During the colder months, nothing beats warming the house with a crackling fire. Place a kindling between the two logs such as dry leaves, twigs, bark, dried pine needles or small pieces of split, dried softwood. Once the wood is burning, the gas … Installation can range from $2,500 to $10,000 depending upon whether if there is a chimney in place. Log lighters are very safe to use in a wood burning fireplace. Understandably, it may seem a daunting task, but don't panic. Operating a traditional wood-burning fireplace is not difficult if you follow a few simple guidelines. Air-Cooled Chimney System. Converting an inefficient, polluting wood-burning fireplace will be good for your family and your pocketbook. Information about the device's operating system, Information about other identifiers assigned to the device, The IP address from which the device accesses a client's website or mobile application, Information about the user's activity on that device, including web pages and mobile apps visited or used, Information about the geographic location of the device when it accesses a website or mobile application. It will move either front to back, left to right, or in a clockwise or counterclockwise rotation. The purpose of venting systems for wood-burning fireplaces and wood stoves seems similar. The Worst Money Mistakes Homeowners Ever Make. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided to them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services. Adjust the damper as needed with the handle located inside of the chimney. These include converting the unit to use gas logs, using a gas fireplace insert, which also makes the fireplace much more efficient, or converting the fireplace to a vent-free appliance. In either case, a fireplace installer can determine whether your fireplace can be converted to a wood-burning version. STEP 6: Clean the Ashes The CSIA says you can leave a bed of ashes between one to two inches in the fireplace as an insulating layer, which helps the next fire to burn. The gas line must be safely disconnected before any work can begin. Natural gas fireplaces are certainly easy to use and maintain. First, you should begin by choosing the right fuel. With gas, you can have a roaring fire going within seconds at the simple press of a button or flip of a switch. Once you begin the operation of the gas fireplace, you can run the pilot light in one of two modes. Fender: Prevents logs and coals from rolling onto hearth. Read This First. Connect the gas line.Once your firebox is fully clean, and the chimney has been professionally cleaned (for wood burning fireplaces), it's time to connect the gas line to your new burner. Even if your wood is free and you enjoy the messy cleanup, wood burning doesn’t make sense for most homes. Grate: Raises logs to allow air circulation. STEP 4: Prime the Flue Now, gauge the temperature. When building a fire, put the logs toward the rear of the wood-burning fireplace and be sure to use kindling, not flammable liquids, to start the fire. Nothing beats the heat, smell, and crackle of a wood burning fireplace. A fireplace insert is a sealed box that is placed (inserted) into an existing masonry fireplace. When a gas fireplace with its venting system is built as part of the construction of the home, the builder made everything to operate safely only with gas. Because the existing chimney liner used by the wood fireplace is designed to burn only firewood, a gas fireplace insert would require the installation of a collinear gas insert liner in the fireplace flue to the chimney top. Gas fireplaces typically feature masonry that is both decorative and durable, able to withstand the heat of a gas flame. As a result, the old inefficient wood fireplace is upgraded to a new high-efficiency wood, gas, or propane fireplace that will produce more heat and use less fuel. The draft should reverse after a few minutes, making your fireplace ready for action. As the name implies, air-cooled systems use air for cooling. It’s easy to picture. You can choose either hardwood or softwood for the fire; while hardwoods like oak or maple burn longer and create more sustained heat, softwoods like cedar or pine start fires easier because they ignite quickly. First, you must call a Gas Safe Register engineer, who will disconnect your gas supply and cap off the connection. Options usually depend on the type of fireplace. Now I'm back to a wood-burning fireplace and I think I've had three fires in the past year, despite a good supply of wood. Many gas fireplaces in older homes were once designed to burn wood, but later converted by adding a gas line. You agree that BobVila.com may process your data in the manner described by our Privacy Policy. A gas to wood burning firebox conversion allows the use of the fireplace damper (not available for gas fireplaces). Let the primer dry for about 4-5 hours. This means that the tile, stonework and base for the fireplace can support an appropriately-sized pellet stove. The good news for homeowners who have a gas-fueled fireplace but who would prefer a wood-burning fireplace is that converting from gas to wood fuel may be an option. However, they can be