The home we recently purchased, built in 1974, has a Martin BWH-36A Octa-Therm fabricated fireplace.

A chimney sweep informed us that this fireplace is no longer manufactured, but our chimney is in good shape. However, its blower fans ("circulating air inlets" in the image below) weren't working.

We called in an electrician and got the fans working. However, upon opening the blower grates, the electrician found that the ductwork openings were stuffed with insulation.

We cleared out the insulation around the blower fans. Then, on a hunch, we checked the upper and outside air inlets and outlets: they're all stuffed with insulation as well.

I found a copy of the manual, linked above, at the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) Manual Library's 'M' page.

Here's an image from the 1st page. We've checked the 6 openings shown in the image:

Martin BWH-36A Octa-Therm Fireplace Diagram

Who would we call now to check and test that all the ductwork is in good shape, clear, and safely usable???

EDIT: I'm not asking for a service recommendation; rather I'm asking for what kind of professional would check the ducting.

I would've thought a chimney sweep would do that, but he didn't seem interested. The electrician clearly wouldn't do ducting. Should I try a different chimney sweep? Or, do I call an HVAC professional? Or, ...???

UPDATE: Contacted our fire department, as suggested. They didn't have any information on contractors. Per their experience, though, they stated that, since stuffed with insulation, the fireplace probably has hidden issues. We should not use it till we find a builder or other specialist to literally pull the firebox, et al, out and inspect it. Ugh.

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Unfortunately, "where can I get service?" questions are off-topic here, although contacting the manufacturer seems like an obvious first choice. Please take our tour so you'll know how best to participate here. Commented Dec 8, 2019 at 17:38
  • Yes, @DanielGriscom. I probably should've specified "what type of professional" should I contact. The chimney sweep did that basics around the chimney, but didn't do the fans or seemingly the ducting part (though I would think that was part of the chimney, essentially). An electrician did the fans, but obviously wouldn't do the ducting part. So, what kind of professional looks at the ducting part? I'll edit my question....
    – leanne
    Commented Dec 8, 2019 at 20:02
  • Also, @DanielGriscom, the manufacturer is long gone, out of business.
    – leanne
    Commented Mar 6, 2020 at 7:26

1 Answer 1


Unless you can be 100% sure you removed all of the insulation, probably put there be a previous owner, you're smart to want it thoroughly checked out. Try calling your local fire department on their non-emergency line or stop by the station. They will usually have some numbers for you to call to get the fire place checked out. They have a great interest in keeping you safe. Also check all your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for correct operation. Good luck and enjoy.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.