Imagine that you are sitting inside your living room and enjoying a nice book by the gas fireplace. The snow has been coming down and it is another cold night. As you begin to sip some tea and turn the next page of your book, the fire goes out. It appears that the gas is no longer in your gas line and you need the gas company to come out to refill the tank. Unfortunately, it’s late and the gas company is closed. Now you start to wonder about the next steps or options that you have to keep warm. There is an abundance of wood available to you. Can you burn wood in a gas fireplace? Gas fireplaces are not available to burn wood. The wood that you see is for aesthetic value.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why a gas fireplace is not suitable for burning wood if the gas is no longer available.
What Is a Gas Fireplace
Gas burning fireplaces are constructed to provide an aesthetic-looking design in the house. A natural gas feeder line is installed and connected to the gas-burning fireplace. The log set is there to look as if natural wood has been placed and burned in the gas fireplace. In addition, it is designed to burn natural or propane gas and has a ventilation system that is very unique. Also, the ventilation system does not consist of a chimney.
There are various types of fireplaces. Let’s take a look.
- Built-in gas fireplace-designed to burn natural gas and propane only. It is added during new construction or as an add-on.
- Gas fireplace Insert-insert is a metal housing with a gas burner and logset. Retrofitted to transform a wood-burning fireplace into a gas one. Vented through the old chimney.
- Logset– designed to produce a gas-powered flame and is vented through the old chimney.
Hazards of Burning Wood in a Gas Fireplace
Burning wood in the wrong gas fireplace can cause damage of epic proportions. Let’s examine the potential hazards of this mistake.
- An explosion of the gas line-extra heat from the burning logs can cause the gas line feeder to explode.
- Destruction of the fireplace -wood will burn much hotter than natural gas and propane and can end up destroying the gas fireplace parts.
- House fire hazards-the heat in the burning fireplace can radiate to the walls in the home and spark a serious fire.
- Smoke and Gas-due to the ventilation system of the gas fireplace, a wood-burning scenario promotes smoke into the home as it has nowhere to go. The gas then ventilates into the home and could have deadly consequences.
How Much Does It Cost
When looking to purchase a gas fireplace, keep in mind that you will also need a gas line. Gas lines start at $10 to $20 per linear foot. The national average of a gas fireplace is $400 to $4,000. However, you can expect to pay $2,500 to $10,000 for a high-end gas fireplace installed with materials.
Another Alternative to Gas and Wood Burning Fireplaces
Maybe a gas or wood fireplace isn’t up your alley. What about considering an electric fireplace? These are easier to install than other types, safer, cost-effective, and use a fan and heating coil system.
Other Recommended Maintenance
Now that you know the differences between a gas fireplace and a regular fireplace, consider the notion of how to maintain the fireplace. Having the knowledge of how to maintain your fireplace can save you from possible damage or fire to your home.
Understanding how to maintain your fireplace and the variations between gas and wood-burning fireplaces is important. Often you see a fireplace built with brick or concrete blocks. Learning how to clean the brick of your fireplace is a necessary evil. The soot settles on the brick, both inside and outside of the fireplace structure.
When Do I Call A Professional
Calling a professional when maintaining your gas fireplace is a great idea. You can never be too careful when it comes to gas appliances. The gas fireplace is no different. Also, understanding how the gas fireplace works and what you can and cannot do with it can save you from a fire or explosion in your home. Professionals are trained to assist you with your gas fireplace needs. It is always better to ask a professional instead of guessing how to clean a gas fireplace and end up making a mess or worse, causing a fire.
Gas fireplaces are wonderful in the home and need to be maintained in order to keep them working. Following the information above will help with maintenance and as always, you can call a professional for help. Colorado Inspection Team can take a look at your gas fireplace during a home inspection in Castlerock, CO, and the Front Range areas.