In new construction or renovation, locating a fireplace in the primary living space such as family room, living room, dining room or kitchen is most common. An open concept plan allows an efficient fireplace to provide most of the heat in the living space, creating a zoning effect. Installation inside the envelope of the home is best and ideally located on an exterior wall for simplicity in venting configuration.
Zero clearance fireplaces are used where there is no existing fireplace. Factory built fireplaces must be framed in and finished. These fireplaces are available in both wood and gas.
Inserts are used to convert existing wood burning masonry fireplaces to either wood or gas. A stainless steel liner is used for wood inserts, or 2 aluminum liners are used for gas inserts to line the existing chimney.
Zero clearance direct vent gas fireplaces & freestanding stoves use co-axial venting systems. The outer pipe brings combustion air in from outside while the inner pipe exhausts flue gases.
Direct vent gas inserts use co-linear venting systems. This system uses two separate aluminum liners which are run through the existing chimney system; one brings combustion air from outside while the other exhausts flue gases.
Zero clearance wood burning fireplaces use an insulated stainless steel chimney system. Type, size and brand of chimney is determined by the fireplace manufacturer and listed in the appliance manual.
Wood burning inserts use a stainless steel liner system which lines the existing chimney system.
Free standing wood stoves use a combination of smoke pipe and stainless steel chimney system. All wood stoves require stainless steel chimney that is tested to 2100º F. Size & brand is determined by the fireplace manufacturer and listed in the appliance manual.
All fireplace & stoves are tested and approved as a complete system with its appropriate chimney or venting system. Approved chimney & venting brands & sizes are always listed in the appliance manuals.
A permit is required for all wood burning appliance installations. Whether installing a brand new wood burning fireplace or stove, replacing an existing wood burning fireplace with a new wood burning fireplace or installing a wood insert into and existing masonry wood burning fireplace a permit is required.
Permits are not required for installation of gas burning fireplaces, stoves or inserts.
Downdrafts can be caused by any obstacle that affects airflow around the chimney. This includes trees, buildings and adjacent roof lines. Sometimes adding extra chimney to increase stack height can help to prevent downdrafts. Some specialty chimney caps can at times help to prevent downdrafts.
A form of draft is created in the house due to the difference between inside air and outside air temperatures. Warm air in the house rises as it is less dense and lighter than the outside air. The rising warm air creates pressure differences at various levels in the house. The basement or lowest level of home will be less than atmospheric pressure, upper levels will be higher than atmospheric pressure and at some point between the high and low pressure zone you will find the neutral pressure plane. This is called Stack or Chimney effect. Wood burning appliances located below the neutral pressure plane work against the low (negative) pressure and those located above the neutral pressure plane are aided by the higher (positive) pressure.
Opening a window or having a dedicated outside air connect to your wood burning appliance can possibly reverse stack effect. You might also consider a residential ventilation system or HRV system to aid in the reversing of stack effect.
Gas fireplaces, stove and inserts should receive an annual inspection and cleaning from your licensed technician. It is recommended to have the company/individual who installed the appliance perform any service or maintenance as they are familiar with your product, the installation and will have access to any potential parts that may be required.
Wood fireplaces, stoves and inserts should also be inspected annually along with at least one chimney sweep a season. A WETT certified sweep/inspector is your best resource for a thorough annual inspection and cleaning.