Fireplaces Reader Mailbag

Fireplace-Related Reader Questions

Installing in a Mobile Home
Fireplace Inserts
Mexican Fireplaces
TV above the Fireplace
In need of a Damper Spacer
Fireplace Fenders
Replacing Firebricks
Searching for a "Match" Lighter
Quote for a Rear Refractor
Flue Assemblies
Information on Dampers
Burning Amber Effect
Floor-to-Ceiling Fireplace
Fireplace in the Basement
Price of a New Insert
Searching for a 'Heatalator'
Crystals Instead of Logs
Missing Damper Handle

Installing in a Mobile Home

Question:
I am looking to install a wood fireplace in my mobile home. Where should I begin my search?
-Hildur

Answer:
First of all, check with the company that made your mobile home to make sure it's safe and legal to have a fireplace inside. If all is clear, approach a wood-burning stove store that is 'wet certified' to install it. Check out a variety of available companies by clicking on Product Directory.

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Fireplace Inserts

Question:
I am looking for large, wood-fired fireplace inserts. Do you know where I could find them?
-Linda

Answer :
Do an Internet search, and try Regency Wood Stoves at www.regency-fire.com or Vermont Castings at www.vermontcastings.com. Click on Product Directory to help you in your search for the right company.

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Mexican Fireplaces

Question:
I'm looking for a Mexican fireplace that resembles an igloo to put in a corner of my stone home. Any suggestions?
-Marijane

Answer:
Browse the Internet, check out eBay, and call around to local fireplace manufacturers. Have a look at our Outdoor Fireplaces page for more great ideas.

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TV above the Fireplace

Question:
I am building a new house and would like to put a TV above the gas fireplace. I've seen this in model homes, but understand there are pros and cons. Could the mantel get hot enough to cause damage to the TV? Perhaps I could add a stone or marble ledge... Any ideas?
-Bill

Answer:
Yes, the hot air that comes out of the top of the fireplace grill could harm your TV. First off, make sure your TV doesn't hang over the edge. As a rule of thumb, however far the ledge overhangs, double this number for how thick the mantle should be. For example, if the ledge sticks out 2", then the mantle should be 4" thick. Different materials absorb different levels of heat, so a stone or marble mantel would make a difference.

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In need of a Damper Spacer

Question:
We just had a home inspection that revealed our fireplace needs a damper spacer. Can this just be added on? Where can I get the proper hardware?
-John 

Answer:
Yes, a damper spacer can be added on. If you're dealing with a wood stove, try Selkirk Chimneys at www.selkirkusa.com in the U.S.A. or www.selkirkcanada.com in Canada . The hardware will come with the package.

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Fireplace Fenders

Question:
I am searching for a fireplace fender that is about 4-6" high with decorative horizontal brass bars or rods across the front and with a 'return' about 12-18" deep. Do you know where I could find such a thing?
-Jill

Answer:
Check out your local wood stove or gas fireplace store, or track down a custom-fitted masonry dealer. Check out our Traditional Fireplaces page for more information on wood-burning fireplaces.

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Replacing Firebricks

Question :
We're looking to replace our firebricks. Can you advise us on how to go about doing this?
-Chuck

Answer:
It's tough to answer your question without knowing if you have a wood or a gas fireplace. Either way, your first step would be to look up the serial number, then approach a store that sells that model. It's important to replace your bricks with the same bricks that the manufacturer originally installed. For a list of manufacturers, click on Product Directory.

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Searching for a "Match" Lighter

Question:
Are you familiar with a hand-held electric igniter that resembles a large matchstick? I purchased one a while ago from a fireplace store that is no longer in business, and don't know where else to get one. Any thoughts?
-Bill

Answer:
You can check any novelty store for these lighters, or you can use a BBQ lighter. These are available at any BBQ dealer and gas stove appliance dealers. For more gadgets and gizmos, check out our Fireplace Accessories page.

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Quote for a Rear Refractor

Question:
Could you tell me how much it will cost to repair a rear refractor wall in my fireplace?
- Tracy

Answer:
The cost depends on a few things, such as the size of your brick. Different fireplaces have different sized bricks. The best thing to do would be to take the serial and model numbers to your local dealer for this product. I estimate that it'll cost you around $30 to $80.

