Convert Your Wood Burning Fireplace to Propane
Have you ever come in from a cold North Carolina winter day and wanted a warm, glowing fire but just didn’t want to face the chore of setting up a fire in your wood burning fireplace? Are you tired of the maintenance? Or have you not used your wood fireplace in years because it’s in disrepair?
We’ve got a solution: Convert your old wood burning fireplace to a clean, efficient and safe propane fireplace! If you get going on it now, you’ll be enjoying your brand new fireplace in time for the holiday season. That’s the time of the year when a crackling fireplace becomes something extra special.
Before embarking any further, you could be wondering how much propane a new propane fireplace uses. Simply put, a propane fireplace uses about one gallon of propane for each 100,000 BTU. So if you install a propane fireplace that is rated 50,000 BTU, you’ll be using about one gallon of propane every two hours. Think about the expense and work of operating your wood burning fireplace and you may discover that propane is a much better deal.
Propane hearths give you heat without the hassle
Today’s propane hearths are available as freestanding stoves, built-in fireplaces, and sealed fireplace inserts that can be installed directly in your existing mantle. And they give you all the warmth and comfort of a wood fireplace without the drawbacks, and with some benefits that you just can’t get from a wood-burning hearth.
Whether or not you have an existing fireplace, you can enjoy the benefits of a propane hearth in your home with these advantages.
Convenience: A propane hearth gives you warmth and a beautiful glow whenever you want it. And most of today’s propane hearths come with thermostats. You’ll be able to control the heat and the flame intensity from the comfort of your sofa.
Versatility: A propane fireplace or freestanding stove isn’t just pretty, it’s also a heat source that will keep your space warm even when the power is out.
Efficiency: A propane fireplace runs at around 80 percent efficiency. That makes it four to five times more efficient than a wood fireplace.
Health impact: You may think that wood smoke smells good, but it’s really not that good for you. Fine particles, also known as fine particulate matter, are the greatest health threat from a wood fire. These microscopic particles can cause heart attacks, create respiratory problems, and more. You don’t get these health risks with propane.
Environmental impact: A wood-burning fireplace emits up to 4,000% more emissions than a propane-fueled fireplace! These high emissions from wood-burning units have led to important changes. Read more here.
What are the latest trends in propane fireplace inserts?
A propane fireplace insert gives you all the ease, convenience and efficiency of a propane hearth, and you get it framed by your existing masonry fireplace. Here are some of the latest innovations that are making propane fireplace inserts more popular than ever.
Smarter fireplace inserts: Your insert can be programmed to turn on and off at set times. And you can even program temperatures for specific times of day.
More realistic flames: You get the warm glow and flicker of a wood fire thanks to better gas burner technology.
Adjustable heat: With today’s propane fireplace inserts, you can get the heat you need on a cold day, and turn it down when you don’t need as much heat– thanks to multi-stage temperature controls. You just can’t get that from a wood burning fireplace.
More sizes: The openings on some masonry fireplaces are too narrow or to shallow to fit a standard propane fireplace insert. In response, manufacturers are now producing smaller inserts.
High-efficiency backup heat: Do you feel the need to supplement your home’s heating system? Today’s propane fireplace inserts have efficiencies that can go well into the 80 % range.. That’s so much more efficient than a wood fire. As much as 90 percent of the heat produced by a wood-burning fireplace goes straight up the chimney! Did you ever notice how cold a room becomes when a wood fire begins to burn out? It’s because all the heat in the room is being drawn out the chimney!
Fireplace inserts with blowers: If you have an open-concept kitchen-living dining area, or any other large space to heat, the multispeed blowers push warm air to the far corners of a room, providing better and more even heating.
Masonry fireplace refinishing: With a propane fireplace insert, you can update the style of your existing fireplace without a lot of expense.
How to light a propane fireplace
If you already have a propane fireplace, you know the ease of getting a roaring fire going. Just flip a switch or use the remote control, and you’ve got the home fires burning.
Sometimes, however, the fire may not appear. This often happens because of a lack of maintenance. We’ve got some troubleshooting tips that may help you get your propane fireplace running again.
- Check the main valve to see if the gas is turned on.
- If the gas is on and the pilot hasn’t been lit in several months, purge the air from the pilot tubing by holding the pilot button down for about two minutes so the air bleeds out.
- If gas is coming out of the pilot but it still won’t light, use a can of compressed air to clear away any gunk between the igniter and the thermocouple. If that doesn’t work, you may have a bad thermocouple. Get in touch with a North Carolina propane professional or a trusted propane contractor to request a service visit.
NOTE: Some of today’s newer propane fireplaces have electric igniters instead of standing pilot lights. They are very efficient, but not designed for self-repair. This is another time when it’s best to call in a propane professional.