Fireplace - Gas / Wood? - Key Problem!

sweebyNovember 20, 2008

We have a problem and a couple of questions regarding the fireplace in our home.

- Question: There is a gas line with a key and gas logs, but also a 'real' chimney with a flue that opens and closes. Does this mean the fireplace can use either gas (with the gas logs) or burn 'regular' wood? So far, we have only used the gas and gas logs, which works wonderfully well since in our climate, we want holiday ambience more than heat, and the 'easy on/instant off' aspect is so convenient. So question #1 is Can we burn wood? (And if so, do we need to remove the pebbles, sand and faux ember 'fluff' on the bottom of the fireplace?)

- Problem & Question: The 'key' that turns on the gas pulled out of the fireplace. The decorative 'key' end is attached to a long square rod that fits into a square hole to turn on the gas at the other end. Except we can't seem to fit the square rod back into the hole! And it's behind 18" of cinderblock and cultured stone veneer on the front side, and firebrick and mortar on the inside. So does anyone know of any way to fit the rod back into the hole? Preferably short of demolishing the fireplace?

All help appreciated!

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as to teh wood/gas, just because it has a flue means nothing. you MUST vent a gas fire as well as a wood fire. the difference is in teh type of chimney. wood fires burn hotter than gas fires, and can melt some liners so unless you get it inspected and are 100% certain it is setup for either, do not burn wood.

as to the key, i am having a hard time understanding what pulled out, the key itself is removable. if the guts of the valve pulled out, then you would likely have a gas leak!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 3:14PM
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You can't switch back and forth between gas and wood. To use wood you'd need to remove the gas log set and gas burner and the piping leading to it from the side or back of the fireplace, and plug the hole with furnace cement to prevent ember from getting into the wood work.

From your comments, you don't want to do that, so continue using it as a gas log fire.

I'm presuming that the valve key is long enough, but you just can't see where it should go. If that's the case, use a flashlight to look in the hole and see if you can see the fitting on the gas valve the key fits upon.

If you can't, you'd probably have to unscrew the chrome bezzel that frames the hole in your wall, removing the bezzel and the pipe fitting attached to it that screws into the gas valve at the other end.

You'd need to figure out what is obstructing the valve key from fitting on the valve. It's not unusual for the hole in the wall and the valve to not line up well, making it difficult to get the key on it.

That might require expanding the size of the hole in the wall so that the bezzel and pipe extension fit properly on the valve.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 5:06PM
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Thanks for the helpful comments!
And yes, I guess we really do want gas, but we also want a fire for the holidays and time is against us...

We've tried using a bright, narrow-beam flashlight, but can't see that far into the hole. And it really IS far -- about 18-22" into the wall. In other words, there's no chrome bezel to unscrew to get there. We remodelled the fireplace to bump forward the lower section about 15" -- it used to be just a flat brick face. There's a 1/2" diameter copper pipe between the valve and the stone face, so now the valve is wa-a-ay back there...

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 7:48PM
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i have to disagree, you don't HAVE to remove the piping just cap it off. this is how mine, my parents, and every other gas/wood capable FP i have seen is setup. yes, it is a pain to switch back and forth, but is easier than you state.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 7:49PM
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