Fireplace insert, wall heat and safety

Greetings all,
I'm hoping for clarification on an issue we're having with our Fuego fireplace insert and chimney. We bought a 28 year old home last fall that has this insert. We used it over the winter and noticed that the upstairs bedroom wall above the fireplace gets warm; warm enough that the room is very comfortable. We were concerned about this and called a couple of local fireplace installers. Both told us that this was a fire hazard, but when we called a Fuego dealer with 30-some years of experience, he said that in such circumstance it's not uncommon for walls next to the chimney to get warm. It seems, though, that "how warm" is the most important question. The Fuego dealer said that if the house is 30 years old, then it's unlikely to be a significant fire hazard (as in, "if it were, there already would have been a fire.").
I have not looked behind the wall, but in the attic the chimney is surrounded by cinder blocks and the blocks are touching a couple of 2-bys in the framing. Of the two local guys, one says we need an insulated pipe put in ($1800) and the other says we need a new pipe and insert ($3000). The Fuego dealer thinks we probably don't need anything.
I'm hoping that someone can provide me with their informed opinion about this, because I really hope the Fuego dealer is correct; but if $3000 is needed to ensure the safety of my family and home, then that's the route I'll go.
Thanks for any help.
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Without knowing more about the insert there is no way anyone here can answer the question. There are all kinds of inserts. Is it wood or is it gas?
The best inserts are zero clearance high efficiency inserts. We have a gas model. It is as efficient as a furnace so the air going up the chimney is basically cool. Since your wall is hot, the chimney is hot and heat is being lost so yours most be low efficiency since the heat is going up the stack. If it were high efficiency the heat would not be heating up the chimney.
if you are going to spend money fixing it, get yourself a high efficiency unit. Then you won't have to fix anything in the chimney. The best use ceramic glass and not tempered glass which can't take the heat.

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It's a wood-burning zero clearance from the late 1970s. We've been told that it was considered efficient "for its time." I realize it is losing heat out the chimney, but my concern is about the safety of the heat transfer to the wood framing.
Art wrote:

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Current gas models can be 85% efficient. I don't know about wood. The way these things work is that there is an inner firebox with a ventialation system. The air from the house circulates inbetween the inner and outer box. Make sure the inner box isn't breached. Also probably should check the outer box too since it is old, especially if rain enters the chimney and could have rusted it out.

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Both told us that this was a fire

isnt the case but Id be willing to bet they didnt do much in the way of "exploring" before they told you this right?

Your issue is not the insert its in the chimney structure. I believe what you mean is the flue liner (more than likely clay) is surrounded by blocks. this is very normal...as well as framing touching the chimney so thats not a problem. If I were you I would do some exploring on my own to save some money and really know whats going on. a interior wall getting as warm as you say I believe is a concern. as mentiond walls "next to" a chimney or fireplace getting warm is not uncommon but upstairs and that warm I would check it out. Take the drywall off and just see whats going on. Plan on taking out a section of wall that you can replace easily. It may be that where the wall is the framing members are just 2x2's and the heat from the chimney is simply transfering to the wall. But a 30 year old house should have insulation so its tough to say, hell for the price of some drywall and paint you could save alot of money.
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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wrote:

The 'how warm' question is the only salient point here. When the fire is cranking, can you burn your hand touching the sheetrock? Warm, even warm enough to heat a room, isn't a concern at all. It's hot that starts fires, and even the heat that will burn your fingers won't necessarily ignite your house.
See if you can find someone with a surface thermometer to measure the actual temp, but my common sense tells me that if you don't smell anything out of the ordinary, and all you feel is a warm wall, then you have no problem there.
By all means, have a pro inspect your chimney regularly, but don't go complaining about warmth. That's what the fire is for.
Keith
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k wrote:

No, it's not that hot. Putting a hand on it is warm, but not so hot that you're forced to remove your hand.

Is the concern that the temperature might exceed the flash point of the 2-bys? Inspection of the flue shows that it's intact.

I can do that - I have access to high-temp thermometers. How about if I drilled a hole in the drywall and into a stud about 3", then put the themometer in while the fire is burning?

My thoughts, too. I just want to be sure.
Thanks for your input.
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