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Flue Assemblies

Question:
I am looking for complete flue assemblies of various designs and sizes for masonry fireplaces. Do you have any advice?
-Tim

Answer:
Check out the Internet, and go to your local manufacturer for flue advice. For lots of contacts, click on Product Directory. Good luck!

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Information on Dampers

Question:
I understand you can get what's called a 'chimney draft stopper' to eliminate chimney drafts. Do you know how much they are and where I could get one?
-Loretta

Answer:
You're describing what's called a 'damper'. Once a damper is installed, you can close it to stop the draft from sneaking through the chimney. You're looking at around $20 from any fireplace store. For more handy information, check out our Fireplace Accessories page.

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Burning Amber Effect

Question:
I am installing an electric fireplace. I have a friend with a gas fireplace that has what looks like little pieces of chopped wood scattered around the bottom. What is this material, and can I put it in my faux fireplace?
-Christi

Answer:
This 'chopped wood' is actually ceramic fiber that looks just like red cinders when in a gas stove. Unfortunately, you cannot put them in your electric fireplace because they simply will not work – they are for gas stoves only. To learn more about accessories, check out our Fireplace Accessories page.

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Floor-to-Ceiling Fireplace

Question:
I am building a cottage and would like to know more about stone fireplaces. The room I'm thinking of has a cathedral ceiling and windows on both sides of where the floor-to-ceiling fireplace would go. What are my options? Thanks.
-Mark

Answer:
You should consider a zero clearance gas fireplace, which can be installed anywhere on the wall or even in the centre of a room. Check out Vermont Castings at www.vermontcastings.com or Majestic Fireplaces at www.majesticfireplaces.com. Be sure to get a direct vent fireplace so you use outside instead of inside air. Check out our Wood Stove Installation page for more tips on placement and other things to consider.

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Fireplace in the Basement

Question:
I live in Queens and would like to install a stove/fireplace and perhaps a chimney in my basement. I am more concerned with the price than what it looks like. First, can I have a wood-burning unit in the city? If so, what would you suggest for me?
-Mamnoon

Answer:
First of all, check with the city to make sure you're allowed to install such a stove in your basement. If yes, then buy a gas fireplace. This way there is no mess, no wood to store, no bugs, and you will get instant heat with the flick of a switch. Because of the limited space, have a look at our Fireplace Safety page.

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Price of a New Insert

Question:
We have a wood-burning fireplace with a gas starter and a blower. How much would it cost to buy a new insert, so less heat goes out the chimney?
-Tammy

Answer:
For a new insert, you're looking at around $2,000 to $2,500 for the product and installation, plus taxes. The price depends on what trim package you have. To conserve heat, make sure you have a liner down your chimney with a cap on top so no bad weather can get in, and warmth can't get out. Your unit should also have ceramic glass to radiate heat out with a fan.

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Searching for a 'Heatalator'

Question:
I'm looking for a product I haven't seen for years called a 'Heatalator'. It was a grate made out of hollow, U-shaped tubes that pushed heat into a room. I've checked everywhere I can think of, but it seems they're off the market. Any ideas?
-Anonymous

Answer:
If I understand correctly, you're looking for a gas fireplace that heats the room through ductwork. A good place to start your search would be with Majestic Fireplaces at www.majesticfireplaces.com. Consider other companies as well by clicking on our Product Directory page.

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Crystals Instead of Logs

Question:
I am looking for the clear crystals that you can use in your fireplace rather than logs. Do you have any information on this product? Thank you.
-Sherry

Answer:
I am not familiar with these crystals you're describing. Do you mean a pan burner? Search the web for a manufacturer, and see if this is the direction you're looking for. For more information on accessories, check out Fireplace Accessories.

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Missing Damper Handle

Question:
I recently installed a gas fireplace that calls for full damper opening when in use. The problem is that the handle to open and close the damper is missing! Any idea if this part is available?
-George

Answer:
Check out your local wood-burning stove store for a handle or a new damper. However, with your cosmetic gas fireplace, you're burning gas that's going straight out the chimney and you're losing heat fast. My suggestion is to get a gas insert, which will stop the heat loss and provide relaxing warmth and comfort. Check out our Fireplace Accessories page for more bits and pieces on accessories.

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