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Question DetailsAsked on 1/27/2015

Is it possible to turn 2 gas fireplaces into electric? I'd like electric log inserts. I want gas line cut off

The 2 fireplaces were built '89...with gas starter, chimney, flue etc. nothing wrong with them. For safety reasons I want gas line cut & sealed off. Then want electric log inserts w/ heat and remote installed. There are dark glass doors w/mesh screens in place
. I'd appreciate feedback and referrals.

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4 Answers

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Your location might help ...

Answered 4 years ago by Jefferson

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I would suggest contacting the manufacturer to see if they make conversion kits, if you can figure out who made them. Otherwise talk to wood stove/fireplace insert stores who do installs too.


Otherwise, you are probably out of luck - because this is an Underwriter's Lab listed item, I doubt you will find any reputable contractor who will convert one if there is not a manufacturer kit available.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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Im in Wichita, KS 67206. House built in 89. Great area to live.


I get the Fireplace/Chimney store thing. Good idea. I doubt I'll need a contractor for this. I've got a much better crew w/out frankly. You might roll your eyes if I spoke of 6 months wasted on a remodel due to contractor idiotic nonsense. I have a laundry room as a result of being "too nice" I'm told.


Can't the gas line be cut and corked so to speak? I'm researching, which is what brought me here, about this idea.


They're beautiful fireplaces that NEVER get used...I want to use them!


Whats the greatest risk?

Thank you kindly

Answered 4 years ago by Guest_96727072

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You say built in '89 with gas starter, chimney flue, etc - this sounds, to me, that maybe these are wood-burning fireplaces with gas starter, not a "gas" fireplace ?


Realize of course that electric heat is far more expensive than gasor probably wood in your neck of the woods - but if only using a couple of hours a week, no big $ issue. If those ARE wood rather than gas fireplaces, then electric is far more energy efficient in general, as most wood-burning open-hearth fireplaces (as opposed to wood stoves or sealed inserts) actually consume more energy (by drawing conditioned combustion air from the room) then they put back into the room, unless you have a heat tube recirculation system that extracts much of the heat from the flames and blows the heated room air into the room. Plus due to dampear leaks a certain amount of heated air from the house goes up the flue when the fireplace is not in use.


I did not make myself clear originally because I cut the answer short - sorry. More discussions on insert conversions can be found in a few similar questions in the Home > Fireplaces link in Browse Projects, at lower left, which I meant to refer to in the original response.


Capping the gas is no big thing - probably minimum service call of about $75-150 by a plumber (or gas fitter in the few states where plumbers are not allowed to deal with gas). You will have to decide whether to just cap right at the fireplace wall (which most plumbers have a sheet metal plug to seal the opening in), or if you cap somewhere further back (even in basement) to avoid the small risk of the shutoff vaqlve by the fireplace going bad and leaking gas around the fireplace.


Physically putting the electric logs in should be no big thing either, though likely to need a dedicated circuit installed ($250-500 typically assuming your breaker box has available capacity) if talking "heat" logs rather than basically just a pretty glowewith a touch of heat mostly for appearance.


The problem is in putting electric heat into an existing gas, if it is a "gas" rather than wood burning fireplace - and being sure the heat does not cause a safety issue. Gas logs are quite cool underneath - with one I had you could actually put a piece of paper flat under the logs and it would not catch fire, because the cool incoming combustion air kept it cool underneath and the logs were designed to radiate the heat outwards, not down. Some brands of electric logs might work the same - others might radiate heat all around and need a protective fire brick layer under them to be safe. That is why I said you will likely have a very hard time finding a contractor to modify the existing fireplace.


If it is a wood-burning fireplace then I suspect you might well be able to find an electric log kit that can be installed there, because a wood burning fireplace is designed for red-hot coals sitting on the bottom of the firebox.


Of course, you always have the option of pulling out the gas fireplace (if truly "gas") and installing an electric insert, or sleeving a smaller insert into the existing fireplace - new enclosure and all. Flue (if pure electric, not able to burn logs at all) will probably be sealed up - letting all heat come out to house (except that which is conducted through the enclosure, much of which also ends up in the house heating envelope).


I would start with expert wood stove and fireplace insert dealers who install (NOT box stores) and see what they have - there are electric log kits out there made to retrofit into almost any type of fireplac. Google this search phrase for links to various makes, as well as a couple of guides from installers on how to approach it - electric heat log conversion for fireplace. As for just going with a Home Depot conversion kit - I don't know how much I would trust that, both from a safety compatibility standpoint, but also I would trust some Chinese electric log kit about as far as I could throw it. BTW, if you do go with an electric conversion, for safety sake I would make sure it has a GFCI circuit breaker on it so if the logs start to short out the power will be cut off immediately.


Bear in mind, if you are not planning on staying in this house essentially forever, that an electric fireplace may be of less "value" to a buyer than gas or wood, due to the fuel cost issue - especially if they like using it several hours a night. If planning or likely to be moving in 5 years or so you might talk to a realtor friend (one you bought house through ?) about how much of an issue this is likely to be in your area. I know in my much colder area electric heat or fireplaces is loved by a most people coming from warmer low-heating demand areas, but generally becomes a deal-killer when the realtor advises them of the relatively high electric rates in our area compared to gas costs. For some odd reason people do not like $500-1000/month power bills - I have one neighbor converting to gas in spring who AVERAGES just over $600/month due to all-electric house, which is about double neighbors with gas heat.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD




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