How to Convert a Gas Fireplace to Wood Burning

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Amanda B.

Subject: Older prefab. fireplace inserts and newer efficient inserts

I am in the process of figuring out my options. I have an 80s house that has no gas supply, all electric. But it does have a wood burning fireplace. It is, of course, inefficient. It does have an inlet from the outside to pull air from the outside for burning, and it has glass doors, and a fan to pull in cold air from the room and heat it and blow it back out. But the fan is not variable speed and is noisy. Because I have to humidify my house (Colorado) for the musical instruments I have, including my voice, I burn it with the doors closed, but I would still like to have a newer efficient fireplace insert. I have been told that the 1980s prefabricated fireplaces and chimneys, because they are not brick, are not suitable for the newer inserts to be installed. So to convert everything could cost $5K to $7K. I'll know more when the Chimney company comes out for a proper consult in about 10 days, but still, I am discouraged, and also confused why other companies and stores I visited didn't mention this problem, and just said the newer insert would just have to be fitted inside the older one.


Subject: Wood Burning is Harmful

What you don't figure in those conversion costs are the increased medical expenses that will be inflicted on the neighbors from the increased levels of harmful particulate pollution that wood burning causes. Multiple studies from around the world have shown that when more people convert from cleaner-buring appliances like gas to wood, rates of illness and premature death go up. The opposite has also been shown -- illness and death rates go down when rates of wood burning go down. Your neighbors shouldn't be forced to suffer just because you like the authentic hiss and crackle of a wood fire.

Tobacco smoke is, like woodsmoke, a natural biomass smoke, but few would argue that the emissions from cigarettes are good for the air we breathe. Woodsmoke shares a majority of the same carcinogenic and mutagenic chemical compounds of tobacco smoke, but emits them in much, much greater quantities.

Dr D.

Subject: Completely wrong, sorry

Sorry you are totally misinterpreting or making up those facts. There are NO studies that look at conversion from gas to wood. There would just be no sense in doing a study like that because it is a rare event in a developed country.

The studies that are out there are relative to third world countries where cooking using wood and other biofuels, done out of absolute necessity, in poorly vented huts, is a DAILY activity that leads to medical problems.

Further, tobacco smoke is by FAR deadlier, and quite unlike wood smoke, because you are directly inhaling tobacco smoke at concentrations that are thousands to millions of times higher than if you get a whiff of wood smoke in the air.


Subject: Harmful, but so is driving my car, using AC, Etc.

For many of us, using the wood we have on hand with our property is a far more efficient method of heating our homes, not to mention keeping our properties clear of dead trees. I'm also a fan of using stoves with catalitic converters for higher effeciency in producing heat, as well as reducing smoke. It's all well and good you live life the way you choose, but it is presumptuous for you to suggest we are all being horrible people simply because we don't choose your line of thinking.


Subject: Ventless gas fireplace

The builder of the home I bought put in a ventless gas fireplace outside. It has stone all around it so I can change it out so I wanted to see if I could still burn wood in this fireplace since it is outside. Any negatives other than smoke coming out the front of the fireplace?

Jason Dysart

Subject: stand alone gas stove back to wood

in the process of buying a house that has a stand alone gas stove on the bricks and coner stones they obviously used to have a woodburning stove there from pictures it looks like it has the metal flue wich is hooked up to the stove do I have to swap out the stove and buy a wood burning stove or can the gas one be converted


Subject: gas to wood

While I was teaching it was nice to come home and turn on
the gas fireplace, but I missed the
" snap, crackle and pop". So when I retired I had it changed to woodburning. It was a simple procedure; I suspect it originally was wood back in 1987. Now it is time to move into a retirement apartment. The couple who purchased my home said they were so glad to get a wood fireplace. They love to hear it "snap, crackle and pop."

John Herren

Subject: gas to wood?

Are you NUTS? San Francisco Bay area is shutting down all wood burning. 2. Gas stoves have class B vents and unsuitable enclosures. (Tin box). Entire unit & chimney need replacement.


