Replacing a Gas Fireplace With a Wood Burning Fireplace
LESLIE: Ron in New Jersey is on the line with a fireplace question. What’s going on?
RON: I live in a condo or townhouse. It’s about 25 years old and it has one of those fireplaces that’s the metal type, biggest set in there and they build those studs around it – sheet rock. And it’s gas logs. Well, it doesn’t really work too well. And a couple years ago when we had no electricity, I tried to use it for heating but it really didn’t blow any heat in. It just pretty much went up the chimney.
I’m thinking about replacing it but I’m not sure – I have really no idea if there’s one type better than the other that would also serve as an emergency heating system in the house.
TOM: So, the reason you’re not getting enough heat out of it is because it’s a gas fireplace and they rarely put out a lot of heat. In your case, to replace it you would have to replace the entire unit. This unit is called a zero-clearance fireplace because basically it’s an insulated box that can go against a combustible wall and not have any problems being used.
So if you put in a wood-burning, zero-clearance fireplace, you’ll find that you’ll get a lot of heat out of it. And if you want to step up the amount of heat that you could potentially get out of it, opt for the version that has a blower built in. And the blower will basically take air from the base of the fireplace, run it behind the firebox and out the top. And that will supply, actually, quite a bit of heat.
RON: So it would be a wood-burning though? Not the gas log?
TOM: Yeah, it would be wood-burning. You’re never going to get – well, you can put a gas fireplace in. But I just don’t think you’re going to get the same amount of heat out of it and frankly, I’m a little uncomfortable with gas-burning fireplaces. I think there’s a real carbon-monoxide risk with them.
RON: And it is vented? It’s got the pipe that goes up out through the roof and all?
TOM: But you’re still not going to get the same. It’s basically decorative. You’re not going to get enough heat out of it, as you discovered.
RON: OK. Alright. Well, thank you very much.