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.
What to consider when planning for your propane fireplace.
There is a wide range of propane fireplace options on the market today. So many, in fact, that the selection might feel overwhelming. To narrow down your search, consider these questions:
1. Does your home have a fireplace?
The product you choose will depend on whether there is a wood-burning fireplace in your home already. If there isn’t, your options will be limited to freestanding fireplaces or stoves. If you have a fireplace, you can install an insert in the hearth.
2. Is your chimney in good condition?
Before you settle on a propane product for your existing fireplace, the propane professional you’re working with will perform a chimney inspection. If there is damage (or if the chimney is sealed), this will limit the type of propane product you can install.
3. Do you want a vented or vent-free fireplace product?
A vented fireplace requires an open, functional chimney to bring in air and vent combustion byproducts. Its flames are more realistic, but some heat escapes through the chimney. (Vented fireplaces still have around 90 percent efficiency.)
On the other hand, a vent-free product has a smaller flame, but 99.9 percent of the heat it produces stays in your home. Although they don’t vent combustion products out of your home, these models have sensors to shut off if there’s carbon monoxide accumulation.
You can also opt for a direct vent fireplace, in which a venting pipe is installed through the wall.
You need to consider your local building codes, which might prohibit certain types of hearth products.
4. What are your gas line needs?
As part of planning the installation, you and your company will determine where to run the gas line and whether a propane fireplace product will affect the whole-home gas load.
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 fix a propane fireplace that won’t light.
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. Here are four steps to identify the issue and fix it.
1. Check the main propane valve.
The issue could be as straightforward as propane not flowing to the appliance. Open the valve if it is closed.
2. Check the fireplace insert’s pilot.
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.
3. Use compressed air on the propane fireplace pilot.
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.
4. Call your propane company.
If the steps above don’t work, you may have a bad thermocouple. Additionally, if your product has an electric igniter instead of a standing pilot light, it may be damaged. In either case, you’ll want to get in touch with a North Carolina propane professional or a trusted propane contractor to request a service visit.
Contact your local propane company to find out more about the advantages of propane gas hearths and fireplaces, as well as many other home appliances. Just remember: Propane Can Do That!