Subject: getting rid of gas to return to wood burning

Gas fires cost $300, I found when I moved into this house with old gas logs, friend said needed to be updated. I had an ok paying job back then, but stopped using it. Job is gone, and fireplace has no cover on it either, and an air blowing thing on bottom to force the heat out. I want to get the gas to either just be used to start wood burning or be capped altogether, but don't know what kind of worker to hire. I want the fake log stuff and ugly dusty pebbley things removed, and need a fireplace cover to make this house warmer and fireplace not look so ugly. It is a 60's house, so pretty sure the gas was added later. Not much money, so need to do what can do.


Subject: can I convert my gas fireplace into a wood burning?

We just purchased a house that has a gas fireplace however the home is not gas operated the whole entire house is electric we are looking to converted into a wood burning fireplace we were told that if we take off all the gas hose and the wires we could install heat stone inside it and we would be able to burn wood? Does anyone have any suggestions


Subject: chimney with gas to stove with flue insert

I had a question regarding our ancient chimney. Its an original chimney that travels on the outside of the home previous owners had a gas Line inside the chimney that has been capped off. Can i insert a wood burning stove and flue safely without having the line removed all together?


Subject: gas fireplace back to wood

Our fireplace was originally wood burning. The previous owner put in a lp gas line, ceramic logs and a thermostat. We would like to turn it into a gas started system where you can add real wood. We do not need to keep the thermostat. Not sure what the name for this set up would be.

Aside from making sure all chimney parts are in working order for wood burning, anything else to consider?


Subject: Gas to wood

I was wondering if you found out the ball park range on this.... we are looking at buying a house with gas logs and want to convert to a wood burning.

Thank you

Betty Carlisle

Subject: a stand alone wood fireplace with alternate gas

Have a stand alone wood stove for heat. I am interested in being able to use gas but still have ease of wood back up if electricity or gas line is cut off due to disruption in the supply line. Is this possible?? If so how or which stove?


Subject: gas to wood fireplace

My gas insert in my fireplace was a conversion in the mid 80's, but it was wood originally. We are changing it back, and found the brick changed around it to porous cultured rock that is black and melted in some parts. This is going to be replaced, the inside of the fireplace had to be refinished, and the flue needs to be reinstalled. Since most of the work is done by friends and family (in the business and licensed) the whole thing costs almost nothing. But warning to everyone, gas still gives off heat and some "decorative" rock finishes are not manufactured to be near heat. The 70's and 80's used a lot of brass and cultured rock. .. and can be a ticking time bomb.


Subject: re: gas to wood fireplace

Amanda -- I am also interested in converting my gas insert back to the wood burning fireplace it once was. Upon pulling the insert out, I found that the firebox brick and the damper has been totally removed to accommodate the size of the gas insert. Did you also have to rebuild these to get back to wood burning? I'm curious how much it will cost to have these built.

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He hasn't legally abandoned the job as long as he is still showing up and doing something, even if it is very little, from time to time.  You'll have to fire him first.  Have documentation that the job is not being done in a timely manner, showing when he has and has not worked.  Be ready for a fight and probably a legal battle since he will likely still want more money or won't refund money paid for incomplete work.


Change the locks and inform the contractor their services on your property are terminated.  Tell him if anyone representing his company enters your property they will be considered trespassing and will be prosecuted.  Then hire another company to check the work he has done to make sure it is right.  Somehow I doubt it is given the nature of his work ethic.  Then have the new contractor repair any bad workmanship and finish the job.  Keep records as any documented things that have to be redone will help your case against the first contractor.


Todd Shell

Todd's Home Services

San Antonio, TX

I would recommend finding a good hearth retailer in your area and work with them to select a stove that is right for your home. They should also be able to arrange for certified installer to handle the installation. Keep in mind many areas require a city or county permit for the installation, and it may be wise to have the chimney and fireplace inspected by a certified chimney sweep beforehand.