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If you own a gas fireplace, you are familiar with the benefits gas fireplaces offer—low-maintenance, cost-efficient and eco-friendly. While they provide warmth and coziness, just like a wood-burning fireplace, sometimes you may be tempted to add more heat, flame or scent to your gas fireplace by throwing on a log or two. But is this advisable? The short answer is “No!”
If your fireplace is truly a gas-only fireplace, adding wood is extremely hazardous. There are other types of gas fireplaces where adding wood could be a possibility, but only under certain conditions. Let’s explore the different types of gas fireplaces.
These gas fireplaces are typically built in during new construction or installed where there was previously no fireplace. As the name implies, it is only for burning gas—natural gas or propane. The gas is piped in and lit with an electric ignition. In some older models, you may need a match to light it.
For gas-only fireplaces, you should only burn gas. Never wood. Gas-only fireplaces do not have the proper venting system to handle the smoke and vapor from burning wood. Nothing is constructed to vent outside; therefore, burning wood presents a huge fire hazard.
Gas fireplace inserts are basically a metal housing component that is inserted into a previously wood-burning fireplace. Since the chimney is typically left intact, the gas is vented through the existing chimney. Many homeowners opt for a gas fireplace insert due to zero maintenance (other than annual inspections), an increase in heat efficiency and a reduction of harmful emissions.
Since there is venting through the existing chimney, it does raise the question of possibly burning wood in this type of fireplace. It is an unnecessary risk, since the insert is intended for a gas. But if you are still considering burning wood with this type of fireplace, it is imperative that you consult an HVAC professional prior to doing so. They can recommend any necessary adjustments, such as capping the gas line. Additionally, you would need to regularly have your flue cleaned.
Gas logs, made of heat-resistant ceramic or cement, produce a gas-powered flame and are usually installed in an existing wood-burning fireplace. These logs do not produce a great deal of heat; therefore, they are typically used for aesthetics only. Still, you will want to make sure that the fireplace is clean, in good working condition and can vent properly.
Since this isn’t an actual gas fireplace, you could burn regular wood only after the gas logs are removed. Real wood and gas logs should not be used together. If it has been a while since you burned wood, it is highly recommended that you have your fireplace and flue inspected first before doing so.
Ed’s Woodshed, located in Bridgeville, PA, has been selling and installing fireplaces in Pittsburgh for more than 35 years. When looking for quality gas fireplaces near you, Ed’s Woodshed is the place to shop. We are a full-service provider and the only Pittsburgh area retailer that can promise you “one-stop shopping” when it comes to purchasing fireplaces near you. Call Ed’s Woodshed today at 412-257-0492 or stop by to have a look around.
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