Have you ever found yourself admiring the charm of a wood-burning fireplace but wishing it was a bit more convenient? With the increasing popularity of gas fireplaces, many homeowners are now considering converting their traditional wood fireplaces to gas.
At Lindemann, we know all about repairing and replacing fireplaces including conversions. We will explore the benefits of converting a wood fireplace to gas, factors to consider before making the switch, and the conversion process itself.
Benefits of Converting a Wood Fireplace to Gas
There are many benefits to converting a wood fireplace to a gas fireplace. Some of those benefits include increased convenience, less environmental impact, and additional safety and health benefits. Let’s take a deeper look into these benefits.
- Ease of use: With a gas fireplace, you can simply turn it on and off with the flip of a switch, eliminating the need for firewood and kindling.
- Low maintenance: Gas fireplaces require less cleaning and upkeep than wood-burning fireplaces, as there’s no ash, soot, or creosote buildup.
- Instant heat and temperature control: Gas fireplaces provide immediate heat and allow you to easily control the temperature and flame height.
- Lower emissions: Gas fireplaces produce fewer pollutants compared to wood-burning fireplaces, making them a more eco-friendly choice.
- Greater energy efficiency: Gas fireplaces tend to be more efficient in converting fuel to heat, which can help reduce your energy bills.
- Sustainable fuel source: Natural gas is an abundant and renewable resource, unlike wood, which requires deforestation.
Safety and Health Benefits
- Fewer fire hazards: Gas fireplaces have a lower risk of chimney fires due to the absence of creosote buildup.
- Reduced indoor air pollution: Gas fireplaces emit fewer particles and gasses, improving indoor air quality.
- No need for wood storage: Eliminating the need for wood storage reduces the risk of insect infestations and wood-borne diseases.
Factors to Consider Before Converting
Now that you know the benefits of converting your wood-burning fireplace into a gas fireplace, there are a few other things to consider before deciding. Some of the factors to consider include the compatibility of your current fireplace, the cost of conversion, as well as your local building codes.
Fireplace Structure and Compatibility
- Size and design: Ensure that your existing fireplace can accommodate a gas insert and has the necessary venting options.
- Venting options: Determine if your fireplace can support a direct vent or vent-free gas insert.
- Gas line accessibility: Check the proximity of your fireplace to an existing gas line or the feasibility of installing one.
Costs and Budget
- Conversion expenses: Factor in the cost of purchasing a gas insert and any additional materials needed for the conversion.
- Installation fees: Account for the cost of hiring a professional to install the gas insert and connect the gas line.
- Operating costs: Consider the ongoing costs of using natural gas versus wood for heating.
Local Regulations and Building Codes
- Permit requirements: Research if your local jurisdiction requires a permit for converting a wood fireplace to gas.
- Inspection and approval: Find out if a professional inspection is required before and after the conversion.
- Compliance with safety standards: Ensure your conversion meets local building codes and safety regulations.
Conversion Process From Wood To Gas Chimney
If you’ve considered all of the factors and decided that a gas fireplace is right for you, then it’s time to learn about the conversion process. The first step is to select a gas fireplace insert. Then, have a professional install the insert for you. Lastly, proper maintenance is necessary in order to safely use your new gas fireplace for years to come.
Selecting a Gas Fireplace Insert
- Vented vs. vent-free options: Choose between a vented gas insert, which requires a chimney or venting system, or a vent-free option that doesn’t require venting.
- Log sets and flame appearance: Pick a gas insert with realistic-looking logs and flame effects to suit your aesthetic preferences.
- Heat output and efficiency: Consider the heating capacity and efficiency of the gas insert to ensure it meets your heating needs.
- Importance of hiring a certified technician: A certified technician can ensure proper installation, gas line connection, and adherence to safety regulations.
- Gas line installation: The technician will install a gas line to your fireplace or connect it to an existing gas supply, ensuring a safe and secure connection.
- Venting system setup: If you’ve chosen a vented gas insert, the technician will install the necessary venting system or modify your existing chimney to accommodate the new insert.
- Regular inspections: Schedule annual inspections of your gas fireplace by a professional to ensure safe operation and optimal performance.
- Cleaning and servicing: Although gas fireplaces require less maintenance than wood-burning fireplaces, periodic cleaning of the glass, burner, and other components is necessary.
- Safety precautions: Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for using and maintaining your gas fireplace to minimize potential hazards.
Converting a wood fireplace to gas offers numerous benefits, including convenience, environmental advantages, and improved safety. Before making the switch, it’s essential to consider factors such as fireplace compatibility, costs, and local regulations. Choosing the right gas insert and enlisting the help of a professional technician for installation will ensure a successful and safe conversion.
Not only do we clean and inspect fireplaces throughout the Chicago area, we also offer gas fireplace conversion services. In as little as one day, you could be enjoying a new, updated unit in your home. By opting for a gas fireplace, you can enjoy the warmth and ambiance of a traditional fireplace with a cleaner, more efficient, and convenient heating solution.