JUCA Fireplace InsertsJUCA's Model L-8 Fireplace Insert (shown here) is designed to vastly improve the performance of an existing fireplace. JUCA CUSTOM-BUILDS each and every L-8 specifically for that unique fireplace. This approach provides the largest possible glass door, the largest firebox size, and the greatest heat-exchange area for highest performance. All this at a VERY REASONABLE price, (usually about $2,000)
The customer makes six measurements of the fireplace. JUCA's Computer-Assisted-Design (CAD) System then uses these dimensions to design a unique heat exchanger assembly as the firebox section of the JUCA L-8. This ensures the most efficient possible Fireplace Insert, because the heat-exchange area is maximized. A JUCA L-8 Fireplace Insert built for an average-sized fireplace usually has a Heat-Output Rating of about 80,000 Btu/hr! You can confirm the EXACT rating for a JUCA L-8 Fireplace Insert built for YOUR fireplace. This program duplicates (a simplified version of) much of the actual computerized design work for YOUR CUSTOM FIREPLACE INSERT to calculate the exact Heat-Output Rating FOR YOUR INSTALLATION! After placing an order, the finished, custom-built fireplace insert is completed and shipped.
A note can be added here regarding the airtight inserts that have an (optional at extra cost) 60 cfm blower available. Sales literature for such products often brags about 40,000 Btu/hr heat output. Well, in their laboratory, yes, they probably got that output. However, that tiny blower moves so little air that the air coming out of their insert has to be at around 400°F, dangerously hot, to carry 40,000 Btu/hr of heat. It is fortunate that their products rarely have to provide more than 10,000 to 12,000 Btu/hr which is commonly needed to heat the one room the fireplace is in! JUCA Fireplace Inserts have far stronger blowers, 465 cfm, so they move around 8 times the amount of air. In order to carry 40,000 Btus out to the room, the air only needs to be at around 140°F temperature, wonderfully warm but SAFE, too!
There are some "details" that fireplace shops never
bother to tell customers as they are considering buying a $3,500
airtight fireplace insert! Such as the fact that they REQUIRE
that the entire chimney be greatly reduced in size! A conventional
fireplace that might have a 16" square chimney (256 square
inches of open area for smokepath) is therefore filled in with concrete
(PERMANENT) down to usually a 6" round (28 square inches
of remaining open smoke path), which is compatible with their
airtight insert. This extra requirement costs you up to $2,000
additional in parts and labor, but more importantly, THAT FIREPLACE
COULD NEVER BE USED AGAIN WITHOUT AN AIRTIGHT INSERT IN IT! The
chimney is now far too small! And it is a PERMANENT change that could
never be undone if you should ever want the fireplace to
"look normal" again! There actually is a valid reason
that AIRTIGHT fireplace inserts require this reduction of chimney
size, which has to do with the terrible tendency of airtight
(suffocation) woodburners to create a lot of creosote. In the 1980s,
there were many airtight inserts installed which created so much creosote
in the chimney, and the large chimney size caused the smoke to move
very slowly and therefore condense creosote on the chimney walls,
that many houses burned down as the result of chimney fires.
So they discovered that if they greatly reduce the size of the
chimney, the smoke leaves faster and that problem of theirs is
reduced! But at the cost of forever changing the chimney so it can
never be used again as it was built. Often, $15,000 is spent in
building beautiful fireplaces, but then the installation of an
airtight insert forever eliminates ever enjoying it as it was
originally intended. Amazing! (JUCAs are NOT airtight, entirely
different, such that there is NO change needed in the chimney or
fireplace! If someone wants to enjoy the fireplace as it was
originally built, in just five minutes, the JUCA can be slid out and
stored in the garage!)|
Airtight fireplace inserts also require another "added expense", that of a "Direct Connect Kit" which is a flexible hose resembling a dryer vent hose, which connects the top of their airtight insert to the start of that 6" remaining hole. It is required for essentially the same reason as above, because some airtight inserts in the 1980s would fill the (hidden) volume of the fireplace firebox with creosote, often hundreds of pounds of extremely ferocious burning material, and houses would burn down.
In any case, it is amazing but virtually ALL installers today seem to assume that the chimney relining and the direct connect kit are mandatory parts of installation. They are actually right, IF the insert is an airtight fireplace insert, BECAUSE it totally alters how the fireplace works. A JUCA fireplace insert is entirely different, in that it allows the existing fireplace to operate nearly exactly as it always had! That means that it does NOT cause massive creosote (JUCAs do not suffocate the fire but allow it to burn as fireplace fires always had, with plenty of oxygen available).