very expensive. STEP 2: Gather the Kindling Gather kindling in a variety of sizes (small, medium, and large) for the proper fire-building technique that is outlined below. The fire should travel down, igniting the pieces underneath without prompting. Position large pieces of wood in the bottom of the fireplace in one row, perpendicular to the opening of the fireplace. Barnhart says the next step involves removing the gas logs or insert and either capping off the gas line or installing a gas log lighter. Everyone loves the coziness and warmth of a crackling wood-burning fire. But while wood-burning fireplaces should give you long-lasting and evenly burning flames, one simple mistake can fill your living room with smoke—or even spark a dangerous house fire. Although wood-burning fires smell and look great, they are messy and require constant attention. Whether you're looking for a greener way to heat your home or simply revamping your hearth, we're breaking down what it takes to make the change. Don’t close the damper until the fire is completely out and all the embers have stopped burning. Make sure the flue isn’t blocked by obstructions like an animal’s nest, especially if this is your first time using the fireplace. Make sure the stack takes up no more than half the height of your fireplace. There are also other considerations that need to taken into account when looking to have a wood stove installed in a fireplace. Store the container outdoors away from the house, and not in garages or on decks. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website. Also, you will need to invest in installing natural gas lines that run from your natural gas main pipe to the fireplace area. On a cold windy night, there’s only one thing better than a roaring fire, and that’s a roaring fire you can turn on and off with the flip of a switch. To emit less smoke and soot, make sure the wood is dry, well-seasoned, and split a minimum of six months ago. STEP 5: Build the Fire While there are multiple ways to build a fire, the CSIA recommends the top-down method, which produces less smoke and requires less tending. A fireplace screen should be at least 3 feet (0.91 m) high, and most common models are be made of fine, crossed wire on a flexible, three-part frame. Gas fireplaces burn cleaner, are easier to use, and require virtually no time to start and stop the fire. A wood-burning prefabricated fireplace will need a conversion kit, but masonry fireplaces have several options. Let the fire burn for as long as you’d like. Leave a few inches of ash in the firebox to help reflect heat and provide a bed for coals, which radiate heat. Copyright © 2020 Acton Media Inc. All rights reserved. As wonderful as wood is, there may eventually come a day when you’d like to convert your fireplace to gas. If you're thinking your fireplace needs a face lift, going from wood-burning to gas is a great way to crank up the appeal and functionality of your cozy centerpiece. Wood-burning stoves: Wood burning stoves have not been approved or tested for use with vent-free gas logs. Otherwise, the cold draft may cause smoke to blow into the room. Small fireplace fires generate less smoke and create less creosote buildup. Wood burning appliance venting is broken into two primary categories. If you start a fire with a closed damper, however, the smoke will have no escape route and circle back into the house. STEP 1: Stay Safe Before bringing out the lighter, it’s vital to understand safety precautions for using a fireplace. We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. Some gas fireplaces are built with the same type of masonry and ventilation system required for a wood-burning fireplace. Loosely crumple old newspaper and push it under the grate. Remove anything flammable within three feet of the fireplace in case stray sparks escape the hearth, and use a fireplace screen as well. A brick wood-burning fireplace can range from $5,500 to $11,000 for labor and materials without installation. Light the top of the stack with a single match. Attach the gas supply line to … This screen will catch any live sparks that leap out of the fire, and will also prevent larger logs from falling out. You should see up the flue without any obstructions if the damper is open; a closed damper will block your view entirely. Using a metal shovel, scoop ashes into a metal container with a tight-fitting lid. If your fireplace meets the safety requirements, there are some important advantages to burning vent-free gas logs in your wood-burning fireplace. The tiniest bits (which can take the form of wood shavings or bunched-up newspapers) should be at the very top. You don’t have to chop or store wood, tend to the fire, wait for it to burn out, or clean up ash. Poker: Used to push and positioning logs. Manufacturers approved termination (direct vent insert cap) is required to minimize animal and rain entry. Now add your smallest pieces of wood, making sure these pieces are very dry. A gas line can be installed in this fireplace style, which allows you to connect a log lighter to the hard pipe gas line that enters your firebox. Before the temperature starts to fall, there are several