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Fireplace repair

3 replies [Last post]
Joined: Aug 13 2003

Last night finally pulled out the broken and ugly 'country' style fireplace insert installed by a previous owner in my Eichler home. Now I am left with alot of broken firebrick at the top and back of the original fireplace where the exhaust vent from the insert was installed. I would like to have the fireplace repaired to once again become an ordinary, wood burning fireplace.

Has anyone removed an insert and either repaired or had the firebrick/damper repaired that has some advice to offer? Can anyone recommend a mason or other proffessional to take on this type of job? I might be able to do the repair myself, but with so many other house projects currently underway, hiring an experienced person would save lots of time. I live in the 19th Ave. Park developement in San Mateo.

Recommendations can be sent to dean at electricmist dot com.


Joined: Apr 10 2003

City or County still permit woodburning fireplaces even ones in older homes?-I've read in some areas they have pretty much been banned and you have to use a gas fireplace. Places in the Bay Area as well as the San Joaquin and I think Indio and Coachella. I've heard that in Fresno they are encouraging folks in older homes to convert their fireplaces to gas logs or having the woodburning ones rendered inactive.
Kinda sad in a way. :(

Wishing for modern home.

Joined: Aug 12 2004

Ditto everything, except the fire brick damage.

I've had a wood burnig stove insert and when that burned out (over fired and cracked it) and replaced with current, a pellet insert furnance.

Just bought 2 tons of wood pellets at Orchard Supply. $189 per ton and used my $10 coupons, so netted out at $179/ton x 2 = +$390 something after taxes.

This heats the whole house for the year. We do have a couple of small electric heaters in the bedrooms to round it out, but the main heat is from the fireplace insert. Sweetie had even softened candles (a couple bent over...she set it to "higher" [shoe won't tell me what that was] thinking it would heat up faster).

My calculations say that we heat the whole house, the whole year for less than $500 bucks, tops.

Ours is a QuadraFire and is EPA certified, so can burn it even on days where they ban open fires.

Expect to pay around $2K for a pellet or wood burning insert.

Pellet stoves are noiser, as they need a fan going all the time. Wood burning inserts make no noise, unless you turn on it's fan.

I'd consider a gas insert if/when the pellet insert goes

Joined: Jan 4 2004

You're in Luck, the City of San Mateo does allow repairs to wood fireplaces, and they allow them to be modified. I know the best guy on the Peninsula, he specializes in problems such as yours, as well as anything else related to fireplace building/repair. Email me directly, and I'd be happy to tell you about him.


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