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Old 02-20-2018, 08:32 AM   #1
bigdog
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Default Gas Fireplace ?

I plan to build a house the Spring and sorting through the possible options I plan to have installed.
One item I am considering, is a gas log fireplace. The gas log fireplace will have a 'blower' attached.
What do folks thing of this setup ? How expensive would this be to run throughout the winter ?

FYI, the entire house will be setup with propane gas heat, as the main source of heat, as such I will be joining a gas Co-Op, to curb pricing.
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Old 02-20-2018, 09:37 AM   #2
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My father has a natural gas fireplace. It looks nice, and heats fairly well, but the blower can sometimes be loud. Were I searching, blower speeds/sounds would be one of the things I'd be using to make my decision. Godspeed!

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Old 02-20-2018, 10:36 AM   #3
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Default Go to Energy Savers...

In Meredith. Ben is very knowledgeable and set me up with a free-standing gas fireplace with blower that does a nice job of supplemental heating.
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Old 02-20-2018, 11:55 AM   #4
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We use a gas log chimney insert with a blower generally and like it and it also serves as a back up to the main propane furnace (which requires electricity to operate) when the electric power is out. Although the blower will not work when the electric power is out, the gas logs still provide sufficient heat to help keep the house warm. We have not opted to have a back-up generator, although might consider that in the future.
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Old 02-20-2018, 12:24 PM   #5
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Be sure to have the gas fireplace vented to the outside. In general, venting such a device inside is not a good idea. Here is a good read on the subject: http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/...long-your-home.

I have to question the thought that you might have the thing running for a good part of the winter (the worry about expense suggests this). In general, any fireplace is not a great way to provide heat to a house. They are more for decorative purposes. If you are concerned about comfort and cost through a NE winter, you should be thinking about making the house superinsulated and tight.
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Old 02-20-2018, 01:19 PM   #6
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Default Gas logs & gas fireplace

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdog View Post
I plan to build a house the Spring and sorting through the possible options I plan to have installed.
One item I am considering, is a gas log fireplace. The gas log fireplace will have a 'blower' attached.
What do folks thing of this setup ? How expensive would this be to run throughout the winter ?

FYI, the entire house will be setup with propane gas heat, as the main source of heat, as such I will be joining a gas Co-Op, to curb pricing.
We have both gas logs and enclosed gas fireplaces in our primary home and at the lake. Gas logs give a very realistic "wood fire" look. Depending on local laws, you can have them either "open" with no glass doors or with glass doors. If you are converting a wood-burning fireplace, the damper will need to be either completely removed or bolted open, (which is why having the glass doors is a good idea)

The enclosed gas fireplace can be with or without the blower. We have one of each and we rarely, (never), use the blower. We find it to be rather loud and annoying. Whether you go with gas logs or enclosed gas fireplace, I would highly recommend a remote...makes starting and shutting it off effortless. I would not count on the gas logs or fireplace as a heating source...they are great for ambience and taking the chill off a room, but that is about it.
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Old 02-20-2018, 03:05 PM   #7
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My assessment of those is all looks, not really going to give you any meaningful heat, so as long as you're not expecting it to be a significant source of alternative heating and as already said just want the ambiance it's a good choice. If your looking for a serious heat source you might end up disappointed.

A free standing cast iron vented gas stove may be a good option for you. There are a number of very attractive options available.
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Old 02-20-2018, 03:19 PM   #8
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IMHO...

I would make sure its a direct vent design, with an electronic ignition. (no pilot light). Some of the electronic ignitions come with a battery backup... get it!

After that is just making sure it's the style & look you want...

On another note.... look into the propane generator now. Its far cheaper to pour the mounting pad and wire it all up while the house is being built than to add it in later.

