Jump to content

Natural Gas Coal Basket Replicas


Recommended Posts

Below is one of three natural gas fire coal basket replicas in a completely renovated 1910 rowhouse - truly amazing ideas and work.

Click to Enlarge
tn_2010819203553_DSCN8360.jpg

85.84 KB

Anyone familiar with THIS PARTICULAR coal basket set? I removed some of the pieces trying to expose the burners, but it was obvious I'd have to completely unload it to figure it out - no attached docs. It appears to be an older vented unit.

The throat on all these fireplaces was sealed off with brick. A portion was removed to permit some venting. My initial thought is that all of the bricks blocking the throat should be removed for good measure.

Click to Enlarge
tn_2010819204317_DSCN8361.jpg

68.86 KB

The flues have, at some point, been relined with terra cotta tiles. I doubt terra cotta flues were original to the structure. And, a chimney top damper has been added.

Click to Enlarge
tn_2010819204450_DSCN8362.jpg

63.05 KB

Thoughts on venting and CO?

Any boilerplate you guys normally throw in the report that may inspire me to modify my own is greatly appreciated.

As always, thanks in advance.

Class is in session....

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's been 37 years but that "coal" kind of looks like the coke we used to burn in the 55 gallon drums in the middle of our shop in the winter to stay warm in the Turner & Seymour foundry in Torrington, CT back in 1973.

Why would you need a larger flue for a gas fireplace. If they've got adequate draw with what they've got? Making it wider isn't necessarily going to help, especially if they are relying on venturi effect to increase draw through a narrower opening at the base of that throat. Plus some of those top of the flue dampers draw very strongly too.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's been 37 years but that "coal" kind of looks like the coke we used to burn in the 55 gallon drums in the middle of our shop in the winter to stay warm in the Turner & Seymour foundry in Torrington, CT back in 1973.

Why would you need a larger flue for a gas fireplace. If they've got adequate draw with what they've got? Making it wider isn't necessarily going to help, especially if they are relying on venturi effect to increase draw through a narrower opening at the base of that throat. Plus some of those top of the flue dampers draw very strongly too.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

That's what I wanted to hear. I've been thinking that even vented gas log can have the damper closed to the point that a damper lock meters. Isn't that right? Or, is a damper lock a failsafe device?

It's a shame that the bricks they removed are on one side of the throat instead of dead center over the coal set. I'm not crazy about that.

But, my main concern was CO, so maybe it's enough to emphasize CO detectors.

Probable note: "The lower level fireplaces are shallow - originally designed for coal. The throats of the fireplaces were, at some point, sealed off with brick. Some of those bricks were apparently removed to provide ventilation for the natural gas burning vented coal basket sets. Since these modifications are most likely not to any set of standards, it is strongly recommended that CO detectors be installed in the rooms with these gas units. Modifications to the throats may be required if the detectors report. Also, remember that these gas units are considered vented, and the damper MUST be open when they are in use."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A gas logset must be listed to ANSI Z21.60 or Z21.84 for vented logs and Z21.11.2 for ventfree. Any appliance without an identifiable rating plate identifying the mfr., model, serial #, listing, test lab, BTU input rating fuel type, and operating instructions should be treated as an unlisted appliance and recommend stop use and replace with a listed unit.

With the throat blocked off in this Fp, that would force this to be a listed ventfree. If it is not listed as a ventfree, then it should be shutdown and removed.

Open hearth fireplaces must be constructed to the code. If you undertake repairs or modifications, those changes must comply with the current code. There is no standard or code that allows the reduction of a throat to match the sizing charts in the gas code. Those GAMA tables were developed for CatI gas appliances. An open hearth must meet those code requirements for sizing because they exhaust on avg. 400-600cfm while burning. Choking off the throat can result in spillage of flue gases including CO but it also drastically raises temps of the breast and facing.

FYI, most coal burner gas sets come from the UK and only a few a listed but they are testing more. One of the problems with these early sets was simply the difference in pipe threads.

Any gas burner or logset that reaches from one sidewall to the other is too large for that Fp and should be removed. You need several inches of free space for good air circulation.

HTH,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A gas logset must be listed to ANSI Z21.60 or Z21.84 for vented logs and Z21.11.2 for ventfree. Any appliance without an identifiable rating plate identifying the mfr., model, serial #, listing, test lab, BTU input rating fuel type, and operating instructions should be treated as an unlisted appliance and recommend stop use and replace with a listed unit.

With the throat blocked off in this Fp, that would force this to be a listed ventfree. If it is not listed as a ventfree, then it should be shutdown and removed.

Open hearth fireplaces must be constructed to the code. If you undertake repairs or modifications, those changes must comply with the current code. There is no standard or code that allows the reduction of a throat to match the sizing charts in the gas code. Those GAMA tables were developed for CatI gas appliances. An open hearth must meet those code requirements for sizing because they exhaust on avg. 400-600cfm while burning. Choking off the throat can result in spillage of flue gases including CO but it also drastically raises temps of the breast and facing.

FYI, most coal burner gas sets come from the UK and only a few a listed but they are testing more. One of the problems with these early sets was simply the difference in pipe threads.

Any gas burner or logset that reaches from one sidewall to the other is too large for that Fp and should be removed. You need several inches of free space for good air circulation.

