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Old 07-21-2009, 12:55 PM
 
Location: On a Farm & by the sea
1,101 posts, read 2,534,364 times
Reputation: 953

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Hi gang.
I was raised in VERY rural South Carolina, off of a paved road. I left the country for a while but my husband (from San Antonio) decided the country life was for us so I'm back out in a more rural area (SC) than I started. But that's great....I've reacclimated, already have tomatoes, corn, peppers and cantaloupe in a makeshift garden (not bad for only having moved here in April). As I get our house ready for fall and winter, I'd like to know your thoughts and opinions about coverting a gas fireplace to wood burning. I've never had anything other than wood burning and based on what I've heard, I don't think I'm going to like gas (propane here). Can y'all give me your opinions of one versus the other and information about converting an existing gb to wb? Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-21-2009, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,549 posts, read 55,485,543 times
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Gas may not convert to wood. The requirements for flue and firebox and clearances are much less stringent for gas logs. You'll need to find who made the fireplace and research the model.
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Old 07-21-2009, 07:18 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
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Unless the fireplace was converted from wood to gas, chances are it won't work. We have a wood-burning fireplace, and we'd like to convert it to gas. Maybe we can work out a deal. You bring us yours and you can have ours.

Seriously, many of the gas fireplaces have been converted from wood, so it would be worth checking.
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Old 07-21-2009, 07:22 PM
 
Location: On a Farm & by the sea
1,101 posts, read 2,534,364 times
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Hey guys...thanks for the replies. It's a 2 year old house and I know that the original fireplace was gas because I found the houseplans in the attic. It's not sounding so promising for the conversion..... WYONEWK I wish I COULD trade with ya What do you guys see as the advantages over wood with propane? Other than it is quicker than building with wood....do you smell the gas? Does it heat just as well? I'm assuming you can use a gas fireplace if the power goes out???? That's a very real possiblity in winter when the trees ice over here and that's what I'm trying to plan for. Any more info you have would be appreciated!!! Thanks.
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Old 07-21-2009, 07:48 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
114 posts, read 385,371 times
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We burned wood for the first four years, and then converted to natural gas logs, which was easy because we already had natural gas to start the wood to burn. I enjoyed the wood fireplace, and I could find lots of free wood. The bark made a little mess on the floors, when I brought it in the house. I occasionally had to let the wood burn out and wait for the ashes to cool, before cleaning out the fireplace. We paid someone to clean the flue one time, and it was less than a hundred dollars. I loved burning wood on a cold damp day. We seldom use the gas logs.
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:05 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,583 posts, read 17,764,982 times
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The advantages for us would be

1.) less mess -- cleaner burning and no mess with a woodpile and carrying wood into the house and

2.) easier to start the fire.

Cutting firewood it just too much work for me as I get older, and it's too much work to get a fire going in the fireplace to use it for an hour or less.

A fireplace like ours is very inefficient, so the only point of having a fire is a nice ambience. I put a fireplace insert into my last house but not this one. The insert actually works to heat. Without it, and maybe even with it, wood costs more than (natural) gas if I have to buy it by the cord.

My wife had a gas insert installed in her old house. According to her, if you don't run the (electric) fan, it doesn't produce noticeable heat. She also says she never smelled gas from the fireplace.

My advice, if you expect to be without electricity for extended periods of time, is to get a standby generator.
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:37 PM
 
Location: Prescott Valley,az summer/east valley Az winter
2,045 posts, read 3,667,905 times
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converted a wood fireplace to gas~no more mess~ the firebox I have allows me to heat without electricity. you probably get more heat for the money with propane. Absolutely would go gas over wood any day!
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:50 PM
 
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Installed a pre-fab fireplace in an addition and originally burned wood. I became a chore so I went with a unvented gas logs. I just close the flue and let them go. That unit heats my entire house during the winter.
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Old 07-21-2009, 09:19 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,549 posts, read 55,485,543 times
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Burning wood for heat is best done in a stove rather than fireplace. Additional disadvantages to wood are bugs and other pests living in the wood. Benefit, if you have a forest, like we do, is that the heat is basically free.
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Old 07-21-2009, 09:28 PM
 
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You first need to find out if the chimney can support it. The requirements for a wood are much more than gas. With gas you only need to vent the gases, with wood stack temperatures are much higher.

If you're looking to provide heat look into a wood stove. Fireplaces are notoriously inefficient.
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