Converting Your Wood Burning Fireplace to Propane

Date: June 24, 2019

Propane fireplace

Summer doesn’t last forever.

There will come a day when it’s chilly enough to want a fire in your fireplace to warm your body and soul. But setting up and maintaining a wood burning fireplace takes time and can be expensive. If your fireplace is in disrepair, it may be dangerous to use, so it’s smart that you’ve stopped using it. But now it sits there, going to waste.

But there is a solution. You can join a lot of your fellow Tennesseans in converting your old wood burning fireplace to a safe, clean-burning propane fireplace. Take care of this now, and you’ll be enjoying your brand new propane fireplace in plenty of time for the holiday season.

If you’re wondering how much propane a fireplace uses, we have a simple answer to help you with your calculations. A propane fireplace uses about one gallon of propane per 100,000 BTU. That means if your propane fireplace is rated 50,000 BTU, you will be using one gallon of propane for every two hours your propane fireplace is operating.

Think about the time and money you would spend on a wood fireplace. Then think about how much better off you would be if you converted over to a propane hearth.

Advantages of propane hearths

Today’s propane hearths bring you all the heat without the hassle of a traditional wood burning fireplace. And it also has some benefits a wood burning fireplace just can’t provide.

You can choose from several kinds of propane hearths: built-in fireplaces, freestanding stoves and sealed fireplace inserts that can be installed directly into your existing mantle. Whether or not you have an existing fireplace, you can enjoy all the benefits of a propane hearth.

Here are some of those benefits.

Convenience: You get warmth and comfort on-demand, whenever you want it. You don’t have to lug wood into the house, build a fire, and then wait for it to start. With propane fireplaces and hearths, many come with thermostats that allow you to control the flame intensity and heat output, even from the comfort of your recliner.

Efficiency: Propane fireplaces are four to five times more efficient than wood fireplaces, operating at around 80 percent efficiency.

Environmental impact: Burning wood produces about 28 pounds of smog-producing particulate emissions — that’s the ash and soot — per million BTUs (MMBTUs) of heat output. What about propane? Well, it produces less than one percent of that amount. This means uou can shrink the carbon footprint of your home and help the air, water and soil of Tennessee by switching your wood fireplace to propane.

Health effects: Wood smoke may smell good, but it’s really not that good for you. Fine particulate matter in the wood smoke is the biggest health threat. These microscopic particles can increase your risk of heart attacks, cause respiratory problems, and more. Switching to a propane fireplace means you can avoid those risks.

Trends for propane fireplace inserts

Do you have a masonry fireplace? You can get the convenience, efficiency and ease of a propane hearth with a propane fireplace insert. You also get a whole lot more:

Adjustable heat: You can’t control the heat levels of a wood burning fireplace. You can with a propane fireplace insert. Its multi-stage temperature controls let you have more heat on a cold day, or just enough heat to take the edge off a crisp autumn day in the Volunteer State.

Propane fireplace inserts with blowers: So many homes have open-concept living spaces, where the family room, kitchen and dining area are all open to each other. Large spaces like that can be a challenge to heat. But some propane fireplace inserts have multi-speed blowers that push warm air out from the fireplace to the far corners of the room, creating more comfortable and even heating.

Smarter fireplace inserts: With a propane fireplace insert, you can program it to turn on and off at specific times, and even control the temperature settings.

High-efficiency backup heat: With the energy efficiency of today’s propane fireplace inserts, they’re the smart choice for supplemental heating in your home.

Realistic flames: Thanks to improved gas technology, your propane fireplace insert will give you the warm glow, and dancing and flickering flames of a wood fire.

More sizes: If your home’s wood fireplace opening is too small or too narrow for a typical propane fireplace insert, smaller inserts are becoming more common so you can also enjoy the benefits of propane.

Masonry fireplace refinishing: Adding a propane fireplace insert gives you the chance to update your fireplace’s look. Want something more modern? Or more farm house oriented? You can do it without spending a lot.

How to light a propane gas fireplace

People love propane fireplaces because it’s easy, fast and hassle-free to have a fire in their fireplace on-demand. Just flip a switch or push a button on the remote control, and you’ve got fire.

But there may be a time when the fire doesn’t appear. That often happens because of a lack of maintenance. Before you make a service call, we’ve got some troubleshooting tips.

If your fireplace has a conventional pilot light:

  • Check the main valve to see if the gas is turned on.
  • If the gas is turned on, and the pilot has not been lit for several months, purge the air out of the pilot tubing. You do that by holding down the pilot button for two minutes to let air bleed out of the tubing.
  • If gas is coming out of the pilot but the pilot won’t light, get that can of compressed air you use to clean your dust (and crumbs) from your computer keyboard. Use it to clear away any gunk between the igniter and the thermocouple.

If you’re tried all this and you cant’ get any flames in your fireplace, there’s a possibility that the thermocouple needs to be replaced. That’s when you need to call in a propane service professional.

NOTE: Some of today’s newer propane gas fireplaces have electric igniters instead of standing pilot lights. While these type of fireplaces are more efficient because they don’t have to fuel a pilot light at all times, it is not recommended that you try to do a repair on your own. Call in the professionals if you have this type of igniter.

Find out about all of the advantages of propane fireplaces and hearths. Reach out to your local Tennessee propane company for resources and more information!