Installing gas log fireplace in a wood burning fp

pollyannaOctober 24, 2010

I know someplace this is addressed but wonder if someone can give me a link or the answer.

We have a regular wood burning brick fireplace with just screens on it. Also the fireplace was installed with a clean out in the floor, you remove a brick and it becomes a sweep out to outside the back of the fireplace, where there is a trap door to open and clean out ash. So, its probably not super air tight. We are having a chimminey cleaner come out to check it and clean it. It has a damper that opens and closes. We have gas nearby outside and are thinking it would be nice to install gas logs and a remote. We had a huge super efficient Mendota in a home we built, we miss it. I cant put an efficient insert in - too many other projects come first, so it would be years out. Im wondering if there is any benefit to a simple gas log insert with a blower or a glass door set that would prevent alot of draft and if it would be a huge waste of energy to have this. Last year we only used it with duralogs like 5 times and they are expensive and dont give much ambiance, wood is so messy but doable. Just wondering if a cheap gas insert with any certain equipment would be worth installing. The house is not super large and doesnt get real cold, this would just be for a little warmth and for fun. I am just trying to see if theres a way to prevent the rest of the heat from going up the flue and get a little weekend use from the fireplace with no mess. This seemed to be a simple project which wouldnt be too expensive. My husband is a general contractor, he helped with our last build and is super handy. I am fishing for ideas from anyone who has done this with success and what you installed, I have heard about special cast iron fireplace back plates to retain heat, and wonder if there are any recommendations for blowers or anything to boost gas log efficiency? I am aware of all the hazards with air quality. This isnt a normal DIY but since my dh put in all our plumbing and electrical and gas appliances and ducting - Im not concerned about that. He is very careful, and does everything to code. Im just wondering if anyone has had any success with this and if there are any particular products that we should look into.

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Sorry I mentioned I wanted a gas log insert, I should have said I want to install a gas lot set, not a fireplace insert.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 6:29PM
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First of all, there is a 30% tax credit (on parts and labor!) on better-quality inserts right now if you can get them in service (not just paid for) by Dec. 31. I suggest you see if you can get an insert job done; Maybe Uncle Sam will pay for the insert if you cover the labor.

Now for your main question about doing it without an insert. I looked into this once and concluded that without an insert, gas log conversions from any type wood burning fireplace are mainly for ambience, not heat. The best I could come up with was, I learned that some RH Petersen logs with GF in the part number are designed to work with doors closed and thus keep the heat in the firebox instead of going up the flue. Maybe we could hear from someone with GF logs. There are also some other brands that advertise "reduced vent" logs, you might ask about those. In both cases I have my doubts about, even if it does produce heat, how much, and is it practical to get it to work with a thermostat.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 2:11AM
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