Can You Burn Wood in a Gas Fireplace?
Imagine it is winter, and you are sitting by the gas fireplace late in the evening, reading your favorite book and sipping some coffee. As you turn the next page, the fire suddenly goes out because the gas line is empty. What should you do, considering you have loads of firewood at your disposal? You must have guessed it wrong; you can’t burn any form of wood in a gas fireplace because it’s neither safe nor effective.
In this article, we will explore why you shouldn’t light wood products in a gas fireplace. Hang on as we also explain the extreme dangers associated with doing so and how you can convert a gas fireplace into a wood-burning one if need be.
What Is a Gas Fireplace?
Almost like an ordinary wood fireplace, a gas-burning fireplace is an aesthetically-designed source of heat that is connected to a propane or natural gas feeder line. The log set is designed to look like natural wood that burns in the fireplace. It also has a unique ventilation system that doesn’t consist of a chimney, meaning you can’t burn wood because the smoke and vapors won’t vent outside at all.
Hazards of Burning Wood in a Gas Fireplace
We can’t emphasize enough the importance of not burning wood in gas fireplaces without mentioning the dangers associated with it. The following are the severe issues you are likely to encounter:
1. Excess Smoke and Poisonous Gas
Your gas fireplace is designed to burn gas fuel only, thanks to its unique ventilation system. You can guess where the smoke will go if you burn wood in it: inside your house, disturbing the quality of the indoor air.
The colorless and odorless byproduct of burning fuel (carbon monoxide) will not only affect your body’s internal tissues but also threaten your life.
Remember your gas fireplace is connected to a feeder gas line. Do you wonder what might happen if the smoke and heat enter through the fuel inlet pipe? An explosion along the gas line becomes imminent.
3. Risk of a House Fire
This is perhaps the biggest risk of burning wood in a gas fireplace. Because the resulting fireplace heat can be so powerful, it can radiate into the walls around it and put your entire house only one step from being engulfed in fire.
4. Risk of Damaging the Fireplace
Because propane and natural gas always burn at lower temperatures, burning wood in a gas fireplace will certainly cause more heat and potentially destroy the lining and internal components of the fireplace.
Can You Convert Your Gas Fireplace to a Wood-Burning Fireplace
If your gas fireplace was originally wood-burning, then it’s possible to convert it back. This means you can add some arrangements to your gas fireplace insert or logset to burn wood in them, as we had mentioned earlier. However, there are some key things you should note:
So, what are these adjustments you must make?
How to Convert a Gas Fireplace to a Wood-Burning Fireplace
It’s worth noting that you should contact a professional to help you convert your fireplace to ensure safety. Don’t do it by yourself because you’ll be risking your safety and that of your family.
After a professional has completed the three steps above, you can start burning wood on your new fireplace without the fear of fire, explosion, smoke, or damaging the fireplace.
Tips for Safe Disposal of Gas Fireplaces
Perhaps you don’t need your old fireplace anymore because you are installing a new advanced one. If that’s the case, this section will provide you with safety tips to help you dispose of it appropriately while considering how risky the process is.
Other Items You Shouldn’t Burn in a Gas Fireplace
Other than wood, many people endanger their safety by burning other materials in gas fireplaces. Protect yourself and your family from chimney fires and harmful chemicals by avoiding burning these items in your gas fireplace:
Cardboards look ideal for starting a gas fire. However, it contains ink and chemicals that, when burned and released into the air, could cause serious breathing problems.
People burn plastics daily to save money or for convenience. Still, they produce harmful byproducts like carbon monoxide that are dangerous when breathed in. One of the products of plastic burning, dioxin, can have serious health impacts that mothers can even transfer to newborns during pregnancy. Instead of burning plastics, consider taking them to a recycling center.
You don’t need fire accelerants such as grill fluid or gasoline to kick start your gas fireplace – the burning fuel is flammable enough. While it may seem so reasonable to use them, fire accelerants cause the resulting flame to burn at temperatures so high that it may damage the fireplace.
The fire can also flare up the chimney, igniting creosote and soot in the vent outlet. Generally, fire accelerators should be used outdoors only.
Paper or Boxes with Colored Print
Like cardboard, some boxes such as cereal boxes, wrapping paper, magazines, and pizza boxes are treated with chemicals that could be dangerous when burned. They also have a high surface-to-mass ratio, meaning they can burn much more quickly and produce tall flames that might ignite the creosote inside the flue.
You might be tempted to dispose of a Christmas tree in the fireplace when the holidays are over. You shouldn’t because, besides burning poorly, it will leave dangerous resins in the chimney and elevate the risk of chimney fires.
To sum everything up, you should never contemplate burning wood in a gas fireplace because there’s not enough venting. While some gas fireplaces might allow wood burning, you must seek the services of a professional gas fireplace installer first to help you convert them into a wood fireplace. They will remove the gas inserts, cap off the gas lines, and ensure proper ventilation.
You can get away with burning wood in a gas fireplace, but it is safe to say you are only beckoning a fire accident. Find a pro instead of risking your home or your safety.
Featured Image Credit: Piqsels
- 1 What Is a Gas Fireplace?
- 2 Hazards of Burning Wood in a Gas Fireplace
- 3 Can You Convert Your Gas Fireplace to a Wood-Burning Fireplace
- 4 How to Convert a Gas Fireplace to a Wood-Burning Fireplace
- 5 Tips for Safe Disposal of Gas Fireplaces
- 6 Other Items You Shouldn’t Burn in a Gas Fireplace
- 7 Conclusion