Gas Fireplace conversion

How To: Options for converting a fireplace to natural gas
September 4, 2014 – 11:22 am

Question:I’m the original owner of a 17-year-old townhouse with a wood-burning fireplace that’s seldom used because of the heat loss. The heating system and water heater run on natural gas, so I’m thinking of converting the fireplace to one that burns gas, as well. The fireplace is at the back of the townhouse, about eight feet from where the gas line enters the house.

Is this type of conversion advisable? What are my options (i.e., vented or ventless)? And what is the approximate cost for making this type of conversion? I’m hoping not to have to make a lot of structural changes.

— Alexandria

Answer: You have several options: a gas fireplace kit, a vent-free gas fireplace and a gas fireplace insert. None involve structural changes, but there are significant differences in aesthetics, energy efficiency, and effects on the air inside your townhouse. Having a gas line within eight feet is great, because basic installation costs often include hooking up to a gas line within 10 feet.

A gas log kit (about $850 installed, or maybe $200 more if you want remote-control flames) will give you the look of an open fire but not a lot of heat. The big downside is that installers must lock the damper into a partially open position. That guards against someone lighting the fire and forgetting to open the vent, which could flood your home with carbon monoxide. Having the damper open all of the time, of course, means that you’re losing heated or cooled air all the time — not the solution you’re seeking. To avoid that, you’d also need to install tight-fitting glass doors. Although these cost as little as $700, ones that are truly airtight start about $1, 700, says Nancy Bart, a saleswoman at the Bromwell’s fireplace shop in Falls Church (703-207-9800; www.bromwellsthe So the cost of switching to gas logs could top $2, 500.

A vent-free gas fireplace (maybe $850 installed) is another option. Because no exhaust would go up the chimney, you’d keep all of the heat in the room, and you could still have an open fire. However, all the combustion exhaust would also wind up inside, as would all the moisture released by the burning gas. That’s why vent-free gas fireplaces aren’t recommended when anyone in a house suffers from allergies, asthma or heart problems. Nor are they recommended as main heating systems; you’re only supposed to run them for three or four hours at a time, to keep the moisture and exhaust buildup to generally tolerable levels.

Finally, there’s a true gas fireplace insert (about $3, 000). This solution changes the look of a fireplace, because you’re adding an insert, and it eliminates the option of having an open fire. But the look is still tidy, and the result is that you can enjoy the fire without worries. The glass doors are always shut because the fire chamber is sealed, with all of the combustion air piped in and the exhaust air piped out. This gives you energy efficiency and good indoor air, and it allows you to leave the fire running as long as you want.

You might also like
Gas to Electric Fireplace conversion 2 8 15
Gas to Electric Fireplace conversion 2 8 15
Home Inspector Seattle Finds Improper Gas Fireplace Conversion
Home Inspector Seattle Finds Improper Gas Fireplace Conversion
Pyromaster 33" Rear Direct Vent Gas Fireplace 33 Inch - Natural Gas or Propane with Log Set and Burner
Home (Pyromaster)
  • Majestic - Pyromaster 33 Direct Vent Gas Fireplace Insert - H33BDVR
  • Natural gas fireplace with liquid propane conversion kit.
  • Fireplace insert only. Does not come with mantle or surrounds
  • Winfield glowing *split oak* ceramic fiber gas log set with insta-flame ceramic burne
  • Dimensions: 28 7/8 h x 33 w x 11 1/2 d - 20 Inner/Outer vent pipe included.
Real Flame Real Flame 24 " Convert-to-Gel Log Set In Oak
Home (Real Flame)
  • Six-piece realistic log set burns up to three cans of real flame gel fuel (sold separately)
  • Lift assembly allows for easy access to place and remove cans
  • Does not need venting and there is no need to open the flue
  • Can be used in dormant fireplaces
  • Must be used with Real Flame gel fuel - sold separately
  • Fits most existing wood burning fireplaces.
  • Made from hand-painted cast concrete and steel.
  • Comes with 6 piece log set, grate, and decorative lava rock.
  • Assembly required
VersaFire Direct Vent Fireplace Gas Conversion
VersaFire Direct Vent Fireplace Gas Conversion ...
Direct Vent Fireplace Gas Conversion
Direct Vent Fireplace Gas Conversion
Char-Broil Char-Broil RED Natural Gas Conversion Kit
Home (Char-Broil)
  • Compatible with Char-Broil RED series grills with the DualFuel logo
  • Converts from propane to natural gas
  • Complete kit with original equipment
Skytech Skytech AF-LMF/RVS Manual On/Off Gas Valve Kit with On/Off/Hi/Med/Lo Remote
Home (Skytech)
  • Millivolt safety pilot kit with flame modulating remote for use with 18 to 30 inch gas logs
  • Manual On/Off gas valve kit with On/Off/Hi/Med/Lo flame modulating remote control
  • 225 degree rated valve with exclusive safety seal within the gas valve
  • Includes quick mount pilot assembly, damper clamp, valve, solenoid, flex line, and remote
  • For use with Natural Gas (LP conversion kits available); Valve kit measures 3 3/4 W x 4 D 2 3/4 H
US Stove Company US Stove BSK1000 Cast Iron Barrel Stove Kit
Home (US Stove Company)
  • An affordable alternative for economical heat in cabins, lodges, or workshops
  • Contains everything required to convert a 36 or 55 gallon steel drum into a stove
  • Heavy duty cast-iron kit (barrel not included)
  • This item is not for sale in WA, OR, and CA due to state restrictions
  • Not for residential use
Related Posts