HTH,

Bob's post has got me thinking of a new dimension for home inspections. I'm aware of all the controversy involving home inspectors quoting code when the inspection contract states that the inspection rendered is not a code inspection. That's another issue. But what about ANSI, GAMA and lots of other standards. Is there any question about the appropriateness of us using them? Maybe we should be keeping a library of standards as well as code books.

There's some really top notch inspectors on this forum but I don't see standards being quoted much.

Marc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

. . . That's another issue. But what about ANSI, GAMA and lots of other standards. Is there any question about the appropriateness of us using them? Maybe we should be keeping a library of standards as well as code books. . .

Personally, I'm happy to reference any standard that applies. So far, that has only included the three codes that apply to residential construcion in my area and several manufacturer's instructions.

What would be an example of a provision from another standard that would be useful, but which isn't covered by a code?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To be clear, you think we need more references not less. Correct?

Actually, I was just wondering if we should be paying more attention to standards as a additional method of backing up our findings.

What would be an example of a provision from another standard that would be useful, but which isn't covered by a code?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Bob mentioned 3. I'm not sure if they aren't referenced by a code someplace but my point here is more like why not become more familiar with standards and use them more to back up our findings, like Bob just did? Unlike code cites, there's no controversy in using them in a report.

Marc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While the typical home inspection is not a 'code inspection' per se, you do base much of your findings upon codes, both past and present. For instance, you advise a homeowner their water heater is very old and does not meet the Federally mandated efficiency rating so, for that, as well as the propensity for old tanks to fail, you recommend replacement. Now, there is no mandate to replace old inefficient tanks with new Energy Star models (yet but it is coming). Still, it is good info. for the client to make them aware this house has a clunker WH even though there may be no signs of imminent leakage.

Oh, I have compiled a very loooooooong list of standards and codes for Dale Feb to consider in his F.I.R.E Service certification and training programs so I will not hand them out here--sorry. You can start your own list and decide what is important to you. For instance, I took my copy of NFPA 211 and looked up every single std. referenced in that document. Then, I went back and drilled down through various other documents to see which seemed to also apply versus those which really didn't. If you've ever seen a listing standard such as UL 127 for factory built fireplaces or, ASTM C-315 for terra cotta flue tiles, you will find it is often a collecton of dozens of other standards pieced together. You obviously are required to know all these hundreds of very expensive stds. but you may want to cherry pick one or two.

I think the main thing is to have some reliable reference for your recommendations and allegations. If you say something is hazardous and must be repaired/ replaced, you'd better have something other than your wit and charm to back it up. A little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing both ways. I've seen on this site where some inspectors took a very strong stance on a subject based upon faulty information, which often is actually urban legend or, more often, just a little skewed memory from the acutal chapter and verse. I've done that myself too many times to count and can assure you my size 12's fit in my mouth. That, along with the F.I.R.E. Service training and doing product liability work for a major mfr., taught me to choose my words very carefully and be armed to back up what I say.

Knowledge is power.

Bob

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's been several times when something that I had believed in for many years was summarily dismissed and proven wrong on this forum by some code cite or other, and that is alright. As an inspector, those experiences are telling me that it's prudent to have as many different types of source documents as possible to improve my ability to back up my claims in a report (or on this forum [;)]). Standards are starting to look like one. I just don't like the impact that the purchase of standards is gonna have on my expense column.

Marc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While the typical home inspection is not a 'code inspection' per se, you do base much of your findings upon codes, both past and present. For instance, you advise a homeowner their water heater is very old and does not meet the Federally mandated efficiency rating so, for that, as well as the propensity for old tanks to fail, you recommend replacement. Now, there is no mandate to replace old inefficient tanks with new Energy Star models (yet but it is coming). Still, it is good info. for the client to make them aware this house has a clunker WH even though there may be no signs of imminent leakage.

Recommending replacement of a 15 year old water heater is just common sense and has nothing to do with "code". Also I do not tell a client that there is a "Federally Mandated Efficiency Rating" and they should replace their hot water tank based on that... sheeze. [:-irked]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What would be an example of a provision from another standard that would be useful, but which isn't covered by a code?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Bob mentioned 3. I'm not sure if they aren't referenced by a code someplace but my point here is more like why not become more familiar with standards and use them more to back up our findings, like Bob just did? Unlike code cites, there's no controversy in using them in a report.

Bob just mentioned that log sets have to be listed to a particular standard. That requirement (that they be listed) is a code requirment, not a requirement of some other agency.

As a home inspector I'm just going to check to see that it's listed, that it's installed properly, and that it's working properly. I don't need the ANSI standard for any of that. All the information I need is in the code or in the manufacturer's instructions.

What, exactly, would the ANSI standard contain that would be of use to me as an inspector?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The listing standard includes all the testing procedures, mandatory warnings in the installation and operation instructions, etc. but all you need to worry about is in the listed instructions that came with the appliance. Now, without that document, no one, myself included, can state whether an appliance is properly installed or not.

Yes, the code requires a listed product so if no rating plate showing the correct listing, it should be called out, just as I have stated.

Jim, knowing the designations of the various listings can be of some benefit to HIs, esp. differentiating btw vented free and vented logs. If you find gas logs in a brand that does not allow ventfree, such as Heatilator and fail to call it out, they suffer an unfriendly fire and it turns out those were VF logs, you WILL be in court. However, by being informed and spotting the ANSI Z21.11.2 on the rating plate, you write it up as a fire hazard and recommend it be removed then a level III inspection conducted to determine if there is hidden damage or pyrolysis in concealed spaces, then you're pretty much off the hook.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...