Converting a Wood Burning Fireplace to Gas

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Today I’m sharing my experience with converting my wood burning fireplace into a gas burning fireplace. I’m sharing why I made this decision, the gas fireplace insert I selected, and more!

Converting a Wood Burning Fireplace to Gas #gasfireplace #realfyre #fireplace #convert

Converting a Wood Burning Fireplace to a Gas Fireplace

Disclaimer: Before we get into my experience, I want to mention that I’m not a professional in this area. I highly recommend that you consult with an experienced professional that you trust – that’s what I did. There’s no room for error here. You’re dealing with fire, gas lines, ventilation, etc. I do not recommend attempting this yourself. In this post I am sharing my experience with the process; this is not meant to be a how-to guide. Do your homework. Hire a professional.

If you’ve been following along, I recently updated the cabinetry surrounding my fireplace in my living room. The installation is complete (see it here) and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. As part of this update, I decided to convert the fireplace from wood burning to gas.

Living Room Cabinetry Reveal #custom #cabinetry #livingroom #fireplace #builtin #bookcase #mantel #woodwork

Converting a Wood Burning Fireplace to Gas #gasfireplace #realfyre #fireplace #convert

I’m very lucky as I have three fireplaces in my home: one in my living room (that we’re looking at today), one in my family room, and one in my basement. All three fireplaces are wood burning. If I only had one fireplace in my home, I’d likely keep it as a wood burning fireplace. Nothing beats the heat, smell, and crackle of a wood burning fireplace. However, since I have three, I decided to change the one in my living room from wood burning to gas.

I have been in this home a little over two years and up until now, I have never used this fireplace. With the convenience and mess-free advantages of gas, I knew that I would get significantly greater use out of this fireplace.

Additional advantages of a gas fireplace include:

  • cleaner
  • easy on and off
  • less maintenance
  • no wood required.

How to Convert to a Gas Fireplace:

As I mentioned above, start by seeking out a professional. Initially I had planned to visit a local place that sells fireplace inserts / gas logs. However, a neighbor was kind enough to recommend a local fireplace expert that not only repairs and cleans fireplaces, but is someone who could assist me with the conversion of my fireplace from wood to gas.

From there the process was really simple. (Because I just had to pay the man and didn’t have to do any of the work.)

Converting a Wood Burning Fireplace to Gas #gasfireplace #realfyre #fireplace #convert

About my Gas Fireplace Set:

The system I used for the gas logs is called Real Fyre. I believe there are different systems out there, but this is the one my installer works with and recommends.

My set (G46 Burner) is vented; that means I will keep my chimney flue open when the fire is on. They also make vent-free options should your situation require that.

In terms of the actual unit, I selected the G46 which is a mid range model. This model gives me a variable flame which means I can adjust the size of the flame. My unit is controlled by a remote or through the control panel on the unit.

Converting a Wood Burning Fireplace to Gas #gasfireplace #realfyre #fireplace #convert

Converting a Wood Burning Fireplace to Gas #gasfireplace #realfyre #fireplace #convert

Speaking of the control unit, I’d have to say that this is the only disadvantage of a gas unit as it is a bit obvious that it’s there. They do provide a faux rock to place in front of it, but it’s still there.

When you are shopping for your gas fireplace unit, be sure to ask where these controls will sit. There are some models that require the unit to sit on the hearth of your fireplace which would be even more difficult to conceal.

Converting a Wood Burning Fireplace to Gas #gasfireplace #realfyre #fireplace #convert

Converting a Wood Burning Fireplace to Gas #gasfireplace #realfyre #fireplace #convert

You will also need natural gas for this type of fireplace. (I suppose that’s fairly obvious, but it’s worth mentioning.) I was fortunate in that my gas line comes into the house right below the fireplace, so running the line was fairly simple. My fireplace was also equipped with an ash dump, so it was even easy to install the gas line. (I believe there are some options available for propane if that’s what you have.)

My particular unit does not require electricity, so no electrical wires (or electrician) were needed.

