How Do I Convert a Gas Fireplace Back to Its Original Woodburning State?

Answered by Brett ~ August 29, 2011 ~ No Comments

I want to convert my fireplace back to it's original state, from gas back to wood burning. Where do I start?

Teri S. ~ Montgomery, AL

Brett Kulina

Teri, before you can convert a gas fireplace to a wood burning system you will first need to hire a contractor who knows the challenges of such a project and is very familiar with the fire and building codes in your local area. The contractor will have to thoroughly inspect your home's fire box and chimney to see if it can safely be used for wood heat. Keep in mind that many old brick chimneys are used as chases for gas fired exhaust pipes because at one time the condition of the brick and mortar was inadequate for wood fired heat and hot smoke.

It's also worth noting that traditional chimneys can be a major point of home heat loss, as the conditioned air within your house can simply escape up and out of the chimney. One way to decrease this type of heat loss is to make sure that your chimney has an operable damper, which can seal off the chimney when the fireplace is not being used. Also many wood burning systems require access to fresh air from the outside to burn efficiently.

You may want to investigate the benefits of a wood burning stove over a traditional fireplace. Although you should not use any of the equipment from your existing gas system, you could still use the home's chimney as a chase for the triple walled insulated stove pipe that most wood burning stoves require. These types of stoves burn cleaner, are more energy efficient, and kick off much more heat than traditional fireplaces. Some wood burning stoves have removable screens and glass fronts so you can still enjoy the sights and sounds of a cozy fire, and some smaller models can be installed right inside your home's old fireplace.

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