This can actually represent a problem, IF there is an EXISTING airtight fireplace insert that is old and needs to be replaced. IF it was installed with the filling of the chimney with concrete, then a JUCA CANNOT be used! We need the fireplace to actually be able to work as it was originally designed, like a fireplace, in order for the JUCA to improve it! So, in the event that there is an old fireplace insert that now needs to be replaced, you NEED to find out of the chimney has been modified like that or not. If not, a JUCA can be used. But if the chimney has been reduced in functional size to 6" or 8" round, that means that an installer altered it (permanently) and that the ONLY choice (forever) is to buy another airtight insert for it! Quite an arrangement for the fireplace shops!
By the way, did you notice the sloping back wall of the heat exchanger portion? That's done to better match the sloping back wall of the individual fireplace! (Whatever the angle or size of that sloping fireplace wall, the L-8 is built to match it.) Also, note the heavy legs that support the heat exchanger structure. This keeps the heat exchanger up above the ash accumulations in the fireplace, to make sure that our FOREVER WARRANTEE will never need to be activated. It also allows a small amount of air and smoke flow up outside the heat exchanger area to gain even more heat from its outside walls!
L-8X Photo - Front Room
L-8X Photo - Rear Room
For applications where a fireplace connects two rooms as a see-thru, JUCA can make an L-8X See-thru Fireplace Insert. From one side the unit looks just like the normal L-8 (Left drawing and upper photo). When the unit is slid into place (from that side), the back(??) side of the L-8X slides through the fireplace right up to be almost flush with the fireplace facing in the other room. This allows the glass area in that room to look like it really belongs there! (Right drawing and lower photo above). There are warm air outlet grilles along side both the glass areas to feed warm air to both rooms. More advantages of each JUCA unit being custom-built!
The dimensions we need to build an L-8X are a little different from
those for a normal L-8. We want to have the width and height of each
opening, and we like to have the diagonals of those openings, too, to
make sure the openings are actually square. (Usually, sketches of each
side opening with the dimensions is a good idea.) We also need to have
the distance through the fireplace at each corner of the fireplace.
In principle, these four are all the same, but again we're just making sure!
Finally, we want you to measure the floor diagonals through the
fireplace. These again should be the same. If they're not, one
opening is down the wall from the other, and we would have to make a
distorted unit to fit in a distorted fireplace!
L-8X Photo - Front Room
L-8X Photo - Rear Room
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Measuring Your Fireplace
The relatively open top is an important characteristic of the JUCA L-8 Fireplace Insert, and it's unique to JUCA's products. ALL other efficient fireplace inserts operate on an air-suffocation (or air-tight) principle of operation. That approach NECESSARILY requires major changes in how the fireplace operates, from how it worked before the insert was installed. These effects require designs which have small fireboxes, limited heat exchange areas, and a closed fire chamber (with a closed top), and a direct-connect flexible hose kit to make sure that the creosote it produces is not deposited in the hollow space behind the body of the insert.
JUCA uses a totally different approach. Our NON-air-tight design allows the fireplace to operate very similarly to how it operated before the installation of the insert. (You could still roast marshmallows or make popcorn in it. Competing products cannot be operated with the door open because the design theory doesn't allow it.) Our custom designed heat exchange structure incorporates the largest possible firebox size, the largest heat exchange surface areas, the largest glass viewing area and the largest door for feeding wood, and a blower that is MUCH stronger than any competitor.
All these characteristics combine to capture the most heat possible from the fire's output, while not messing up the fireplace's original operation. That original operation always included very clean burning, which the JUCA L-8's design maintains. JUCA L-8s do NOT share the air-tight inserts' problems of huge creosote and pollution creation. JUCA's non-air-tight design allows capturing all that heat while burning so cleanly that a "catalytic combustor" or "secondary burn" are not even necessary or desirable!
This difference between the JUCA's non-airtight design and ALL competing fireplace inserts (which are ALL airtight) has some other implications. Because those airtight products developed a bad reputation in the 1980s for creating a lot of pollution and creosote (because of the suffocation of the airtight operation), the EPA and other government agencies passed stringent laws applying to them. Commonly, the chimney must be re-lined ($$$) and a special assembly called a Direct-Connect Kit ($$$) must be installed ($$$) (which is often pretty involved). The Direct-Connect Kit includes a large flexible stainless steel hose that connects the airtight insert up into the inside of the chimney.
