Homeowners choose different types of fireplaces for a variety of reasons. Some enjoy the look, sound and aroma of real burning wood. Others like the unmatched convenience and neatness of a gas fireplace. To each his own, as they say, and sometimes preferences change. Homeowners who have a wood-burning fireplace but would like to convert it to a gas-burning appliance should know a few things before making this decision.
Wood-to-gas fireplace conversion is not a DIY job
The first thing to know is, the average homeowner isn’t capable of doing this conversion safely and properly. Danger is very likely to result when an untrained individual sets out to convert a wood-burning fireplace to gas. Along with the obvious concerns of correct and secure gas-line hookup, there are potential drafting issues, because wood fireplaces and gas fireplaces draft in very different ways and have different requirements for safe operation.
How will you bring gas to the fireplace?
Another consideration is whether or not you have a stable source of gas in the first place. If your home already receives natural gas for an oven or central heating, then it shouldn’t be difficult for a technician to run a gas line to the converted fireplace. If the area where you live has no natural gas, you’ll need to install an outside tank large enough to hold an appropriate amount of propane. (Some homeowners prefer propane, because it burns hotter than natural gas.)
Vented vs. non-vented
A qualified fireplace installer can outfit you with either a vented gas fireplace or a non-vented model. Styles that are not vented are very clean, easy to maintain and produce higher heat than a vented fireplace. On the other hand, vented gas fireplaces present a more traditional “look” of a real fire inside the firebox. Ask a professional about other differences in order to make the best choice.
Cleaning and inspection first
Regardless of the model and style of gas fireplace you want, it’s absolutely critical to have your entire wood fireplace and chimney system thoroughly inspected before initiating work. Wood-burning fireplaces can create havoc within a chimney, depositing large amounts of flammable creosote and, over time, eroding the bricks and mortar and even a chimney liner. It’s important to know the condition of your chimney and perform any necessary repairs before making a conversion to gas.
Hiring a technician
When seeking a person or company to convert a wood-burning fireplace to gas, check references! Just because someone says he can do the job for you doesn’t mean he can do it properly and with safety as the main objective. When you decide on someone, ask questions and make sure the answers you get make sense to you.
Marsh’s Stoves & Fireplaces of Toronto is your first choice for beautiful gas fireplaces, wood fireplaces, stoves, insert and a full line of hearth accessories. Visit us at our showroom at 3322 Dundas Street West. You can reach us by phone at (416) 762-4582.