Wood Questions

What does an outside air kit do, and do I need one?

For wood burning fireplaces, you should consider installation of an outside air kit. It provides additional combustion air to the fireplace that feeds the fire with oxygen from outside your home. This will help the performance on any fireplace installed in tightly-constructed or well-insulated homes.

What is the best way to start a fire in my fireplace?

If your fireplace does not have a gas starter, arrange kindling (small diameter sticks) in a crisscross pattern on top of crumpled newspaper under the grate before arranging the logs. Arrange logs in a safe way to ensure they don’t roll out during burning. Note that the first few fires you build in your wood burning fireplace should be small to help avoid excess cracking or spidering in the refractory. Note: Do not over fill your fireplace, as this will cause unsafe operation.

How can I find the model or serial number?

Each fireplace has a rating plate either inside the operating door or in the lower controls cavity. On that rating plate is your model number and serial number. Wood burning fireplaces have a metal serial/model plate in the upper left side or right side of the firebox, or riveted on the smoke shield behind the screen. Gas burning fireplaces and inserts have a serial/model/rating plate in the lower cavity controls area. Gas stoves have a serial/model/rating plate attached to the back of the stove or inside the pedestal base.

How efficient is a wood burning fireplace?

While they produce some radiant heat, most wood burning fireplaces are primarily decorative. Even heat circulating models still pull a tremendous amount of air from the home. There are several wood burning models that are efficient and clean burning. We also have several wood burning stoves and inserts that are very efficient.

Can I get glass doors for my wood burning fireplace?

Glass doors are available for current model fireplaces. Check with your local dealer on availability of doors for older models. It is important that you purchase glass doors that the manufacturer of your fireplace sells for your particular model. Using a non-approved door can block off cooling air into the firebox chassis and cause a potential fire hazard.

How should I use the glass doors on my wood burning fireplace?

The doors should always be fully open or fully closed. Glass doors should be fully open when starting a fire and when the fire is burning strongly. The glass doors should be closed as the fire dies down to minimize the amount of room air going up the fireplace chimney. When burning gas logs in a wood burning fireplace, the glass doors should always be fully open. Always keep the screen mesh on your fireplace closed when using the fireplace, to guard against sparks popping out of the firebox area. If you have a see-through woodburning fireplace, the doors should be either closed or open on both sides when burning.

Can I partially close the damper on my wood burning fireplace so less air goes up the chimney?

No. The damper must be in the fully open position when using a wood burning fireplace. Partially closing the flue (chimney) damper can cause smoke to spill into the room when burning wood, or cause carbon monoxide (CO) to come into the room when using gas logs.

Can I add a fan to my wood burning fireplace?

You can if you have a heat circulating model, which means there are louvers in the top and bottom facing of the fireplace, and if there is electrical power to the junction box behind the lower louver, then you can easily install a fan kit.

I have a fan kit on my wood burning fireplace but it doesn’t seem to blow much air.

Our fans are purposely designed at lower CFMs (cubic feet per minute). There are two reasons for this. First, to minimize fan noise. Second, a high velocity would tend to cool the air temperature coming out of the top louver of the fireplace. The fan is designed to move warm air into the room, not to move air clear across the room.

Why am I feeling a cold draft from my fireplace?

There are several possible causes of feeling cold air from a wood fireplace. You will want to make sure the damper is closed. Also check the installation manual for any other potential openings that may need to be shut. If the fireplace is mounted on cement versus plywood, that can also transfer cold into your home. If the chase area or doghouse is not insulated adequately, that is another possibility. Please check with your builder or installer on the insulation of the chase.

If I want to convert my wood burning fireplace to gas, is a set of gas logs or a gas insert going to be my best option?

Your decision really comes down to how much a priority heating efficiency is for you. If you want a lot of heat from your fireplace, you should consider a direct vent gas insert. From a cost standpoint, an insert will cost approximately five times the cost of a nice gas log set. However, since the insert is very efficient, it will pay for itself over a period of a few years in gas bill savings. We offer both a full line of inserts and vented gas logs to choose from. Installing room-vented or vent free log sets in our wood burning fireplaces is unacceptable. Doing so will void your warranty on the fireplace and possibly your homeowners insurance.

How do I convert my wood burning fireplace that has a gas log set installed back to wood?

For vented gas log sets, you need to remove the log set and grate, have the gas line capped, and install a grate rated for natural wood. Also check the damper to make sure it has not been removed and is functioning properly. If needed, a damper repair kit may be available (and installed) to make the unit fully functioning as a wood burning fireplace.

How can I eliminate the odor in my wood burning fireplace?

On new wood burning fireplaces, first determine what you are burning. You should only be using seasoned wood, newspaper, or kindling. Firestarters can cause a smell. For seasoned fireplaces, what have you burned in the past? Have you cleaned the fireplace prior to burning? If you have used firestarters and/or prefabricated logs, these products are bound together with a wax-type substance, which does not dissipate. This wax can pool and has been found under the hearth refractory and can cause a foul odor. Also check what is on top of the fireplace. Remove all objects from mantel to see if this eliminates the smell.

How does the Quadra-Fire wood burning system compare to a catalytic converter system?

The Quadra-Fire wood stoves incorporate secondary burn tubes, which are more efficient, burn cleaner, and require less maintenance than stoves with catalytic converters. More than 50% of the heat from your wood stove comes from burning the smoke, and stoves with secondary burn tubes burn that smoke inside the firebox, instead of in your chimney. Generally, the Quadra-Fire wood stoves average less emissions versus the EPA standard of 6 grams per hour. They are very clean burning and, over the life of a catalytic converter stove, you will need to replace the converter several times. This is quite a costly maintenance requirement. You will not need to replace the heat tubes on the Quadra-Fire stoves.