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Why It’s a Good Idea to Convert Wood Fireplace to Gas

At LG Home Comfort, we make your comfort our top priority.
Wood Burning Fireplace
September 30, 2022

Every homeowner is different. Some might prefer the smell and look of a wood-burning fireplace, while others like the convenience and cleanliness of a gas fireplace. If you’re considering converting your wood fireplace to gas, you should know a few things first.

The Benefits Of Converting Wood Fireplaces To Gas

If your existing wood-burning fireplace is tired, outdated, or needs repair, gas fireplace conversion could be a good idea. Here are several reasons you might want to consider this option:

Efficiency

Gas fireplaces are more efficient compared to wood-burning fireplaces. All the heat produced by a gas fireplace goes into your home. With a wood-burning fireplace, up to 75% of the heat produced escapes up the chimney.

The gas vs. wood fireplace heat output is also much higher with gas. You’ll get more heat per hour from your gas fireplace, usually between 30,000 and 50,000 BTUs. In comparison, wood fireplaces produce between 38,000 and 80,000 BTUs. Gas fireplaces are more efficient compared to wood-burning fireplaces. All the heat produced by a gas fireplace goes into your home. With a wood-burning fireplace, up to 75% of the heat produced escapes up the chimney.

Gas fireplaces are more efficient in producing even, consistent heat immediately felt in your home. And the convenience of turning on a gas fireplace with the flip of a switch makes it worth considering over a wood-burning option. Not only will you save money on heating bills, but you’ll also enjoy the warmth of a real fire without all the work that comes with it. Plus, they can be customized to fit your interior and exterior design style—without worrying about smoke or soot build-up in your home.

Convenience

Gas fireplaces are easy to use. Just turn them on with a switch or push of a button. There’s no need to chop wood, carry it inside, and build a fire. And you don’t have to worry about ashes or soot.

Also, it can be difficult to keep a wood-burning fireplace going during the rainy season. You might not be able to find dry wood, or you might want to avoid going out in the rain to get it.

Cleanliness

Another advantage of gas fireplaces is that they’re clean burning. This means there’s no smoke or ashes to deal with. Plus, they don’t produce creosote, which can build up in your chimney and cause fires. This also saves you time from chimney cleaning.

Environmental Benefits

Gas fireplaces are also better for the environment. They produce less pollution than wood-burning fireplaces. Burning wood gives out particles that can contribute to air pollution and respiratory problems.

Safety

Gas fireplaces are much safer than wood-burning fireplaces. There is less risk of fires getting out of control, and there are no hot embers or sparks that could potentially start a house fire.

Higher Property Value

Converting your fireplace from wood-burning to gas could also increase the value of your home. If you’re considering selling in the future, a gas fireplace might be a selling point for potential buyers.

Gas Vs. Wood Fireplace Pros and Cons

When deciding which type of fireplace is the best for your home, consider all the pros and cons. Here are a few of the cheapest ways to keep your home warm:

Pros of Gas Fireplaces

  • Efficient since the heat produced goes directly into your home
  • Easy to control with a flip of a switch
  • No mess or cleanup required
  • You can customize them to fit any design style
  • There’s no hassle of having to buy wood

Cons of gas fireplaces

  • Higher upfront cost than wood-burning fireplaces
  • They can be more expensive to fuel over time than wood-burning fireplaces
  • They may not provide a fun ambiance compared to wood-burning fireplaces because of their lack of crackling and popping

Pros of Wood Burning Fireplaces

  • An inexpensive source of fuel (wood)
  • A traditional look and feel that many people prefer
  • They deliver outstanding flame
  • You may cook food on the open fire

Cons of Wood-Burning Fireplaces

  • More smoke and soot build up in your home
  • Requires more maintenance and cleanup
  • Gas fireplaces are more efficient since up to 75% of heat escapes out the chimney.

Cost of Gas Fireplace Installation

How much does it cost to install a gas fireplace? If you have an existing wood fireplace and want to convert, the cost may vary depending on some factors, including the fireplace you have and whether you need to install a gas line.

The average cost is up to $3,000, but you can expect to pay between $500 and $5,500 for converting a wood fireplace to gas. This may change based on the kind of gas fireplace you choose. For example, selecting a gas fireplace insert will be less expensive than a new stand-alone gas fireplace. Similarly, vented gas logs will be less costly to install than a vent-free gas fireplace.

You must also factor in the cost of a gas line installation if you don’t already have one. This will vary on the distance of the nearest natural gas line and whether any excavation is required.

Is It Worth It to Convert Wood Fireplace to Gas?

You can see many homeowners wonder about a gas vs. wood fireplace. But the truth is this depends on your circumstances, such as your budget, the condition of your existing fireplace, and your reasons for wanting to convert.

If you’re seeking a more efficient way to heat your home or want convenience, it might be worth converting to a new gas fireplace. However, it might not be worth the investment if you’re happy with your wood-burning fireplace and are okay with the hassle of building a fire.

Steps For Converting a Wood-Burning Fireplace to a Gas Fireplace

If you’ve decided to convert your wood-burning fireplace to gas, the first step is to choose a type of gas fireplace. Once you’ve done that, converting will vary depending on your fireplace type.

If You Have a Masonry Fireplace

Masonry fireplaces are made of brick, stone, or mortar. If you have a masonry fireplace, you’ll need to hire a professional to convert it to gas. This is because masonry fireplaces require special venting and are more difficult to modify.

Here’s a typical process for converting a masonry fireplace to gas:

  • The first step is to install a gas line if you do not already have one. This will need to be done by a professional.
  • Next, a professional must inspect the fireplace to ensure it’s compatible with a gas insert. They will also determine the type of venting that’s required.
  • Once the inspection is complete, the professional will install the gas insert and connect it to the gas line. Installing a gas fireplace insert is a complex process that’s why you must leave this to a professional.
  • Finally, they will test the fireplace to ensure it’s working correctly and make necessary adjustments.

If You Have a Prefabricated Fireplace

Prefabricated fireplaces are also known as factory-built or zero-clearance fireplaces. They’re made of metal and are easier to modify than masonry fireplaces. If you have a prefabricated fireplace, you can convert it to gas yourself. However, it’s essential to check with the manufacturer first to see if it’s possible.

If you’re unsure whether your fireplace is masonry or prefabricated, you can usually tell by looking at the outside of the chimney. Masonry fireplaces will have a brick or stone chimney, while prefabricated fireplaces will have a metal chimney.

Here’s a step-by-step guide you can use:

  • Check with the manufacturer to see if converting to gas is an option for your fireplace.
  • If it is, the next step is purchasing a gas insert compatible with your fireplace. Once you have the insert, follow the instructions that come with it to install it.
  • Finally, test the fireplace to make sure it’s working properly.

If unsure or not confident in your ability to convert the fireplace, consider hiring a professional.

Final Thoughts

Gas fireplaces are popular for many homeowners because they’re efficient and convenient. If you have a wood-burning fireplace and plan to convert your fireplace to gas, there are a few things you need to consider. The conversion cost, the type of fireplace you have, and your reasons for wanting to convert are all important factors to consider.