedroom areas or wherever was needed via an AC duct in the ceiling. Another device was the same cooling therm and fan in a room with windows that faced south and dark tile floor/wall. The passive heat build up on sunnier days could be moved around the house as well. Take some pics so we can see the situation, there's always a way to pester something.

                 On a side note, the oak from Ike that I stacked last year came in pretty handy this winter. Got a little needed exersize as well splitting it. Burns hot and relatively clean as fire wood goes. I wonder if  large tanks of water near a hot FP could hold the heat for awhile??? Hmmm. Anybody?

                 Bill

                 


                From: Andrea Wisner <amwisner@yahoo. com>
                To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                Sent: Sun, February 7, 2010 8:43:37 PM
                Subject: [hreg] retrofitting fireplace to make energy-efficient?

                 

                It's regular masonry but with a gas line going into it. It's standard size and shape, but there's an overhang at the top which keeps heat from escaping from the fireplace. We've used wood a couple times and you can sit right in front of it and barely feel anything. Also, a friend volunteered to cover the fireplace with some spare marble tiles he had, so it looks great but I think if we do anything with the fireplace we're going to end up cutting into the marble.

                 

                We do already have gas heat, although it's not set up properly and we've been using electric space heaters in kitchen and bedroom and leaving the rest of the house cold. The gas source is just outside the chimney.

                 

                Also, I'd love to receive recommendations of someone to integrate the gas with our new AC system, which wasn't done for some reason. Or are we better off not using the gas for heating the house?

                 

                Any (inexpensive) suggestions would be appreciated.

                Andrea

                We have realized this winter that the fireplace in our house has no function except to suck all the heat in house out the chimney. Rather than sealing it off, is there an inexpensive do-it-yourself option to turn it into a space-heater of sorts? I'm thinking gas, but maybe electric. If gas, what would be the best option for venting?

                 


              • Stephanie Edwards-Musa
                I would think that having any opening would still cause air loss regardless of season....which is why there are many new homes that do not have fireplaces to
                Message 8 of 12 , Feb 9, 2010
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                  I would think that having any opening would still cause air loss regardless of season....which is why there are many new homes that do not have fireplaces to begin with.
                   
                  Even switching to gas it would still have to vent which would be an opening.  There are faux fireplaces that you can put in to an existing opening after you seal it off.
                   
                  I know that Green Builders Source on the north side of town has them.

                  Stephanie Edwards-Musa
                  Realtor, Certified EcoBroker
                  Mobile:  281-635-9444
                  Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors
                  www.TurningHoustonGreen.com
                  Steph@...


                  On Sun, Feb 7, 2010 at 8:43 PM, Andrea Wisner <amwisner@...> wrote:
                   

                  We have realized this winter that the fireplace in our house has no function except to suck all the heat in house out the chimney. Rather than sealing it off, is there an inexpensive do-it-yourself option to turn it into a space-heater of sorts? I'm thinking gas, but maybe electric. If gas, what would be the best option for venting?
                   
                  We do already have gas heat, although it's not set up properly and we've been using electric space heaters in kitchen and bedroom and leaving the rest of the house cold. The gas source is just outside the chimney.
                   
                  Also, I'd love to receive recommendations of someone to integrate the gas with our new AC system, which wasn't done for some reason. Or are we better off not using the gas for heating the house?
                   
                  Any (inexpensive) suggestions would be appreciated.
                  Andrea


                • Stephanie Edwards-Musa
                  Decided to add one more thing. I missed the part as to why you use space heaters around the house..and it sounds as though you guys understand how efficiency
                  Message 9 of 12 , Feb 9, 2010
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                    Decided to add one more thing.  I missed the part as to why you use space heaters around the house..and it sounds as though you guys understand how efficiency works - But if you have an older home - not brand new or energy star rated - then freelightingcorp.com will come out and weather strip, caulk and seal some things at no cost to you.
                     
                    They will also look at your fireplace to see if it could be sealed to reduce air loss - all after performing a blower door test. 
                     
                    Check out their site to see if their service would work for you.  They do have some, very few, restrictions on what homes they can test.

                    Stephanie Edwards-Musa
                    Realtor, Certified EcoBroker
                    Mobile:  281-635-9444
                    Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors
                    www.TurningHoustonGreen.com
                    Steph@...


