When I first started this fireplace project, I have to admit I was really ignorant. I thought I would just buy a wood burning stove, stick it in the fireplace place, attach a vent and light a fire. Little did I know that wasn't the case. I had to know if I wanted a stove or insert. Did I want a direct vent or ventless? Did I want to burn wood, pellets or gas? Oh yeah, what about the liner? All I can say is my head started to spin. I was talking to people and I was trying to explain what my flue looked like and if I needed to remove it. Later I found out I was trying to explain my damper, not my flue. Here is something I thought was easy and it turned out to be a lot more than I expected. Not only did I sound like a Bozo when I was talking to people, I had no idea what I was even doing. Well after educating myself and figuring things out, I do have to say I learned a lot, I figured out there really isn't much to the fireplaces and pretty much anyone can grab the concept and install a fireplace. So I decided to share this experience with you, so you can see first hand how easy it really is. Even though we are breaking it down into five parts and it sounds like a lot, it is actually rather easy. We are going to cover the following items in this series:
- Fireplace Guide
- Blaze King – Why we used the Princess Insert
- DuraVent – Why we went with this liner
- Installing a Fireplace Insert
- Need to know Items
I will be getting into more detail, but I went with the Blaze King Princess. Which since it has been installed and I have been using it, I can say I made the right choice. I also went with the DuraVent liner. Now at the beginning I thought a liner was a liner. After reading more about liners, that is just not the case. The DuraVent liner is great and worth every penny.
During this project, in the video and article, I am sure you will hear me complain about small little things, but that is just me. In reality, understanding and installing a wood burning fireplace is a snap. It is an adventure and one I am glad I pursued. It doesn't matter if you install it yourself or have someone else install it, having a fireplace is incredible. If you have forced air, you will love this even more. I have a boiler system that uses hot water. It takes a little longer to heat the house, but it is a nice even heat. You don't get the cold spots like you get when you have forced air. A fireplace insert is the same way. You get a nice even heat throughout your home. Speaking of homes, you should know a little bit about my house before we get started and what I was looking to accomplish with this fireplace insert.
My home was built in 1924, so obviously it is very old and drafty. We currently have a boiler from 1965 which is awesome, but very inefficient. Every year I get some wood and we have fires in our fireplace. I know the fireplace is inefficient, but I really didn't care. I like the sound and the smell. While my wife liked the sound, she didn't like the times when smoke would puff back into the house. She also didn't like that we had to put wood in the fireplace every two hours or the fact that right above the fireplace, the brick would turn black. My wife also didn't like the fact that once we started the fire, someone always had to be by it in case a spark would jump out, so we were always stuck in the house. The biggest thing she didn't like was that her new rug now has two burn holes in it. We also have two kids a three year old and a one year old. She was concerned that they would throw stuff in the fireplace when we weren't looking, which I couldn't argue as I did that when I was a kid. One day she brought up a wood burning stove, which I knew I didn't want. I tried to explain all the cons and she explained all the pros. Well in the end she won because I really could only think of one con and that meant I had to do work, which didn't fly with her. All in all there truly are so many pros to a wood burning fireplace, but the biggest pro I see is safety. We don't have to worry about sparks popping out of the fireplace or the kids tossing stuff in the fire.
So that is a little background on why we ended up going with a fireplace insert. But in the end it turned out to be much more than safety we are enjoying from the insert. I really don't like admitting when my wife is right for two reasons. First she usually is right and second if we get into a disagreement, she always comes back saying wasn't I right about this or wasn't I right about that. But I have to admit she was right about this. I am really happy I listened to her and we took on this project.