Anatomy of a Cut and Gut

The Story of Replacing an Inefficient, Factory Built Wood Burner with a High Efficiency BIS Nova Fireplace

Many folks are not aware that the vast majority of wood fireplaces, both factory built and masonry, are highly inefficient. The reason is simple: the firebox is a large opening in your house, and the flue acts like a giant vacuum sucking warm air out of your home. To learn more about why conventional fireplaces are inefficient (not to mention dirty), read an article by an energy conservation expert here.

One solution for an inefficient factory built fireplace is what the industry refers to as a “Cut and Gut,” in which we completely remove the old fireplace and chimney and replace it with a new, high efficiency and clean burning system such as the BIS Nova shown in the photo below on the right.

anatomy of a cut and gut 01

In the left-hand photo, you can see the inefficient factory-built fireplace that these homeowners wanted to replace with an efficient heating unit. They also wanted to upgrade the appearance of their fireplace.

On the right, the final installation. The new fireplace is a BIS (stands for Built In Stove) Nova, a high-efficiency fireplace designed specifically to fit in the same space as a standard factory-built fireplace. It is an ideal unit for a “cut and gut.”

anatomy of a cut and got 02

On the left is the chase after we removed the old fireplace. You can see that it lacks insulation; one of our tasks was to insulate the chase to bring it up to our standards.

On the right, the aluminum tubing is the new fireplace’s fresh air intake. In built-in stoves, this brings in outside air to the firebox to reduce the amount of warm air from your home required for combustion.

anatomy of a cut and gut 03

On the left, pushing the new BIS Nova into place in the chase.

On the right, looking down from the top of the chase, you can see the new Class-A chimney going up.

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On the left, Kim is putting the last piece of Class-A chimney into place.

On the right, you can see the fireplace installed with non-combustible wall board around the unit, and the front of the Nova taped off to prepare for the tile installation.

cut and gut final

The final product.