Common Fireplace Questions

How much does it cost to convert my wood burning fireplace to a gas fireplace?

Converting a wood burning fireplace to gas is done by installing a gas fireplace insert. The cost of a gas fireplace insert fully installed typically ranges from $3100 to $3400. This cost includes a gas fireplace with a front and surround, a fan, a remote control, the gas line installation, the electrical installation, pipe for venting, and all city and state permits and inspections.

How do I light the pilot on my gas fireplace?

Every model is different.  Please refer to the owner’s manual for your specific brand and model. To view a general guideline for many gas fireplaces, see our how to light a gas fireplace guide.  

Is your company licensed, insured and bonded?

Yes, The Fireplace Guys is licensed by the Minnesota Department of Labor, the state holds our mechanical bond, and we carry $2 million of general liability insurance. Our license number is: BC641848. Our mechanical bond number is: MB643168. A current certificate of insurance can be provided upon request.

Can I still operate my gas fireplace if the power goes out?

As long as your gas fireplace has a standing pilot ignition system, it will still operate during a power outage. (Some electronic ignition fireplaces have battery backup which allow you to start the fireplace during a power outage). Since the fan requires 110VAC to function, it will not be operable in an outage. NOTE: If you have a remote control on your fireplace, you most likely will need to turn your fireplace on manually during a power outage. This is done by locating the ON/OFF rocker switch located behind the lower grille of your fireplace, and turning it to the ON position.

Can a blower be added to my fireplace , gas or wood?

Blowers are optional on most heat circulating (grilles on top and bottom of fireplace) units, and some hearth products the blower is standard. Adding a blower is easily accomplished if power (110 VAC) was provided to the electrical junction box of the fireplace at the time of initial installation. If power was not provided, a fan option is still possible, but installation is complicated and therefore more costly.

Can I rearrange the logs in my gas fireplace?

We recommend not moving the logs. Placement of the logs is critical to the operation and performance of the fireplace. Misarranged logs can result in operational problems

Can I Buy Different Logs For My Gas Fireplace?

Unfortunately No. The logs and burner in your Fireplace were specifically designed and tested to work as a "unit." Changing anything inside your combustion chamber could result in damage to your fireplace.

Why do I have blue flames?

This is a result of normal operation and the flames will begin to yellow as the appliance is allowed to burn.

Can a flat screen TV be installed above your fireplace?

Yes, however you should check with the TV manufacturer and/or store you purchased the TV from. We recommend you place the TV at least 24” above the top of the opening of the fireplace and most importantly, recessing the front of the wall above the fireplace so recessing the TV into the wall will move it out of the path of the heat.

Why is there film on the glass of my gas fireplace?

1) During the first eight (8) hours of use for a new Gas Fireplace (also called the initial "burn-in" period), the burning off of the oils and paints used in the manufacturing and curing process often leave a film on the glass.

(2) The film is a by-product of burning natural and liquid propane (L.P.) gas.

(3) The burning of dust and dirt that's been brought in with the combustion air can also leave a film on the glass.

Glass should be cleaned within 4-6 hours of initial burning to remove deposits left by oils from the manufacturing process.

Is it okay to burn wood or other materials inside a gas fireplace?

No other materials may be burned inside a gas fireplace. The gas fireplace is designed and certified by UL specifically to burn only LP or Natural Gas. Burning wood has a much higher peak temperature that can not only permanently impair the fireplace itself, but also provide a real fire danger to your home and occupants. Even something as simple as burning paper can harm the fireplace's internal controls and possibly overheat and break the glass.

What is the cost to operate?

This varies by region, by gas utility and by fuel type. Based on national averages, a gas fireplace consuming 27,000 BTU's per hour will cost from 12-15 cents/hour to operate. LP units are slightly higher to operate. Your monthly gas bill should include your exact cost per therm (100,000 BTU's). Based on this rate, and the BTU input listed on the rating plate on your fireplace, you can calculate the cost for your area.

How much gas does the pilot light use?

This will vary by region, by gas utility and by fuel type. The pilot is consuming 600 to 900 BTU's an hour. Your monthly gas bill should include your exact cost per therm (100,000 BTU's). Based on this rate, you can calculate the cost for your area.

