So You Want To Convert Your Gas Fireplace
To Wood Burning
Can I convert my gas fireplace into a beautiful, traditional wood-burning fireplace?
A gas fireplace gives you and your family warmth with convenience and ease. Perhaps, you’re also wanting the scent, the sound and the style of enjoying a wood fireplace. It’s normal to have questions about how possible it is to convert your fireplace. What will it cost? Is it safe? Will it be a total mess in my living room? Who can do it professionally? If you want the lovely experience and family memories around a wood fire in your living room, converting a gas fireplace to wood-burning could be more possible than you might think.
Is converting your fireplace from gas to wood possible?
Not all gas fireplaces can be turned into wood-burning fireplaces. Converting a fireplace to wood is only possible with fireplaces originally built for wood. A wood-burning fireplace must have the proper, safe chimney and venting system.
If the gas fireplace is the original construction in your home, you will likely need significant work done on the chimney before switching. There are some important safety factors. First, it is very dangerous to use wood in a gas fireplace. Doing so will send a great deal of smoke into your home and could be a bigger danger.
Next, any work with natural gas should be done by a qualified professional. Third, any chimney or fireplace work done in a conversion should be inspected before put into use.
One more important consideration could be any neighborhood, municipality or environmental regulations. There could be rules about historic homes, homeowner associations or environmental restrictions. It’s far better to know these issues before starting a big project rather than find out during or, worse yet, face fines or legal problems later.
What to know about venting
The proper venting systems for gas fireplaces are different than what’s needed for wood. Gas fires release a small amount of smoke and by-products. Wood fires release a lot of smoke. Any conversion, from gas to wood or wood to gas, will need an inspection, then renovation or a new system, of the chimney, its venting system, liner, flue and cap.
It’s important the chimney is examined to make sure it’s the appropriate and safe fit for the new fireplace and fuel. Installing a stainless steel flue is a good option in general for a wood-burning fireplace.
How will the conversion project go
After the chimney inspection and, if needed, work, the work on the fireplace itself can go forward. This may involve removing the gas logs, installing a damper and installing a proper wood grate. You’ll choose either capping the gas line or converting it to a gas log lighter. A gas log lighter is often an easier, safer way of starting a fire. A grate for wood is necessary since a wood fire generates more heat than a gas fire.
It’s possible to do part of this project DIY style. It could be safer and more assured to call a professional, though. Only a professional should work on anything involving natural gas.
How much does a fireplace conversion usually cost
A cost estimate on this type of project depends a lot on the venting system and chimney work. The age of the home and chimney, plus any previous damage by fire or water, can add expense. Most gas to wood conversions add up to about a few hundred dollars or less if you’re able to take care of some of the work.
Wood-burning fireplace maintenance
Maintenance and inspections are vital parts of enjoying a wood-burning fireplace safely. Buildup of creosote is the most likely and highly dangerous cause of chimney fires in wood fireplaces. A professional inspection will catch wear or damage to parts such as the flue, cap and lining. You should get your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned once or twice a year.
At South End Heating & Air we specialize in gas connection and fire place install for a free consult. We’ll evaluate your system and help make recommendations for optimum value. After all, we want to keep you cool all summer long and warm in the winter. Just schedule a visit with one of our technicians to talk about how we can help with your thermostat’s settings. Would you like to learn more options our techs can help you with? give us a call 704-684-5339