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Converting a Log Burning Fireplace
Paragon C&D Builders / Vallone Real Estate
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 • Posted January 12, 2012 2:57 PM

Fireplaces are a great addition to any home. Not only do they add warmth and save on heating costs, but they are a great decorative addition to any home.

There are two main types of fireplaces: log or wood burning and gas.

A log burning fireplace is just that – it burns logs and real flames. To have a log burning fireplace in your home, you need a chimney or flue (actually there is also a pellet stove, but we won’t go into that one).

Gas fireplaces are fueled by gas rather than wood, and many people are finding that gas fireplaces are more convenient and efficient. The following are some pros of gas fireplaces:

• Less mess – With a log burning fireplace, you have to deal with messes, wood, kindling, and cleaning out the fireplace. You also have to make sure you have your chimney cleaned on a regular basis. A gas fireplace is not messy. The air produced is cleaner as well.

• Energy efficient – Many people like gas because it is energy efficient. A natural gas fireplace costs, on average, $110 a year to operate. A log burning fireplace is over twice that, with the average operating cost at $250 a year. Gas fireplaces also warm up a room quickly.

• More convenient – With a gas fireplace, you simply start a fire with the flick of a switch, rather than having to gather wood and start a fire.

If you have a log burning fireplace and would like to convert it to a gas one, you’re in luck – it’s very simple and also affordable. Here are some tips for converting a log burning fireplace to gas:

• Purchase a natural gas insert – This is a self contained box that has a glass or ceramic front. It will fit inside your existing log burning fireplace. The insert contains a burner, as well as ceramic logs, giving the appearance of a real log burning fireplace. As a general rule, ceramic fronts are a wiser purchase. They are shatter-proof and they also help to transfer heat throughout the room more efficiently.

• Make sure you know the measurements – Because fireplaces come in all sizes, when shopping, make sure you know the dimensions (height, width, and depth) of your current fireplace so you know what size insert to get.

• Know the heating output you want – The BTU output is basically how much heat will be generated. It goes from 10,000 to 40,000 BTU. Talk with an expert about what you will need; the more BTU, the larger the room. If you want or need more heat, you should consider one with a secondary heat exchanger.

• Get a circulating fan – A model that has a squirrel cage circulating fan will be quieter to operate, and it will also push more heat around.

• Get direct-vent gas – This type of ventilation for your gas fireplace is safer, as well as more efficient. You should also make sure it has an automatic starter rather than a pilot light (this way, you can start your fire with a switch instead of having to light it).

Once you have the chosen the right model for you, your retailer will schedule the installation (this is not a do-it-yourself job). A technician will then convert your log fireplace into gas by attaching a gas line and installing a chimney liner, which typically takes 4-6 hours. Then, you can enjoy the convenience of your new gas fireplace.

Information for this article was taken from

For all your real estate and building needs or questions, call Debbie at 830-833-4249 or 713-818-6658, or send an email to debbie@vallone

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