Wood or Gas Fireplace?
LESLIE: Kathleen in Arizona wants to change a wood fireplace to a gas fireplace. Welcome aboard. What can we do for you?KATHLEEN: Thank you, yes. So I’m here in Phoenix and we have fires because they look good; not so much for the heat, of course.LESLIE: (chuckling) OK.TOM: (chuckling) OK.KATHLEEN: I have gas that comes in at one end of my house and about 50 feet away is my fireplace. So I’ve had estimates for running gas line but the length of it and the bends involved is really costly, it seems; so I’m thinking that I could use one of those barbecue gas cylinders maybe as a gas source. My fireplace is on an outside wall.TOM: On an outside wall? Hmm.KATHLEEN: Yes.TOM: Maybe, maybe, maybe. Not sure about that. I will tell you that if you think the expense of running the gas line is costly, wait until you see how much it costs to run that fireplace. Usually, when you add a gas burner to an existing fireplace, they use a huge amount of BTUs so they’re very expensive to run.If you can start from scratch and install what’s called a condensing gas fireplace, they have very high-efficiency fireplaces that are …LESLIE: But isn’t that essentially – couldn’t you do that as an insert to the existing fireplace, Tom?TOM: I don’t know about that. I’ve never seen one that – no, I’ve never seen one that’s that efficient to be used as an insert. So, this is a pretty expensive improvement that you’re thinking about doing, Kathleen. If you’re not going to use it all the time, why don’t you just go back – go with a standard Duraflame log and save yourself a lot of headache?KATHLEEN: Oh, OK. Alrighty.TOM: (overlapping voices) Pretty costly.KATHLEEN: And when you were mentioning inserts, are you talking about the ones that re-burn their own smoke because we have no-burn days here in Phoenix?TOM: Yeah, they have inserts that burn wood, sure. And they’re more efficient than regular masonry fireplaces. But I will tell you that adding a gas burner to a masonry fireplace is just a very inefficient thing to do.KATHLEEN: OK. Thank you.TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.