things you can do to make sure your wood-burning fireplace is safe and efficient.The National Fire Protection Association recommends chimneys be swept at least once … Here’s the proper technique for how to use a fireplace, with safety precautions every homeowner should know. But when you need to dispose of ashes, proceed with caution. Light a roll of newspaper and hold it against the open damper to send warm air into the flue. All three fireplaces are wood burning. A gas fireplace insert allows you to effectively replace an inept wood-burning system. Be sure to burn hard woods, such as hickory, ash, oak and hard maple. If I only had one fireplace in my home, I’d likely keep it as a wood burning fireplace. Note: Never burn trash, plastic, painted materials, or anything with chemical treatment like scraps of pressure-treated wood—these materials can release harmful chemicals into your home. If your fireplace is equipped with glass or metal doors, make sure they are closed before you go to bed. If the system hasn’t been recently inspected, hire a chimney sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) to do the job. The first is known as an air-cooled chimney system. The size of your fireplace will determine the size of the stove you can install. Fireplace Safety Check. Converting a Wood-Burning Fireplace into a Gas Fireplace? There is a difference in cost between wood-burning and gas fireplaces. They actually differ a great deal. Applying pipe thread sealant around the gas line connection on the burner. Weird & Wacky, Copyright © 2020 HowStuffWorks, a division of InfoSpace Holdings, LLC, a System1 Company. By Katelin Hill and Bob Vila. Whatever you don’t use can return to the firewood rack, best stored outdoors in an elevated and covered location. Had gas at my last house and used it morning and night, every day, from November to April. First, always double-check that your fire extinguisher, smoke detector, and carbon monoxide detector are each in working order (check those batteries!). Start by donning thick fireplace gloves and grabbing a metal poker. However, since I have three, I decided to change the one in my living room from wood burning to gas. But don't close it completely until the fire is out. Then finally apply a good latex paint that is suitable for the mortar. When that day comes, it’ll mean the end of buying, stacking and hauling wood. Next, take mid-sized pieces of wood, and stack four or five rows on top of the base layer in alternating directions. Venting a gas fireplace is essentially a more simple proposition than venting a wood-burning fireplace. Soft woods such as pine and spruce generally don't burn as well or provide as much heat. Some experts recommend using andirons instead of a grate, so that logs to drop onto the bed of coals where they burn more efficiently [source: If your damper is adjustable, gradually close it as the fire dies down to maintain a draft and limit cold air from coming down. When opened, it allows the smoke and ash to travel safely up the chimney. We do not recommend anyone use vent-free gas logs with a wood-burning stove. Keep a fireplace screen in front of the fireplace when in use. STEP 3: Open the Damper The damper is a movable plate inside the flue. You can then utilize your starter pipe to ignite your logs. A wood burning stove can be installed in an existing fireplace, subject to there being a sufficient amount of space available in the fireplace to hold a stove, and there being a proper chimney. Let it dry for a day and then apply the primer on the mortar – you can use any universal acrylic primer. Position large pieces of wood in the bottom of the fireplace in one row, perpendicular to the opening of the fireplace. Disclosure: BobVila.com participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for publishers to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. You're probably wondering about how to convert a gas fireplace to wood burning insert. The average cost of installing a natural gas outdoor fireplace can be two or three times that of a wood burning fireplace. Allow the first coat of paint to dry and then recoat the mortar to get the right finish. Gas fireplaces can be transformed to look, smell and sound like a traditional wood-burning fireplace. A gas fireplace can provide unparalleled convenience and the pleasure of a warm fire on a cold day, but many people believe nothing compares to the ambiance created by burning wood. Coals may take several hours or several days to completely cool, and ash could still be burning during that time. If you feel a rush of cold air (which usually occurs if the chimney is built on the outside of the house), then you need to prime the flue—in order words, you need to preheat it. Experts say the process to convert to a wood burning fireplace is relatively simple, once you’ve determined that all of the parts are in working order. If it can be converted, the gas line is capped. Check to make sure you opened it properly by sticking your head in the flue and looking upwards, using a flashlight if necessary. Fire screen: Keeps sparks from flying into the room. 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