Zero clearance wood burning fireplace help needed

Mariner

New Member
Feb 11, 2018
2
Northern Ohio
I’m looking to build a new home this year and would like to incorporate a zero clearance wood burning fireplace, looks like there area a zillion options out there and I’m having a hard time picking one. We will be burning wood because we have a lot of it, all types and would like to use the fp for some secondary heat. On the ground floor. I’m also planning on a wood stove in the basement, tips on that also appreciated. Can you tell me what you have purchased and done and are you satisfied with the model you have? Thank you in advance .
 

Eureka

Member
Feb 4, 2018
246
NW Wisconsin
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We built a new house and put in a zero clearance fireplace but it’s my 3rd EPA stove. I chose a Kozy Heat Z42 CD, the double door model.
Heating around 3000 sq ft with it almost exclusively in ice cold northwest WI. We do burn a little propane to heat the garage floor and I have the basement floor set to 60 just so it’ll fire and stay warm a few times a week on cold nights. It isn’t necessary but a comfort thing. The fireplace is on the main floor in the 30x30 living room/entry/kitchen with 12 foot vaulted ceilings.
I cut my wood at 16” and it works best to load north to south. Had a couple weeks with temps never getting above -5 and I burned about a face cord during those times. I typically load it in the morning at 5, go to work and come home 10 hours later and will load it again. I then wait for the bed of coals to get just right then load it packed full as I can for the night. If it’s a windy or especially cold night I might wake up and load it once in the middle of the night but will have coals in the morning if I don’t. The main floor temps are between 70-80 and the basement 64-68, no propane. I have a programmable thermostat that runs the furnace fan periodically. Very cozy and sometimes windows are open.

House is ICF foundation with spray foamed rim joist and R21 fiberglass walls. R58 attic.

I’m happy with the unit and its performance. I hardly use the blowers at anything over low and the heat output is very impressive. I think the BTU rating is too conservative.. Wood use is low and my only two complaints are the door gasket adhesive at the overlap failed right away and the air wash is pretty weak. I have to run it like a foundry to keep the glass really clean with dry wood so I just clean it once a week when it’s cool enough. I just like to see the fire. I cleaned the chimney after 1 winter of steady burning and got about a half cup of gray ash. Smoke is only visible on reloads.

It’s one of the lower cost ZC units I had available but I love it and expect it to be in heavy use for many years. It’s made near me and there are a lot out there without many complaints that I could find.
 
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mminor

Member
Sep 11, 2015
141
Long Island NY
We installed the Heat and Glo Northstar with our 1st floor gut job. We like the classic arched look of the unit and it heats well. Many members have this model and enjoy it. The Quadrafire 7100 is the exact same model only larger.

Matt
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djkeev

New Member
Apr 9, 2017
62
NJ
Almost more important than "what kind of a wood stove should I get" is the fact that you are putting your main wood heat source in the basement, how will that heat get up to your living areas?

Plan ahead for this, ductwork, natural passages, heat exchange, air handlers, etc.

Dave
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
78,577
South Puget Sound, WA
I’m looking to build a new home this year and would like to incorporate a zero clearance wood burning fireplace, looks like there area a zillion options out there and I’m having a hard time picking one. We will be burning wood because we have a lot of it, all types and would like to use the fp for some secondary heat. On the ground floor. I’m also planning on a wood stove in the basement, tips on that also appreciated. Can you tell me what you have purchased and done and are you satisfied with the model you have? Thank you in advance .
Can you provide more information about the house? How many sq ft.? How many stories? Will it have high ceilings? How well insulated will it be? Where would the fireplace be located (central or stuck on one end)?
 

Mariner

New Member
Feb 11, 2018
2
Northern Ohio
Almost more important than "what kind of a wood stove should I get" is the fact that you are putting your main wood heat source in the basement, how will that heat get up to your living areas?

Plan ahead for this, ductwork, natural passages, heat exchange, air handlers, etc.

Dave
Dave we will have an open stair well so there will be warm air rising, the stove in the basement will only be used when we are planning on hanging out and working in the basement.
 

Beerdog

Member
Dec 21, 2012
30
Mariner...

I have a new home, 1 story, double stud walls 12" thick with dense pack cellulose. Attic is supposed to be R48 or so but I have my doubts due to settling since it was laid down. The basement wall insulation is about half completed with 2" of foam and 6" of fiberglass batts. Basement floor has 2" of foam under the slab. Total area is about 2200 ft^2. I have propane fired radiant floor heat for the first floor. Basement is heated with a Napoleon wood stove... forgot the model. The main living floor has an Opel ll (?) zero clearance fireplace which uses gravity vents to provide heat. I rely on the basement stove to keep the basement warm and for the basement heat to migrate up to the living level. I have vents in most of the living rooms that are open to the basement. They are intended for an air circulation system which I didn't get around to installing, so pressures can balance, but there's no forced air circulation.

I live in upstate NY near the Vermont/Mass line and my climate is probably similar to what yours may be in N. Ohio. My house is a ranch and the bedrooms are separated from the open living area by a hallway. We run the basement Napoleon stove almost 24/7 from October through May. It has a fan to circulate heat from the stove shell and I run another fan to move hot air away from the stove and towards the stairwell.

My findings:
1. The basement overheats (about 78-82 F) and I need more air circulation to move excess heat from the basement into the first floor. Convection up the basement stairwell is inadequate. The basement ceiling is insulated (and needs to be for the radiant floor heating) and an uninsulated ceiling would help heat move to the first floor.

2. We don't use the Opel z.c. fireplace much because it is so efficient. It can be difficult too throttle it down enough to keep the main living area from getting overheated. However, when it is really cold out, below 0F, the stove provides a lot of heat and adds comfort.

3. I burn about 6 cords of wood (a mixture of cherry, maple, beech, locust, walnut and birch) a season and we go though about 650 gallons of propane for heat and domestic hot water.

4. We've had occasional problems establishing draft with the basement stove and have had our CO alarms go off when my wife ran the range hood (650 CFM exhaust) and there may have been other exhausts running (dryer comes to mind). We do keep our bathroom fans running continuously to exhaust stale air. The basement wood stove and the Opel fireplace both have outside air supplies (provided by the stove manufacturers) but they are inadequate. Upgrading the OAS ducts is on my chore list. Basement stoves are especially prone to poor drafting.

5. If I were doing it again, I would not heat with a boiler while also using wood. I would use a hot air system to move heat from the basement through the main floor, and to bring in fresh air.

6. If cost were no option, I would opt for a wood boiler with lots of heat storage so I would fire once a day on the coldest days and locate the boiler in an attached structure to keep the wood mess out of the house.

John
Grafton, NY