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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Inserting an Insert, The Grand Finale

Cleaning outThe big day arrived at last. We wanted to make it as easy as possible, so we had moved stuff out of the way, including removing the door between the kitchen and living room.

We scooped out the ash as much as possible, and pulled out the grate (which got cleaned off and will be used as a wood rack).

Finishing upIt occurred to me to brush down the sides and top of the fireplace. This yielded a rather large quantity of black soot, more than I’d expected, but I just pulled the cover off the ash hole and swept it all in there. Then I vacuumed in the corners.

Doors removedAt this point, Mrs. Fetched and Daughter Dearest headed off to an extended “check us out” weekend at a nearby college. I stayed on target and tackled the glass doors. It turned out to be held on by two clamps inside the fireplace; loosen two bolts and the whole thing came right out. I sat it outside to scrub the soot off the glass and get it out of the way.

Of course, with the doors out of the way, I was clear to get more soot and ash out of the fireplace. This I did, and followed it up with one more vacuum run to get it all cleaned up.

Rolling it inGeorge’s son Roland showed up first. We chatted, waiting for George… and waiting… and waiting. Finally, Roland figured he was looking for the drill that Roland already had, and took off to look for him. I remembered that I needed hardware, and took the opportunity to scare up some screws. I also measured the door into the living room (29-1/2") and then the insert — and learned that the only way we’d get through was to tilt it on its back and bring it in sideways. Sometimes, delays are a good thing.

Roland showed up with his dad in tow, and the festoovities began. They tipped the insert up onto the dolly, while I scared up a piece of plywood so we wouldn’t have to carry it up the steps. I had to grab from the top and pull, while they pushed from the bottom, but it came in fairly easily.

At the fireplaceWe had laid down blankets and throw rugs in the living room to make sure the floor would be OK. It rolled right into place.

Push!George and Roland managed to pick the insert up without damaging themselves and pushed it into place. George wasn’t sure there would be enough front-to-back clearance to get the insert all the way in, and was telling me about some workarounds they could do if necessary. But they ended up having to pull it back out a little bit — there was plenty of clearance.

CompletedWith the insert in position, they attached the trim panel and centered it up. We tossed a couple pieces of paper and a small cardboard box in side and Roland lit it. The smoke went straight up the chimney, just like it was supposed to. George was concerned that some of the smoke might make its way to the front and seep out through the mortar joints in the brick, but that wasn’t a problem.

And that concludes the latest improvement at FAR Manor, minus any little details that might come up. George suggested that if we get smoke out the mortar joints, there’s some stuff at Home Despot to seal that up. It’s a fairly nice day right now, so I’ll light it up this evening and try it out.


  1. Wow FAR! That unit looks new!Frankly, I think it looks better than the glass doors! That's close to a two thousand dollar improvement, eh? Bet, your prouder than a peacock! ha! At least you guy's won't be cold in the FAR future! ha! Good for you!

    Thanks, yooper

  2. Heh, other than getting the hang of getting a fire started in it, yup we're pretty happy with how it's turned out so far. Mrs. Fetched said glass would be nice so we could see what's going on, but I think once we adjust to it (and get some good dry wood) we'll be really happy with it.

  3. Congratulations on a job well done, Far!

  4. Hey FAR! I would'nt worry about smoke leaking inside the house, the draft will take care of that. However, when ever there might be a down draft, then you might notice it. That would depend on your fireplace chimney, you might have to control the draft on it,(if it even has one) to control the down draft.

    At least ou have real heat now.

    Thanks, yooper

  5. Congrats, Far! Let me know what you think of it, once you've used it for a while. It looks great - you should be thrilled with your accomplishment! :-)

  6. Wow FAR.

    Congratulations! It's been fun watching this progress, and I agree w/ Beth ... definitely an accomplishment!


  7. Thanks everyone!

    Mrs. Fetched's mom says we need a grate inside to get the draft under the fire. I wonder if the previous owners had a grate… and if so, what they did with it.

  8. In almost 20 years of experience with woodstoves, mine and my friends (and building them), I've never heard of putting a grate in one. The chambers are designed for the air to circulate around them without it. I'd be curious to see if anyone else has ever used a grate in a woodstove....? Maybe y'all do it different out here in the east...

