Q: Jason, I have a wood fireplace right now but no supply of wood. I am thinking of converting to a gas log fireplace to supplement my home heat. What do you think? -CM
A: CM, I have my opinions on this but this story from a customer speaks so well on the subject I will share that with you instead:
“…If you live in a cold climate area I wouldn’t really recommend you do anything with a wood burning fireplace, but plug up the chimney and maybe put a few candles in it. Why?… because I learned the hard way that fireplaces and gas logs are excellent ways to suck money right out of your pocket.
A few years ago I thought I would supplement my heat by burning wood in my fireplace. Turns out my heating bill went up because the fireplace was sucking the air out of my house when I burned. So I converted to a gas log fireplace (which it sounds to me like you have a partial gas log setup right now that needs fixing.) Well, part of having a gas log installed to code is to disable the damper or clip it open. This was even worse! I was constantly losing heat and the living room was drafty.
I ended up plugging the chimney with a Chimney Balloon to stop the cold draft from coming down the fireplace flue. This was allowable under code since the Chimney Balloon would melt and fall out if I accidentally light a fire under it. You see, this stupid “disable the damper building code” is only there so people don’t light a gas log and leave the damper closed on accident and therefore asphyxiate everyone in the house or set the place ablaze.
OK, long story short…I ran up my heat bill and spent $500 on a professionally installed gas log only to end up with a fireplace I don’t use because it wasted too much heat. So I put candles in it and plugged it with a Chimney Balloon.” – Terry B