From wood to gas

vikki_waOctober 13, 2008

We would like to convert our wood burning fireplace (built in 1954, no fan) to gas. I don't like the look of gas inserts and don't want the inefficiency of simply plumbing in a gas logset. What I want is a gas fireplace that can be vented out the existing chimney. Is it safe to assume we have to remove all or most of the existing firebox? What is involved in a project of this kind? Also, we have a second fireplace directly below in the basement so our chimney has two "chambers".

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fandlil

A gas insert is essentially a sealed firebox fitted inside your existing firebox. Your existing firebox is not removed, but may need to be modified slightly, for instance, if it is equipped with attached grates on which you pile on the wood.

A direct vent system is the optimal because it is sealed and does not adversely affect indoor air quality. It is energy efficient, clean and safe. But it is the most costly and complicated to install because 2 vents are attached to the insert and installed into the chimney. So your chimney would have to be checked out by a competent installation contractor to find out if it can be done.

The alternatives are vented and ventless gas logs. I think ventless are a big mistake. You can find out why by doing a search for ventless on this forum. Vented gas logs are pretty -- they make a nice "realistic" flame, actually more realistic than the real thing. But most of the heat goes up the chimney, so they are not energy efficient. They work reasonably well in taking the chill out of the air when the outside temp is about 40. But if you think you will want serious heat, you should go with direct vent.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 9:34PM
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