Masonry FP with old gas line

dave11July 20, 2008

In the floor of my LR FP (built in 1951) there's the stub of a gas line coming up which appears to have been placed when the FP was built, presumably as a gas starter for wood fires. Now itâs soft and rusty, and could never be used. The pipe no longer connects to the main gas line in the basement.

My question is about replacing it. It seems to me that the pipe must run through a bed of mortar below the firebrick, and so to replace it, the bed of the firebox would have to be torn up. But Iâm no expert on 1950âs masonry fireplaces.

And if it canât be replaced, does that also mean that a new gas line cannot be placed to rise up into the firebox? Iâve heard that many older masonry FPs need gas lines run through exterior walls for this reason. Iâm just trying to gauge the work needed to install a gas insert.


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Assuming you are interested in a gas insert that will be energy efficient and produce serious heat, I do not believe you need to worry too much about the condition of the seal in the old masonry where the old gas pipe comes in.

Let's assume that this old gas pipe can be removed with minimal damage to the masonry, and a new one installed that will connect to a functioning gas line. Your insert will then be connected to the new gas line. The kind of insert I have in mind is one with DIRECT VENT technology. This insert is essentially a sealed firebox with 2 vents that go up the chimney, one to exhaust the fumes, and other to bring in fresh air to feed the combustion. Indoor air quality is unaffected.

Your insert will be a sealed firebox installed within the existing firebox. You will need a fireplace surround that will attractively cover the small empty space around the insert so it looks like it was there from Day 1. Most inserts come with such parts.

I would google "direct vent gas fireplace insert" to learn more about them. We bought one of these before last winter. It produces a lot of heat. I strongly recommend getting the hand held remote thermostat. Otherwise you'll either roast or turn the thing on and off repeatedly. Installation takes about a whole day and can be a little bit tricky. Make sure you go with an experienced installer with a proven track record. And be prepared to spend money -- ours cost over $4k.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 8:53PM
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