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Options for replacing fireplaces in condos
Vancouver Gas Fireplaces can assist you whether you need to replace an old gas fireplace, or an old wood-burning fireplace, in your condo.
When looking to replace your inefficient, or outdated gas fireplace in your condo there are a few things to consider when determining your options.
*Please note: To remove and replace a gas fireplace in a condo will most often require that the finishes around the fireplace be removed, replaced and repaired.
Vancouver Gas Fireplaces can provide the services required for your complete project; removal, installation of the new fireplace and whatever framing and finishing is required to complete your project.
How is your existing fireplace is vented?
Direct Vent (balanced flue)
Venting is most often through the wall, but can also go through the roof. Direct vent fireplaces always have sealed glass fronts that cannot be opened during operation.
B vent (natural venting)
Goes up through the roof, and is typically only used for open fireplaces or fireplaces that have doors which can be opened.
Why the venting is important
- Venting is not universal.
Not all fireplaces can be adapted to any venting.
- A new fireplace must almost always be adapted to the venting for the old fireplace.
It’s usually not possible to replace the existing venting through the building and/or the vent termination on the exterior of the building.
Many low-rise buildings pre 2000 have B venting, which is venting used for open gas fireplaces, up through the roof. Most high rise buildings, and buildings post 2000 use direct venting, through the wall.
There is a third venting style which has been used in a few buildings, again, mostly pre 2000, which is power vented. This is a system that uses an inline fan system to push the vent gases out a horizontal termination. There is one unit to replace power vented fireplaces, the Nova from Vanox.
If you have existing Direct Venting
Venting height is often the most constraining factor in determining which fireplace can be installed in a condo.
In most condos it is not possible to replace the exterior vent so the new fireplace must be adapted to the wall vent.
It is important to know:
- The size of the venting.
We can usually get the sizing if we get the model number of the fireplace from the rating plate which is normally located near the valve.
- Height which the vent goes through the wall.
As many of the earlier direct vent fireplaces had a low exit point. As hot air rises, venting cannot slope down.
Below are some links to some direct vent fireplaces that can be adapted to existing venting.
The Valor Portrait series is particularly usefully because of its size and its low vent exit. In many instances, these are the only options because for the low exterior vent height of many of the older units.
Other recommended direct vent fireplaces for retrofitting and adapting to an existing vent termination. This is a partial list.
If you have existing B venting
Because manufacturers have shifted to the new direct vent technology, there are few options available. But trust us, they are great options!
Valor Fireplaces has an efficient fireplace insert that can be adapted to B vent. It is available with a rock or log burners and a multiple number of fronts and trims. View the Legend G3.
Valor also has a B vent adaptor kit that can allow the following models to be used to replace B vented fireplaces.
Another option which has been made to specifically replace B vented fireplaces in condos is the Nova by Vanox, a clean faced contemporary styled unit. Recently introduced, the Lyra 28 from Vanox is also a suitable option to replace some Montigo units, click on the link to see details.
If you have an existing Wood Burning Fireplace
Some condos have open wood burning fireplaces that can be converted to gas. The key to doing this is ascertaining the route in which the gas is brought to the fireplace. This is often done on the exterior of building from the gas meter.
To install an efficient sealed gas insert, flexible liners has to be installed through the chimney which requires access to the roof. If this is not possible you can install an open gas log set which, while not efficient, will supply some heat and ease of use as compared to wood.
There are many available efficient gas inserts with a variety of burner styles and finishes.
In addition to the traditional log set, contemporary rock or glass style open burners are available.
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