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Old 02-20-2018, 05:32 PM   #9
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One reason fireplaces are poor for heating is that chimneys get built on the end of the house, open to cold air. It can take hours to heat the chimney enough to put any heat back into the house. Hence our NE ancestors building the center chimney style house. Same applies to fireplaces that are open on two sides. No reflected heat and no brick back wall to absorb and regenerate heat.
MAXUM is right. For heat, consider a gas fired cast iron stove. Look into venting both exhaust and fresh air intake. If you really want a fireplace, a shallow "Count Rumford" design works well.
If you just want visual effect, I think there are some nice screen savers available.

Yes, get the standby generator now. Site selection is more important than ever if you think you might want to have solar panels, but don't like the look on the front of the house.
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Old 02-21-2018, 08:38 AM   #10
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Default Gas logs

By all means if you plan to have gas logs, have the plumbing and electricity done now! It cost over a thousand dollars to convert my old fireplace.
I have NG and absolutely love the gas logs for aesthetic only. I have a condensing boiler for hot water and backup heat. The Mitsubishi split system handles the rest.

Since I only use the logs sparingly and in low settings, I have the ventless with no problems. The blower is loud so I do not use it.

I used the blower once as backup during a long power outage. The deep cycle battery from the boat with a portable inverter surprisingly gave off enough electricity to keep the house warm.
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Old 12-20-2018, 02:51 PM   #11
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Default Service/Repair for Propane fireplace?

Seems like a good thread to ask this question: Can anyone recommend a good gas/propane fireplace service/repair person? We have a small Mendota (model: Chelsea) propane fireplace (with logs) that does a GREAT job of heating the small room it's located in. However, it recently stopped lighting. The pilot light (constant on) remains lit, but neither the manual switch nor the remote will turn on the flame. I've read up on all the usual possibilities (thermopile, thermocouple, faulty wiring, etc.), but the inner workings of this model seem too tucked in for me to consider fiddling around with anything. We purchased it from Fireside Living in Laconia, but their service person seems stretched too thin (covers 3 stores, they tell me), and has not even called us back yet to schedule an appointment. So...I'm looking for alternatives. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 12-21-2018, 06:53 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Overlake97 View Post
Seems like a good thread to ask this question: Can anyone recommend a good gas/propane fireplace service/repair person? We have a small Mendota (model: Chelsea) propane fireplace (with logs) that does a GREAT job of heating the small room it's located in. However, it recently stopped lighting. The pilot light (constant on) remains lit, but neither the manual switch nor the remote will turn on the flame. I've read up on all the usual possibilities (thermopile, thermocouple, faulty wiring, etc.), but the inner workings of this model seem too tucked in for me to consider fiddling around with anything. We purchased it from Fireside Living in Laconia, but their service person seems stretched too thin (covers 3 stores, they tell me), and has not even called us back yet to schedule an appointment. So...I'm looking for alternatives. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
If it stays lit it's not the thermocoupling. Replace the batteries in the remote and the ones in the receiver. I bet it will work then.
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Old 12-21-2018, 11:46 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Overlake97 View Post
Seems like a good thread to ask this question: Can anyone recommend a good gas/propane fireplace service/repair person? We have a small Mendota (model: Chelsea) propane fireplace (with logs) that does a GREAT job of heating the small room it's located in. However, it recently stopped lighting. The pilot light (constant on) remains lit, but neither the manual switch nor the remote will turn on the flame. I've read up on all the usual possibilities (thermopile, thermocouple, faulty wiring, etc.), but the inner workings of this model seem too tucked in for me to consider fiddling around with anything. We purchased it from Fireside Living in Laconia, but their service person seems stretched too thin (covers 3 stores, they tell me), and has not even called us back yet to schedule an appointment. So...I'm looking for alternatives. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Another little trick that I've used over the years....get a Q tip and some rubbing alcohol and clean the thermocoupling and thermopile...they get covered in soot from the pilot flame and cause it to shut down.
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Old 12-21-2018, 05:36 PM   #14
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Try this:

Cycle the gas valve knob back and forth through "off", "on" and "pilot" a few times.

