Converting Your Fireplace from Wood to Gas
Having a fireplace is one of the simple joys in life for many homeowners. Do you know what isn’t one of those simple joys? Clean up. And, with a wood-burning fireplace, you have a lot of it every time you use the fireplace and annually when it comes to cleanup.
Don’t get us wrong, there are benefits to a wood-burning fireplace, but for many homeowners, the drawbacks are just too much. What can you do about it? You can convert to a gas fireplace! With a wood-burning fireplace, especially masonry ones, converting is very easy and will save you a lot of time.
Did You Know…
In larger metropolitan areas, such as Los Angeles, city ordinances actually prevent the use of wood-burning fireplaces. It’s necessary for some homeowners to convert to a gas fireplace in order to enjoy a real flame!
There are a ton of perks to converting your fireplace to gas! The main perk is saving your wallet! Either natural gas or propane can be easier to budget than wood. You can always plan ahead by pricing your local propane and utility company. Keep in mind that the initial addition of gas can be the most costly part. But it's totally worth it!
Gas is also much cleaner for the environment and even your home! A gas fireplace emits little to no smoke into your home or out a vent or chimney. Gas also burns hotter and more efficiently compared to wood.
The best part of a gas fireplace is that there is little to no cleanup and very little maintenance! Gas fireplaces are great for keeping your space leisurely and toxin-free!
All The Options...
It can be difficult to choose what you want and the differences with the choices. So let's make it simple. There are two types of gas options and also two types of fireplaces or inserts. Let's start with gas.
The two gas types are either natural gas or liquid propane. Natural gas is run to you through a local utility company and also maintained by that company. The gas lines are directly linked to the object that is using the gas and charged according to use (in most places). Liquid propane is used also on a grill or outdoor product for heating and cooking. But you can use the propane for your fireplace too! Most will get a larger tank installed and refill through a company as needed. You can also use smaller tanks that can be purchased at a local company or even at a gas station. Both are a great choice for your fireplace. This particular choice usually comes down to the pocket.
Natural gas is usually found to be the cheaper option as this is billed at a monthly rate based on usage at a set amount by a utility company. Whereas propane, is filled in tanks and the refills can become costly. This also greatly varies on usage. I suggest that you go through and figure out which would fit your needs best.
If you still are questioning the gas decision, check out our blog on the matter!
Next up the fireplace options. Most fireplaces come with some sort of venting or chimney option as wood makes smoke and smoke needs an escape. Gas emits little to no smoke or toxins but on most, you still require a vent of some sort. You have the choice to install gas logs that come in ventless or vented. Ventless gas accessories or installs do not require a vent to heat. They are lit with the gas and burn until you turn them off. Vented accessories do require a venting system as the intake air from inside and disperse the old outside.
Your second choice is going a little more modern with lava rocks, fireplace rocks, or shaped stone. They all work great with a gas fireplace but give your fireplace an edge it didn't have before. Just remember that there are burners that may need to be installed in order to gain the wanted effect.
It eventually will narrow down to what options best fit your needs within your home. All options will still give you style, comfort, and safety!
Converting Wood Burning Fireplaces to Gas
You can do this! But, not alone. Anytime a homeowner is installing or modifying a gas product it is important to consult with a professional. Let’s go through it step by step:
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to a gas fireplace—there’s a lot to consider that will affect what you get. For example, does your city or county allow vent free gas logs? If not, you can only get vented ones, and what about gas? Will you be using natural gas or propane? And, would it be beneficial to get a gas log set or simply invest in a gas fireplace insert?
These are all questions that should be answered before you go forward with the buying process. This varies according to the homeowner, location, and the structure its self, so if you aren’t sure please consult a professional contractor in your area.
Second: Inspect the Chimney!
This should be left up to a professional. If you’ve kept up with maintenance on your fireplace then this should be a quick and inexpensive step. If there is damage in the chimney then a professional will need to repair it or install a chimney liner to make it safe for continued use.
Third: Install the Gas Equipment
While technically you could do this yourself, it is easier and ultimately less stressful to have a professional do it. A professional gas installer already has to lay the gas lines, so having a professional to install the needed gas components into your firebox just makes things easier all around on everyone.
While the whole process is straightforward and part of it can be done by the homeowner, it’s best to have a professional handle most or all of the projects. With fireplaces, it’s far too easy to miss small details that become costly ones later when your new gas appliance is inspected.
Always number one in your list of a to-do when converting or making any changes. Luckily this one is pretty cut and dry. Not only are gas fireplaces more heat and energy-efficient, but they also are much safer to use.
When compared to a wood fireplace, gas does not emit any smoke or toxins into your home or environment. You don't have to worry about much in the way of safety and there are other precautions that can be taken to avoid any tiny hands or paws to get to the flame. Some options are fireplace doors or mesh curtains.
We want you to take all necessary precautions when converting your fireplace. Please reach out to a professional if gas needs to be installed in your home.
One question, other than if you can do it yourself, is about the cost. How much does it cost to convert your wood-burning fireplace to gas? Well, that’s a good question. It depends on several factors, including:
- The type of fireplace you have
- Any repairs that need to be done
- What gas products you need or want
- Prices of contractors and professionals in your area
Contact us at 888.986.1535 or by emailing us at [email protected] and we can help you find a certified contractor in your area! We have a list of FDO approved professionals that we’d trust to install our own fire products, so you can rest assured that they’ll do a good job for you!