                    On Tue, Feb 9, 2010 at 12:27 PM, Stephanie Edwards-Musa <steph@...> wrote:
                    I would think that having any opening would still cause air loss regardless of season....which is why there are many new homes that do not have fireplaces to begin with.
                     
                    Even switching to gas it would still have to vent which would be an opening.  There are faux fireplaces that you can put in to an existing opening after you seal it off.
                     
                    I know that Green Builders Source on the north side of town has them.

                    Stephanie Edwards-Musa
                    Realtor, Certified EcoBroker
                    Mobile:  281-635-9444
                    Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors
                    www.TurningHoustonGreen.com
                    Steph@...


                    On Sun, Feb 7, 2010 at 8:43 PM, Andrea Wisner <amwisner@...> wrote:
                     

                    We have realized this winter that the fireplace in our house has no function except to suck all the heat in house out the chimney. Rather than sealing it off, is there an inexpensive do-it-yourself option to turn it into a space-heater of sorts? I'm thinking gas, but maybe electric. If gas, what would be the best option for venting?
                     
                    We do already have gas heat, although it's not set up properly and we've been using electric space heaters in kitchen and bedroom and leaving the rest of the house cold. The gas source is just outside the chimney.
                     
                    Also, I'd love to receive recommendations of someone to integrate the gas with our new AC system, which wasn't done for some reason. Or are we better off not using the gas for heating the house?
                     
                    Any (inexpensive) suggestions would be appreciated.
                    Andrea



                  • Andrea Wisner
                    Thanks! I hadn t found those sites, and the second one has a good possibility at around $1000, 75% efficient wood burner.   I forgot to mention that I had
                    Message 10 of 12 , Feb 9, 2010
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                      Thanks! I hadn't found those sites, and the second one has a good possibility at around $1000, 75% efficient wood burner.
                       
                      I forgot to mention that I had read that the only inserts/wood stoves that qualify for the tax credit are pellet burning and wood burning. I was surprised at the latter. Why wood and not gas?
                       
                      Andrea

                      --- On Mon, 2/8/10, William & Cynthia Stange <stangfam@...> wrote:

                      From: William & Cynthia Stange <stangfam@...>
                      Subject: Re: [hreg] retrofitting fireplace to make energy-efficient?
                      To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                      Date: Monday, February 8, 2010, 7:17 PM

                       
                      It seemed to me there was a fireplace burn rack that was tubular and in the shape of the letter "C". In that air would circulate in at the bottom and expell out the top without any smoke. Any heavy metal (cast iron, steel ) should hold some heat for awhile. Copper heats quickly and radiates heat well, it just does not store it for long. When not using your fireplace do you shut the damper to keep homr heat in? I would seem  a way to stop drafts when ALL coals are out is to cover the opening/seal it.
                       Some of these sites you may have already been to


                      From: Andrea Wisner <amwisner@yahoo. com>
                      To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                      Sent: Mon, February 8, 2010 11:24:57 AM
                      Subject: Re: [hreg] retrofitting fireplace to make energy-efficient?

                       
                      It's regular masonry but with a gas line going into it. It's standard size and shape, but there's an overhang at the top which keeps heat from escaping from the fireplace. We've used wood a couple times and you can sit right in front of it and barely feel anything. Also, a friend volunteered to cover the fireplace with some spare marble tiles he had, so it looks great but I think if we do anything with the fireplace we're going to end up cutting into the marble.
                       
                      I did find out that there are certain fireplace inserts which qualify for the 30% energy efficiency tax credit, but what I've seen so far is $1500 minimum cost just for a unit (not sure if it's even tax credit qualified), and around $2500 seems pretty common. A kit would be great! I need to keep looking.
                       
                      Your question about water near the fireplace  - a "heat sink" - is a good one. I was planning to ask questions on the issue someday. I think black stone is supposed to be a good heat sink. Also, the electric "radiator" space heaters use some kind of oil. I suppose water loses heat pretty fast.
                       
                      Any input from the experts on heat sinks would be great! I'd like to know how to take advantage of our south-facing picture window in the winter. A list of useable materials would be great.
                       
