Converting to Gas

Many homeowners are switching to gas, for environmental reasons or simple convenience. Installing a gas burner in the firebox means you'll never have to shovel ashes, haul wood, or clean soot again. If you choose a vent-free model, it can also save the expense of refurbishing a chimney that's not working.

Today's gas inserts look more like real fires with yellow flames flickering over stackable logs (in your choice of wood species) sitting above a bed of faux embers or glowing coals set in an iron basket. With gas, though, the fire starts with the touch of a remote control, which also adjusts the flame size. Inserts typically cost $400 to $1,800 and burn either natural gas or propane, which a plumber brings to the firebox using flexible copper tubing at an additional cost of a few hundred dollars. You can vent the exhaust up the old flue—the draft of which yields the most authentic-looking flames—or select a vent-free option, which works with the damper closed and burns more efficiently. (Check local building and fire-safety codes for restrictions on vent-free fireplaces.)
Ask TOH users about Fireplaces

Contribute to This Story Below