Retrofiting A Fireplace - HVAC - Contractor Talk

Retrofiting A Fireplace

 
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Old 10-27-2006, 03:03 PM   #1
 
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Retrofiting A Fireplace


I got a room with a fireplace in it that is heated primarily by electrical heaters that are installed in the walls. I was wondering if it be possible to change the wood burning fireplace into a natrual gas burning fireplace. It is your common wood buring fireplace though with a damper etc. on it. Natural gas will be cheaper and will also look better since it is in a fireplace. I don't know whether or not this is a good idea or not. Thanks
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Old 10-27-2006, 08:23 PM   #2
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Re: Retrofiting A Fireplace


A wood burning fireplace can be converted to gas logs, but it may not be cheap to do.You may have to open a piece of wall along side the fireplace so the plumber can get the gas line and control valve in a convenient place, usually within an arms reach of the logs, so you can reach to light them. Also. is there a gas supply close for him to tap into, or will you need a long pipe run? And a realistic burning set of gas logs is not cheap. Do not buy logs until you have gone to a supplier where you can see them burn. The more expensive sets are very convincing, but the cheap sets have all the charm of watching a gas cooktop flame.

Since you will be going to dedicated gas, I would also consider paying to have the chimney cleaned professionally. Built up creosote from years of wood can result in a very nasty chimney fire.

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Old 10-30-2006, 08:14 PM   #3
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Re: Retrofiting A Fireplace


u need a gas insert that vents up your existing chimney with a 4" liner.Can get with blower ,remotes,thermostats,etc.etc.Initial expense,but in the long run probaly cheaper than hydro depending where u live...
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Old 02-18-2014, 10:13 PM   #4
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Re: Retrofiting A Fireplace


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Originally Posted by hf05 View Post
u need a gas insert that vents up your existing chimney with a 4" liner.Can get with blower ,remotes,thermostats,etc.etc.Initial expense,but in the long run probaly cheaper than hydro depending where u live...
Can't you just put the gas line, and fake logs into the existing box and call it done? Burn the gas logs in the existing fireplace?
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:36 AM   #5
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Re: Retrofiting A Fireplace


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Originally Posted by pzeiler
Can't you just put the gas line, and fake logs into the existing box and call it done? Burn the gas logs in the existing fireplace?
and can't you warm up your car in the garage with the garage door shut
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:07 AM   #6
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Re: Retrofiting A Fireplace


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and can't you warm up your car in the garage with the garage door shut
Was that a question?
If so: Ya, you could if you're checking out.

Who said close the damper? or "garage door"?

What am I missing? A wood burning fireplace has a chimney, and probably produces a lot more toxins I would guess than nat. gas. What are you saying? That gas logs will submit you to more CO than wood burning?
Please explain to those less knowledgeable than you..

Last edited by pzeiler; 02-19-2014 at 02:22 AM.
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Old 02-20-2014, 10:36 AM   #7
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Re: Retrofiting A Fireplace


Quote:
Originally Posted by pzeiler
Was that a question? If so: Ya, you could if you're checking out. Who said close the damper? or "garage door"? What am I missing? A wood burning fireplace has a chimney, and probably produces a lot more toxins I would guess than nat. gas. What are you saying? That gas logs will submit you to more CO than wood burning? Please explain to those less knowledgeable than you..
in my experience I have seen a home owner attempt this once. I got a call at about 6:30 pm several years ago that a guys CO detector was going off. When I got there the home owner was telling me he was sure it was his new furnace he had just gotten installed the week prior (by one of those replace-and-run companies in town). I went to my van and came back in with my CO meter and right when I stepped in the door it jumped to 150 ppm of CO. After I called the fire department and they put the home owner on oxygen I re-entered the house to find CO leak (FD said they don't find leaks they just shut off all and have contractor find issue). I checked furnace and water heater but neither were putting any CO out exterior the flue or draft hood. He didn't have a gas range or gas dryer so I asked him if their were any other gas burners in the house. And he says "ya I just ran the gas line to my new gas fireplace two days ago" I took a look and it was a gas log set in the old wood fire place. This seemed suspicious so I called manufacturer and told them. They basically replied saying "that voids the warranty, the product is not intended for that use as it is a CO hazard, please call local utility to have this shut down".

Pretty much a normal gas log is not intended for that use or designed to operate that way. Gas burns cooler than wood does and in a wood fire place gas has trouble starting a draft and the chimney effect especially when it is cold out and you can get stacking or "cold Damning" in the chimney. Yes there are open gas fire place inserts but they are designed to work that way and they have a flue pipe sized properly on them not just into an open chimney
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Old 02-21-2014, 05:40 AM   #8
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Re: Retrofiting A Fireplace


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Originally Posted by HVAC1000 View Post
Gas burns cooler than wood does and in a wood fire place gas has trouble starting a draft and the chimney effect especially when it is cold out and you can get stacking or "cold Damning" in the chimney.
The Adiabatic flame temperature of natural gas is 3562F, the adiabatic flame temperature of wood is 3596F, for propane its 4338F.

Its not the temp of the flame itself. Its that many people put in a small insert, without thought on how large the fireplace and chimney are. And then often use the insert on a low setting so the chimney never gets warm enough to establish a good draft.

Most people forget or don't realize a chimney is not prejudice in which direction air/vapor flows in it.
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Old 02-21-2014, 10:17 AM   #9
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Re: Retrofiting A Fireplace


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Originally Posted by beenthere
The Adiabatic flame temperature of natural gas is 3562F, the adiabatic flame temperature of wood is 3596F, for propane its 4338F. Its not the temp of the flame itself. Its that many people put in a small insert, without thought on how large the fireplace and chimney are. And then often use the insert on a low setting so the chimney never gets warm enough to establish a good draft. Most people forget or don't realize a chimney is not prejudice in which direction air/vapor flows in it.
but that is actually using an insert. They asked if they could just put a gas log in the existing wood burning fireplace with no insert or lining the chimney
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Old 02-21-2014, 05:43 PM   #10
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Re: Retrofiting A Fireplace


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Originally Posted by HVAC1000 View Post
but that is actually using an insert. They asked if they could just put a gas log in the existing wood burning fireplace with no insert or lining the chimney
Sorry. I got carried a way about flame temp and forgot the about the original question.
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:01 PM   #11
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Re: Retrofiting A Fireplace


Quote:
Originally Posted by willl View Post
I got a room with a fireplace in it that is heated primarily by electrical heaters that are installed in the walls. I was wondering if it be possible to change the wood burning fireplace into a natrual gas burning fireplace. It is your common wood buring fireplace though with a damper etc. on it. Natural gas will be cheaper and will also look better since it is in a fireplace. I don't know whether or not this is a good idea or not. Thanks
I'm no expert, but I do see it often. If there's an insert installed in a regular fireplace (i.e. "simple conversion", if there is such a thing) the existing damper is clamped in the open position. But then one has to think about the wisdom of it being open all the time. (If you were to remove the clamp, bad things can happen....)

Edit: I guess that's when folks would want to also install those glass panes to close off the air flow when not in use...not sure about that, though.

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Last edited by MarkJames; 02-21-2014 at 06:06 PM.
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