Convert Fireplace to Gas

3 Alternatives to a Wood-Burning Fireplace
December 26, 2015 – 01:03 pm

Direct vent gas fireplaceBut if you haven’t gotten the memo, cozying up to a wood-burning fire is an impractical and even risky pleasure. Here’s the deal:

  • Traditional fireplaces are heat thieves. The chimney sucks up 90% of the warmth a fire creates and siphons off some of your home’s heated air, according to the EPA. And that ratchets up your energy bills.
  • Inhaling burning wood smoke is as harmful as smoking; wood smoke is loaded with carcinogens like benzene.
  • Lighting up logs fuels global warming. The soot your fire creates is a heat-trapping pollutant.
  • Wood-burning fireplaces need lots of maintenance, including routine ash cleanup and a professional cleaning every other year to keep combustible creosote at bay. (Both gas and wood fireplaces need an annual inspection.)

Enough buzzkill. Here are our three favorite alternatives to burning wood. And all are great solutions whether or not you have a working chimney and fireplace.

Electric gas insert fireplace1. Direct-Vent Gas Insert Fireplace

Installation Pro install required to properly vent fumes outside through the roof or wall. Also need a pro plumber to hook up the gas line. Permanent option.
Fuel Gas
Pollutants Flame is behind glass, so pollutants are expelled via the vent, not into the house.
Fire Produces a real fire.
Sound and Scent No crackle or wood-burning scent.
Cost Expensive. Including installation, prices range from $2, 000 to $5, 000. Since it uses gas, it could increase your utility bill a bit, but these units don’t have the heat loss associated with a wood-burning fireplace. To help offset the expense, turn down your thermostat while you’re enjoying your fire.
Maintenance Before using each season, have a pro remove the dust that collected inside the fireplace around its internal components and on its glass screen.

This video shows how a pro cleans a direct vent fireplace:

2. Electric Fireplace Insert

Some just need to be plugged in to a grounded outlet, so you’ll likely be able to install it yourself. Can be moved to other rooms.
It’s faux for sure, but new models use LED lights to suggest realistic flames.
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Moda Flame Moda Flame Birch 18" Convert to Ethanol Fireplace Log Set Grate
Home (Moda Flame)
  • Finish: Black Grate and lightweight ceramic wood logs
  • Burner: 1 x 1.5 Liter 18 PRO Burner made of 304 Stainless Steel
  • BTU: 6,; Flame 8 - 12 High / Burn Time: Approximately 4-6 Hours
  • This ventless ethanol fireplace log grate insert requires no electric, gas, chimney or gel cans.
  • Item Dimensions: 18W x 4.7H x 13.4D 19.6 lbs. - Moda Flame ethanol fireplace recommended (not included)
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