Can I shut the pilot off in the summer?

Yes, or you can safely leave it burning. The pilot helps keep the moisture from inside the firebox, which is caused from the humidity in the air. It also will extend the life of the thermopile and thermocouple when the pilot is left on.

Does a direct vent fireplace need to be on an outside wall?

No, with today’s venting options, hearth products can be installed very economically almost anywhere in the home.

What are the advantages of the direct vent fireplace?

Direct vent technology is available in single-sided or multi-sided fireplaces, as well as freestanding and insert models. They use a sealed combustion chamber that vents out the back or top, to the outside. This allows easy installation of a beautiful and realistic fireplace without the expense of a traditional chimney system. Because no room air is used for combustion, direct vents are especially efficient (up to 80+%) and will not alter the quality of your room air. All combustion air is drawn from outside the home and 100% of the combustion by-products are exhausted to the outside.

Can the gas fireplace be installed in a bedroom?

Yes. Most building codes allow the installation of a gas fireplace in a sleeping room as long as it is a sealed combustion, direct vent model.

How often do I have to clean the gas fireplace and vent?

Although the frequency of your fireplace servicing and maintenance will depend on use and the type of installation, you should have a qualified service technician perform an appliance check-up at the beginning of each heating season.

What is a direct vent fireplace?

A Direct Vent Fireplace is a gas log fireplace (propane or natural gas) that has a flue at the top or back of the fireplace that vents directly out side. Fresh air is brought in through a pipe surrounding the exhaust flue so that no air is required from inside the home to sustain the fire. Unlike Vent-less Fireplaces, all the combustion gases are vented outside. The Direct Vent Fireplace has a glass plate that seals off the firebox from the room. Below and above the firebox are vents that allow cool air to enter at the bottom and exit as hot air at the top.

What is an insert?

Inserts are designed to enhance the operation and appearance of an existing wood burning fireplace, whether masonry or factory-built. Categorized primarily by the fuel burned for operation (natural gas, propane, EPA certified wood, pellet and coal), a fireplace insert is installed into an existing wood burning fireplace. Fireplace inserts are made from cast iron or steel and have self-cleaning glass doors that allow the dancing flames of the fire to be viewed while the insulated doors remain closed, making the fire more efficient. Many manufacturers also augment the operation of fireplace inserts by offering state-of-the-art features such as fans and thermostatic controls (depending on the fuel).

What is the difference between an insert and a fireplace?

An insert is designed to be placed into an existing masonry or factory built fireplace. A fireplace is either masonry (not zero clearance) or factory built (zero clearance) unit built for burning wood or gas.

What is a BTU?

A BTU or British Thermal Unit is the amount of heat required to raise 1 pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit. All gas appliances are rated in BTU's/hr Input which is an approximation of the amount of gas consumed on full fire in one hour as expressed in terms of the heat potential of the gas.

Can I regulate the heat output from a gas fireplace to maintain a comfortable room temperature?

Yes, many gas fireplaces are designed to operate with a thermostat control. Homeowners can set the desired room temperature using a thermostat and the fireplace will automatically turn on or off according to the desired temperature.

What does the term Zero Clearance mean?

Zero clearance simply means "0" inches are required between the fireplace and combustible materials. Therefore, framing dimensions are dramatically minimized - allowing the unit to be placed right up against interior or exterior walls. Because there are no restrictions on clearance requirements needed around the unit itself, the unit can be placed right up to an interior or exterior wall for a tight fit. However, we do recommend a 1/4" space for expansion space. (When metal heats, it will expand.)

What is the difference between “steady state” efficiency and AFUE?

Steady state efficiency means only the efficiency of the fireplace when its burning is tested. AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) means that both the on cycle and off cycle are calculated in the efficiency rating. By including the off cycle (when the fireplace is turned off), a more accurate yearly operational cost can be estimated.

Can I put a fireplace in my home if I don’t have a chimney?

Absolutely, we can install a gas fireplace in almost any situation no matter the size or layout of your home.

Are your Fireplace Technicians Certified?

Yes, our technicians are NFI (National Fireplace Institute) certified.

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