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Brick fell out of fireplace insert! Critical or not?

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  • Brick fell out of fireplace insert! Critical or not?

    We heat our farmette's "farm house" (ok, so it's a '73 Ranch) with a professionally installed wood stove insert--been in place for 8 years now, no issues. Yesterday, one of the firebricks in the ceiling (above the air tubes) broke in half and fell into the fire box!! Is this a critical piece? No fires or fire ok? Get it fixed right now or wait until Monday (damn--I wonder if the stove store is open on a holiday! ahhh!) Can we fix this ourselves?? I'm a bit freaked out now. Thankfully it is in the 40's here now, and we do have a heat pump, so the pack of indoor animals and Mr. CC won't freeze
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

  • #2
    I don't know, but if those are the special fire bricks, I would not risk burning the house down.

    Comment


    • #3
      the firebricks are essential

      but they can burn out and fail, too. So no, don't light a fire. on the up side, it should be an easy fix, a new brick, a bit of special mortar. I think it's a DIY project, but then again, my mom was friends with an old school tile oven mason, a learned trade in Germany. We had a lot of experts showing us the ropes and we were able to do a lot ourselves.

      It should not be a big repair, unless of course, that brick is not the only one failing. Plus it can't hurt to have the rest of the mortar checked, just to be safe!

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        To clarify--these bricks lie above the "air intake pipes" and below the metal of the actual stove. They are not in contact with the stove box/chimney/house.

        I think I'll google and see if there is an answer on-line somewhere.
        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

        Comment


        • #5
          I don't have a clear picture. Is this an insert in a standard masonry fireplace and chimney, and the fallen brick was in the insert? You could build a fire in the fireplace if the insert wasn't in there? Or do you mean this was a brick from the firebox in the chimney, as in right behind the damper?
          www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Tom-the brick is in the insert itself. The fireplace is behind/surrounds the insert (there used to be a pellet stove in there). We had the insert put in, and a liner (metal) put in the chimney.

            If you look inside the stove, you see cement bricks lining the entire thing, with steel behind that. On the ceiling of the stove, there are tubes that carry heated air back into the room via a fan. There appears to be insulation above the bricks, too.

            We are not burning anything now, and in the AM I'll put on my headlamp and get a better look at things.
            Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

            Comment


            • #7
              insulation

              Sounds like the fire brick insulates the heat exchanger tubes. I have a Pacific Energy stove with a ceramic blanket over the heat exchanger. The hot air helps burn the smoke and gases in my stove.

              I would not fire your stove without the missing brick.

              If the fire bricks are about 1.25 inch thick and 4.5 by 9 inches ... it's a standard size fire brick. Tractor supply sells them. Look to see if there are brackets or something to hold them up. If it's glued on, then you'll need a tube of firebrick cement. The bricks can be cut with a hammer and chisel too.
              Equus makus brokus but happy

              Comment


              • #8
                another fix ...

                I've replaced a broken fire brick using a whole brick that was flat on the fire box floor. The broken brick then took the place of the floor brick. The crack made no difference in that position.
                Equus makus brokus but happy

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thank you Hosspuller! We have no TSC up here in the NW corner of the US, but I'll check at Wilco today (farm store). Thankfully, I'm pretty sure you are exactly right in your description--not going to cause my house to burn down, but inadvisable to have a cheerful and warming fire anyway.

                  I think the floor bricks are bigger, but I'll dig in there and find out!
                  Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

                  Comment

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