Heatalator help


I have a fireplace with a Heatalator. Years ago it was converted to gas log, which is almost useless for heating. I want to convert it back to wood, but I am not sure the Heatalator is safe. Advice much appreciated!
Here is the setup:
Fireplace has a folding glass front with vents at top and bottom that are not adjustable. Also a hole at the back to dump ashes, with a steel plate cover. Below the dump hole, ashes accumulate in a crawlspace. In the crawlspace now is a pile of old ashes on a slab, the ashes piled directly against against wood timbers. On either side of the fireplace are vertical slots between the fire box and fireplace facade. Those slots apparently open into the wood framing around the fireplace and into the crawlspace. Rodents used to nest in the fireplace; currently the vertical slots are stuffed with steel wool to discourage rodents. The chimney has a damper, totally illegal in a gas fireplace but blocked open.
The heatalator has air intake vents below the hearth, and out vents in the mantle above the fireplace. There is a low power electric fan inside each intake.
This fireplace seems unsafe for wood fires. Is it in fact unsafe?
    Una
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Oct 10, 1:23 pm, snipped-for-privacy@att.net (Una) wrote:

It certainly doesn't sound safe. But how do you expect to get an answer to that, without anyone being able to see it? Even if you took good pictures, would you be comfortable with an answer if we said yes?
Get a qualified inspector.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Does the configuration I described sound like a normal installation of one of these heatilator/heatalator things? (By the way, it was built in, not a retrofit.)

Uh, have had two already. Their qualified replies: "uh...um...".
    Una
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Your insurance broker is probably obligated to tell you but probably lacks the technical knowledge (and if in doubt may cancel your fire insurance.) Because of the importance of fire safety codes (the only part of the building code applied retroactively where I live) you can get free advice about this from the municipal building permits office. You might need a permit anyway to alter your fireplace. The BPO can also tell you whether you can do the work yourself or must hire a qualified contractor.
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That's a thought. Thanks.
    Una
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.