                      Andrea

                      --- On Sun, 2/7/10, William & Cynthia Stange <stangfam@swbell. net> wrote:

                      From: William & Cynthia Stange <stangfam@swbell. net>
                      Subject: Re: [hreg] retrofitting fireplace to make energy-efficient?
                      To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                      Date: Sunday, February 7, 2010, 11:07 PM

                       
                      Is it a regular masonry FP or one of those gas log things? When I lived in Portland OR. they used fireplace inserts, kind of like a pot-bellied stove but built into a FP opening. Alot of people then used a cooling thermostat and an inline exhaust fan to suck out some of the hot (and I mean hot) air and pump it to the bedroom areas or wherever was needed via an AC duct in the ceiling. Another device was the same cooling therm and fan in a room with windows that faced south and dark tile floor/wall. The passive heat build up on sunnier days could be moved around the house as well. Take some pics so we can see the situation, there's always a way to pester something.
                       On a side note, the oak from Ike that I stacked last year came in pretty handy this winter. Got a little needed exersize as well splitting it. Burns hot and relatively clean as fire wood goes. I wonder if  large tanks of water near a hot FP could hold the heat for awhile??? Hmmm. Anybody?
                       Bill


                      From: Andrea Wisner <amwisner@yahoo. com>
                      To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                      Sent: Sun, February 7, 2010 8:43:37 PM
                      Subject: [hreg] retrofitting fireplace to make energy-efficient?

                       
                      We have realized this winter that the fireplace in our house has no function except to suck all the heat in house out the chimney. Rather than sealing it off, is there an inexpensive do-it-yourself option to turn it into a space-heater of sorts? I'm thinking gas, but maybe electric. If gas, what would be the best option for venting?
                       
                      We do already have gas heat, although it's not set up properly and we've been using electric space heaters in kitchen and bedroom and leaving the rest of the house cold. The gas source is just outside the chimney.
                       
                      Also, I'd love to receive recommendations of someone to integrate the gas with our new AC system, which wasn't done for some reason. Or are we better off not using the gas for heating the house?
                       
                      Any (inexpensive) suggestions would be appreciated.
                      Andrea



                    • Andrea Wisner
                      There are faux fireplaces that you can put in to an existing opening after you seal it off. - I actually like that option, although we still need to
                      Message 11 of 12 , Feb 9, 2010
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                        "There are faux fireplaces that you can put in to an existing opening after you seal it off." - I actually like that option, although we still need to determine how we're going to heat this house since the gas is not hooked up and we can't depend on space heaters forever (and I'm a bit "cold-blooded").

                        --- On Tue, 2/9/10, Stephanie Edwards-Musa <steph@...> wrote:

                        From: Stephanie Edwards-Musa <steph@...>
                        Subject: Re: [hreg] retrofitting fireplace to make energy-efficient?
                        To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                        Date: Tuesday, February 9, 2010, 1:27 PM

                         
                        I would think that having any opening would still cause air loss regardless of season....which is why there are many new homes that do not have fireplaces to begin with.
                         
                        Even switching to gas it would still have to vent which would be an opening.  There are faux fireplaces that you can put in to an existing opening after you seal it off.
                         
                        I know that Green Builders Source on the north side of town has them.

                        Stephanie Edwards-Musa
                        Realtor, Certified EcoBroker
                        Mobile:  281-635-9444
                        Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors
                        www.TurningHoustonG reen.com
                        Steph@TurningHousto nGreen.com


                        On Sun, Feb 7, 2010 at 8:43 PM, Andrea Wisner <amwisner@yahoo. com> wrote:
                         
                        We have realized this winter that the fireplace in our house has no function except to suck all the heat in house out the chimney. Rather than sealing it off, is there an inexpensive do-it-yourself option to turn it into a space-heater of sorts? I'm thinking gas, but maybe electric. If gas, what would be the best option for venting?
                         
                        We do already have gas heat, although it's not set up properly and we've been using electric space heaters in kitchen and bedroom and leaving the rest of the house cold. The gas source is just outside the chimney.
                         
                        Also, I'd love to receive recommendations of someone to integrate the gas with our new AC system, which wasn't done for some reason. Or are we better off not using the gas for heating the house?
                         
                        Any (inexpensive) suggestions would be appreciated.
                        Andrea



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