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Converting gas fireplace back to wood burning fireplace ?

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  • Nov 28th, 2006 8:31 am
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Deal Expert
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May 8, 2005
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Converting gas fireplace back to wood burning fireplace ?

My home has a gas fireplace. My home was originally built / designed with a fireplace that was to burn wood. The previous owner had it converted to a gas fireplace - which is what we now use.

I grew up with wood burning fireplaces. We don't use the gas fireplace much now as it is. And, although I'm aware of al the energy / thermal reasons that makes gas a " superior " choice to wood - I still miss the a wood fireplace and am thinking of converting back to a wood burning fireplace.

Couple of questions...


[INDENT]- anyone converted a gas fireplace back to wood - with success or any regrets ?

- is it possible to reconfigure the existing gas line I now have as a part of the gas fireplace to be used as a starter / igniter for the wood in a wood burning fireplace ?

- am I nuts for bailing on gas ? :)
[/INDENT]
10 replies
Deal Addict
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Mar 27, 2003
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Yes, you are nuts for bailing on gas.

You might as well bypass wood and move directly to electric. :razz:
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Deal Addict
Sep 19, 2005
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Totally nuts!!!

My home had a wood burning fireplace and one of the first things I changed. With a wood burning fireplace you might as well open all the windows up as you are sending all the heat from the furnace out of the home. Totally inefficient and messy. Also something to consider,,, your insurance company probably won't like the fact you have one and increase your home insurance premiums.
Don't forget also the chimney needs regular cleaning,,,,,, I respond to a tonne of calls every yr for chimney fires and they can make a hell of a mess and damage.

Gas is so much more easier and cleaner!!!
Deal Addict
Mar 21, 2006
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Burlington, Ontario
And depending on your municipality, they may not even grant a permit for a wood burning fireplace. Many stopped that years ago to cut down on carbon emissions or something.
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fireguy9 wrote:
Nov 27th, 2006 9:25 am
Totally nuts!!!

My home had a wood burning fireplace and one of the first things I changed. With a wood burning fireplace you might as well open all the windows up as you are sending all the heat from the furnace out of the home. Totally inefficient and messy.
Well, as I alluded to earlier " I'm aware of all the energy / thermal reasons that makes gas a " superior " choice to wood ". But in our case, we don't have the fireplace " on " a lot. We might use the fireplace 1 or 2 times ( max ) a week during the cold months - and not for the express purpose to heat a room per say - but more for atmosphere etc. As for heat from the furnace, the cost of heating isn't an issue for me in general, and given we'd use the fireplace infrequently, I can't see the extra cost because of a wood burning fireplace being a big issue for us. It's not so much a case of which is cheaper for us. Ditto with messy - i grew up with wood fireplaces - so it's sort of a non-issue with me as well...tho it would be more work that it is now.
fireguy9 wrote:
Nov 27th, 2006 9:25 am
Also something to consider..... your insurance company probably won't like the fact you have one and increase your home insurance premiums.
Good point. Again, as with furnace costs, added premium costs are something i hadn't thought of, but wouldn't be an issue as " cheaper " or not isn't an issue for us. Which one is " cheaper " is irrevelant to me.

fireguy9 wrote:
Nov 27th, 2006 9:25 am
Don't forget also the chimney needs regular cleaning,,,,,, I respond to a tonne of calls every yr for chimney fires and they can make a hell of a mess and damage.
Good point .....something worth considering.
fireguy9 wrote:
Nov 27th, 2006 9:25 am
Gas is so much more easier and cleaner!!!
Easier is irrelevant to me but cleaner is - good point. I don't mind the costs to clean a chimney, but on a larger " clean " issue - you sort of struggle with burining a renewable resource like wood ( as a plus ) with the emissions the wood releases into the environment ( as a negative.)
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BuildingHomes wrote:
Nov 27th, 2006 10:40 am
And depending on your municipality, they may not even grant a permit for a wood burning fireplace. Many stopped that years ago to cut down on carbon emissions or something.
Never thought of that. I'd have to look into that, as I'm not sure it's an issue in my case - as many of my neighbours have them ( wood burning fireplaces ) judging from the deliveries of firewood on the street these past few months.
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Aug 22, 2003
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Hmmm... you may be opening a huge can of worms. Lots of gas inserts were retofitted due to bad chimneys. The exaust and air intake pipes could be run up the chimney easily to get that fireplace working. It was cheaper to install a gas insert than to fix the chimney. Insurance can be a huge issue. I know when we were heating with wood there we quite a few companies that wouldn't touch us for insurance. The one that did required an inspection (at our cost) yearly and receipts for 2 chimney cleaning a year.

Poedua, the energy inefficiency issue is that with wood burning fireplaces the heat from your furnace can be escaping up the chimney 24/7, even with the damper closed. It's not just an issue when the fireplace is in use.
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Sep 19, 2005
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On the chimney cleaning issue,,,,, without doing that regularly, you are sitting on a possible house fire waiting to happen which it will,,,, just a matter of when!!!!

That is a big reason for insurance companies not wanting to insure a home with one
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CSK'sMom wrote:
Nov 27th, 2006 11:12 am
Hmmm... you may be opening a huge can of worms. Lots of gas inserts were retofitted due to bad chimneys. The exaust and air intake pipes could be run up the chimney easily to get that fireplace working. It was cheaper to install a gas insert than to fix the chimney. Insurance can be a huge issue. I know when we were heating with wood there we quite a few companies that wouldn't touch us for insurance. The one that did required an inspection (at our cost) yearly and receipts for 2 chimney cleaning a year.
Good points. Guess we better touch base on the insurance to see what - if any - issues are at hand. Actually, there is no insert or retrofitting of any kind - just the brick firewall from the pre-existing wood fireplace and the previous owner seems to of simply put in a gas line and put those fake " gas logs " in - that's it ( i think this actually may have been a " non-code " install )
CSK'sMom wrote:
Nov 27th, 2006 11:12 am
Poedua, the energy inefficiency issue is that with wood burning fireplaces the heat from your furnace can be escaping up the chimney 24/7, even with the damper closed. It's not just an issue when the fireplace is in use.
Another good point ....I'll try and look into this a bit more. Thanks
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fireguy9 wrote:
Nov 27th, 2006 1:34 pm
On the chimney cleaning issue,,,,, without doing that regularly, you are sitting on a possible house fire waiting to happen which it will,,,, just a matter of when!!!!

That is a big reason for insurance companies not wanting to insure a home with one
And given my past relationship with " Murphy" and his " Laws " - it would likely happen to me. :)
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Feb 1, 2006
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Wouldn't you also need to install a chimney? My house doesn't have one, like almost all newer homes.
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