  9. Hey Far! I must agree with Beth here. However, we did have to pull my Dad's unit back out and adjust the draft (flue) in the fireplace system.. This could be up even further than what you had cleaned earlier, use a flash light to look up the chimmey to see if there is one there. You might have to use the fireplace hook to engage it and pull it open. If your chimmey does not have a draft then...

    Mrs. Fetches's Mom could be correct in this instance, this might alleviate the problem all together.

    In all due respect to Beth, most woodstoves drafts are located within the exhaust system itself, adjustment of flue.

    Far, since you're located in the south, I'd be inclined to think that you're chimmey does not have a flue. If it does not then try Mrs. Fetches's Mom's advice, I'll just bet you'll be in business.

    Hmmm, sometimes it's experience from the old timers that make the most sense! ha! Wanna talk about innovation that counts? ha! ha!

    Thanks, yooper

  10. Hmm, got to thinking here. Try laying three green hardwood sticks down and build you fire on them. If it works, then just build your fires on some pipes and you're all set. Thanks, and you're welcome in advance. ha! ha!

    Thanks, yooper

  11. I've got a grate in my wood fireplace and it does help circulate the air ... the air comes up from the bottom and gets the fire burning really fast. In the woodstove though, no grate. Just the box.

  12. (We had a woodstove to heat the house growing up.)

  13. Hiya FAR and everyone.

    Looks great FAR. I'm glad it didn't turn into a major job to get it installed. Now you've got to crank it up to see how hot you can get it. Be careful though.

  14. Ok FAR, perhaps a more serious tone here. You might have a problem with your chimney/flue, something might be blocking the flow of draft.

    Make certain that the entire exhaust system is open and clean, this might include a valve, that would be located within the flue.

    This unit is going to produce a lot more heat than your fireplace ever could. At this point you're unsure how your chimney will handle this new system. Do you have those "put out fire sticks" handy? They should be stored someplace near the stove. Have about three of them. They look a lot like flares.

    The last thing you need to do is to get a really hot fire going! Gradually build up to this! Make certain that you are in control of this fire at all times and is never permitted to build a life of its own.

    Thanks, yooper

  15. Hey FAR.

    I've got some questions about Ubuntu. I've finally gotten a 120 gig external hard drive, and I'm trying to figure out how to get Ubuntu onto that. I downloaded the program on a disc and I get stuck at that point. A while back Omir told me if I had any problems with it to let him know, but I don't know of an e/m for him. I figured either you would know to do it, or how to get in-touch with him.

    Any help you could give would be appreciated.


  16. Working back to front:

    FM - I have an email for OMIR that was good in Dec. 2006, anyway. I'd prefer not to plaster it all over the tubes, since he didn't link it on his blog, so if you'll email me at FARfetched 58 at aim dot com I'll pass it on.

    Yooper, Beth, it *could* be a chimney issue. Starting about a week before we installed the insert, we were getting backup problems with the regular fireplace. We thought it was the high winds we were having at the time, but the problem continued after the winds died down.

    There's a damper in the fireplace, and we made sure it was wide open before installing the insert. I'm not sure how far we could close it, there was about 2 inches of clearance between the damper handle & the top of the insert — George was wondering aloud if he'd have to remove the damper entirely.

    If we have to, we can probably drag the insert aside & look up the flue to see if anything got in the way. I can't for the life of me figure out why it would be fine one day & blocked the next, though.

  17. Ah, the woodstove insert. Hope it does the job.

    I heat entirely with a wood stove (3500 sq ft., but then again, I designed the house around that concept.

    On again/off again blocked chimney? Animals, soot build up, some nasty ledge built in by the person who created your chimney for no reason other than because.

    Are you sure the top of your chimney is higher than the highest pitch of your house (downdraft problem).

  18. Hi Rick. Not so much on again/off again, but "it was fine until last week." I thought it was the winds we were having at first. Maybe they blew something up into the top of the chimney.

    That's nice, being able to design your house the way you wanted. I got pushed into buying this place & have to do some retrofitting.

  19. Back to this insert page! I have the same one, any idea on a model number on the blower? I need one!


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