Q&A Federal Airtight insert in zero clearance fireplace

QandA Posted By QandA, May 23, 2002 at 2:20 PM

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  1. QandA

    New Member 2.
    Staff Member

    Nov 27, 2012

    The original owner of my house installed a Federal Airtight wood stove insert into a zero clearance fireplace. I did not realize until a couple of years after I bought the house what a disaster this was. When having the chimney swept which meant moving out the insert I discovered that a 90 degree piece of galvanized duct pipe was used to connect the stove to the outer pipe of the chimney pipe and that only the outer shell of the zero clearance fireplace was still in place. Since the winters in central Texas aren't severe I have gone several years without using it or getting it repaired.

    I have been told that the area where the zero clearance fireplace was will have to be bricked to make it fire safe for the stove to be used plus new chimney pipe installed since the pipe was damaged being used and a section fell apart when I was having it cleaned. I have searched your site and see that the older Federal Airtight products are not of the best design. The desire to use the stove would be one of creating atmosphere and to supplement the central heat during the times when Texas gets really cold or in the event of a power outage. It would not be used on any regular basis.

    Should I spend the money on all the necessary repairs to use this stove or would the money be better spent on a new zero clearance fireplace if one can be reinstalled?


    That's a difficult question to answer for me because I don't oversee your checkbook.

    Here's what is boils down------older & even many newer factory built z/c fireplaces are typically not safety listed for use with a wood or gas stove, unless it's specific gas logs or an insert that the manufacturer also makes themselves.

    Essentially, what you have is a Ford Escort that you've modified to go 4-wheeling-----not really designed for that application. And, the z/c's fireplace's flue system was designed for fireplaces, not stoves. Shoving a pipe up into the flue for a few feet is not the best way to do this.

    Here's a question that only you can answer----do you want to have a fireplace in your home, or would you rather have a quality wood stove with large glass doors to see the fire which can heat the house, or be used as a secondary source? When you decide what that answer will be, only then can you move forward.

    So, what would I do? Given today's stoves, I'd bite the budget bullet, take the darn fireplace out entirely, install a new high temperature Class A Solid Fuel Chimney System, sell the old stove and buy a new stove. Cost? Probably a few grand but then I'd have a safe system that will give me the things I desire for a long time. Here's a link to site for a solid pack chimney system I referred to earlier to give you an idea of what I mean: http://www.duravent.com/catalogs/dtech/index.htm

    Chimney info: https://www.hearth.com/what/chimney.html https://www.hearth.com/what/chimneysize.html

    Link: Dura-Vent
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