As long as the present fireplace is safe to use to start with, a JUCA L-8 Fireplace Insert does not require all that, and the EPA and other agencies agree. The fireplace actually still operates as it originally did with the only difference being that the JUCA L-8 has captured much of the heat that would have gone up the chimney. Building fires is the same as before, and it behaves as you have come to expect it to behave. That is definitely NOT true of airtight fireplace inserts, which operate VERY differently!
Two solutions arose. The Airtight design and the JUCA design.
With MODERATE restriction of the air supply, this represented a great improvement over previous woodburners. During the 1970s, people tended to use them in such an appropriate way.
When energy awareness became dominant about 1980, people started to try to use such products in extreme ways. They SERIOUSLY restricted the air supply, to make them operate even more efficiently. That happened, but an unexpected consequence was extremely poor burning. Under some conditions, fully 1/3 of the energy in the wood was going up the chimney as creosote and pollution! Which also reduced intrinsic efficiency, but no one noticed.
In the early 1980s, a lot of houses burned down, because massive creosote accumulations in chimneys would burn at over 5000 F, and no chimney could handle that. A lot of pollution was also getting put in the air.
Thicker logs ALSO naturally burn more EVENLY (for reasonably constant heat output) and for a much longer time.
The JUCA design accomplishes the goals of evenness of heating and long burn times, in a VERY different way than airtight designs do. In a far more natural way. The burning is extremely complete and efficient and clean. Virtually NO creosote or pollution is created in the fire, as fireplaces have operated for hundreds of years!
The flaw in the logic so far is that thick logs burn so slowly that they create rather small amounts of heat. This is why the sophisticated heat capture and heat exchanger system is important. It captures MOST of the heat actually produced, and sends it out into the room and not up the chimney.
As a footnote, airtight products CAN NOT safely use extensive heat exchangers to improve their efficiency. Since they naturally produce so much creosote in their smoke, and creosote condenses out at about 350 F, they must NOT be extremely efficient. Otherwise, they would cause massive creosote accumulation in their chimney systems. Some products like that were briefly sold around 1980, but they proved to be very dangerous products for this reason. Since JUCAs are non-airtight, the fire burns very cleanly, so there's little very creosote in the smoke, so we can capture the daylights out of the heat in the smoke! An optimally efficient JUCA can have smoke temperatures of 250 F. We are thus able to capture an extra hundred degrees of heat from the smoke before it goes up the chimney! Voile! Very high efficiency!
And, up above, since the space between our heat exchanger tubes is also open, an extension could be added to the existing fireplace throat damper, so it hangs down between the JUCA's tubes. This would allow normal adjustment of that damper, just like before!
This configuration allows a JUCA L-8 heat exchanger to capture the radiation from the fire in all directions, because our heat exchange chambers totally surround the fire. It also captures much of the heat being carried away in the hot smoke, primarily by the presence of the tubular heat exchangers above the fire.
There are also a variety of more subtle design features incorporated in a JUCA L-8 to enhance performance. JUCA designers (and JUCA computers!) have gone to a lot of effort to maximize the performance of each and every Custom JUCA L-8 Fireplace Insert made.
The actual unit might have slightly different dimensions or ratings. These are just preliminary estimates that are usually quite close to the final figures.
Before you get too excited about wanting to get one of these, please read the Production Schedule info. Then, you may want to look at Plan B below.
If this interests you, please An Alternative to a Fireplace Insert.
JUCA Super-Fireplace Info Sheet Index for an Index of Many More Subjects.
E-mail: JUCA at JUCA e-mail
Even better, the Version 1 System includes a sub-system that is also a way of entirely Air Conditioning virtually any existing house in the United States nearly for FREE! In a spirit of hoping to assist California homeowners from enormous summer electric bills (and power outages), this sub-system is being made available, for FREE, at Free Home Air Conditioning We hope that, if enough California homeowners would install the simple system, maybe the power companies and the energy grid could keep up with the Summer high demand for electricity. Since we're giving this information away, you could probably help some of those California homeowners to tremendously reduce their summer electric bills and maybe help avert blackouts out there, so let any of your California friends know about that possibility available to them!
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