Then use the manual switch.
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Old 12-21-2018, 06:15 PM   #15
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Default Gas fireplace yes - watch for spiders

I had a full-size gas fireplace insert installed in my parents' 2-story year-round home in upstate NY years ago when my dad got too old to haul logs inside. Primarily it was for emergency backup heat when the electricity went out, they had some long outages. It works well and produces a lot of heat even with the electricity/blower not working, enough to keep the core of the house around 60 in winter with power out. So good to enjoy and a good backup for outages.

I've looked at a lot of freestanding gas fireplaces also. If there is space and you don't mind the higher price, these probably produce even more usable heat. Noisy blowers are the most annoying part, they use cheap fans that end up rattling after awhile. Getting one with variable blower speed.

Re gas starting issues, the service guy said that if you turn off the gas in summer, spiders like to build nests in the pilot light hole so the pilot light won't ignite in fall. He recommended either leaving the pilot on all summer, or making sure you get it serviced in fall before starting. They should also be serviced at least every other year, not maintenance-free.
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Old 12-21-2018, 06:29 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SummerIslander View Post
I had a full-size gas fireplace insert installed in my parents' 2-story year-round home in upstate NY years ago when my dad got too old to haul logs inside. Primarily it was for emergency backup heat when the electricity went out, they had some long outages. It works well and produces a lot of heat even with the electricity/blower not working, enough to keep the core of the house around 60 in winter with power out. So good to enjoy and a good backup for outages.

I've looked at a lot of freestanding gas fireplaces also. If there is space and you don't mind the higher price, these probably produce even more usable heat. Noisy blowers are the most annoying part, they use cheap fans that end up rattling after awhile. Getting one with variable blower speed.

Re gas starting issues, the service guy said that if you turn off the gas in summer, spiders like to build nests in the pilot light hole so the pilot light won't ignite in fall. He recommended either leaving the pilot on all summer, or making sure you get it serviced in fall before starting. They should also be serviced at least every other year, not maintenance-free.
This post just jogged my memory from my french frying days...

The gas valve may have a vent tube which allows air to enter and exit the non-gas side of the diaphram chamber.

I doubt yours is clogged by fryer grease but a spider condo is quite possible.

I suggest:

Turn the gas valve off.
Find the small diameter vent tube which is open on one end and attached to the gas valve on the other.
Gently unscrew the vent tube from the valve. Be careful as they are soft aluminum.
Blowing through the tube may determine if it is clogged but...
A SPIDER MIGHT BITE YOUR MOUTH CAUSING DISFIGURMENT OR FATAL NECROPSY!
So instead...
Run a pipe cleaner or other small diameter object all the way through the tube to clear any obstruction.
Inspect where the tube meets the gas valve and clean there with a soft object like a Q-tip.
CAUTION: DON'T STICK ANYTHING INTO THE GAS VALVE HOLE BECAUSE YOU COULD PUNCTURE THE DIAPHRAM AND CAUSE A GAS LEAK!
Reinstall the tube.
Test operation.
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Old 12-21-2018, 07:10 PM   #17
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Last fall I tried to start mine and the pilot light wouldn't start. I kept trying for two days and finally it lit. I was just about to call somebody to fix it when it came on. Keep trying before you call someone.
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Old 12-22-2018, 01:19 PM   #18
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Default Thanks for the suggestions!

Both remote and receiver have fresh batteries (so that's not it), but I will try swabbing the thermocouple and thermopile and cycling the 'On, Off, Pilot" dial back and forth before trying the manual start button. Won't be able to get to it for a week or so, but will report back if either of those strategies worked.
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Old 12-22-2018, 04:56 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Overlake97 View Post
Both remote and receiver have fresh batteries (so that's not it), but I will try swabbing the thermocouple and thermopile and cycling the 'On, Off, Pilot" dial back and forth before trying the manual start button. Won't be able to get to it for a week or so, but will report back if either of those strategies worked.
Is the gas valve in the on position? You lite the pilot then you need to turn the gas valve to the on position. It's NOT the thermocoupling... if it was it wouldn't stay lit.
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