Does a Gas Fireplace Produce Heat:


I was actually surprised at the amount of heat it produced. I would say it’s somewhat comparable to my wood burning fireplace.

Converting a Wood Burning Fireplace to Gas #gasfireplace #realfyre #fireplace #convert

About the Ceramic Logs:

There are a variety of log sets available. You can do everything from charred wood, to birch logs, to more modern options like spheres, cones, and even glass. There’s really something for everyone.

I opted for the Charred Oak. I love the look of the charred wood. The set also comes with glowing embers. The embers are the glowing bits below the logs. These really add to the realistic look of the fire. While the logs should last you a lifetime, the glowing embers may need to be replaced every year.

Converting a Wood Burning Fireplace to Gas #gasfireplace #realfyre #fireplace #convert

Converting a Wood Burning Fireplace to Gas #gasfireplace #realfyre #fireplace #convert

Another thing to note is that once you have your unit in place, you can buy new logs if want to change the look seasonally or just to try something new.

In addition to the logs and embers, my installer added some lava rock around the base of the fireplace. (This is not included in the kit.) I think this adds a really nice look, so it’s something I would recommend considering. You can find lava rock at home improvement stores or even on Amazon.

Other things to note:

  • When they are installing your gas line, be sure it’s wide enough. Narrow lines can create a whistling sound when the flame / fire is on its highest setting.
  • I don’t know what the requirements are for having a screen or doors on a gas fireplace. Be sure to check with you installer to see if you’ll need these. My installer told me I didn’t, though I may opt to add some sort of screen down the road.
  • If you are considering a gas fireplace, install a carbon monoxide detector if you don’t already have one. This is a must.
  • Plan on yearly maintenance and cleanings. It’s really important that you continue to have your system cleaned and inspected so that everything continues to function properly.

Converting a Wood Burning Fireplace to Gas #gasfireplace #realfyre #fireplace #convert

Alright, I think that’s it. I’m certain I missed something, so if you have additional questions please drop them in the comments below and I’ll be sure to answer them there and / or update this post.

I hope this was helpful. Overall, I’m incredibly pleased with this decision and would do it again in a heartbeat.

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  1. How did you get the brick cleaned up or was it painted? If so, what color / brand of paint. I was told I could paint the brick black but I prefer a light color. Yours looks beautiful!

  2. Hello, Michael,

    I think this question has been asked before but if possible can you please detail the cost of installation. I am trying to get it done by my handy man and on a low budget….one essential question I have is about the gas piping in the fireplace….is there any way that you can post some pictures of it without the logs in there?? Just to have an understanding of it’s gas pipe layout.

    1. I’m won’t be sharing the price as every set-up will be different. I had to have some gas lines run, etc. The best thing you can do is get a couple estimates to determine costs. Gauging it off of mine won’t be of much help. At this time I don’t want to remove the logs as they are set-up in a way that I really like and I don’t want to disturb them. I’m also not an expert in gas lines, etc. It’s probably best to have an expert look at your particular unit to determine the best / safest placement.

      xo Michael

  3. Hi! Love this. My fireplace guy is telling me I must have a glass cover and a built in screen over the glass, all which requires a metal surround.
    Did yours not have to have glass?

  4. What a beautiful, modern looking fireplace. I have an old gas fire (which I still love) but this is definitely the dream setup. I love your choice of the charred oak too, it looks so realistic.

  5. What are the dimensions of your built ins including the fireplace? How wide are the cabinets and how wide is the fireplace? I love your design and am thinking of having it copied when we finish our basement.

    Thank you for your time.


  6. Im also running my gas line up the ash trap, can you tell me- does the fire logs sit over top the gas line connection over the ash trap? did you have to raise the log set up over the gas line somehow? curios where the line is and if it was in the way of log set?

    thank you

    1. I hired out the work so I’m not really sure. From what I can tell the logs are over the connection, but it’s best to consult an expert with these types of things. I am not an expert.

      xo Michael

  7. Really nice job. I didn’t even notice the gas unit until you mentioned it. Looks great in your room with the updated cabinetry – it looks like my wife’s dream setup with all the white! Thanks for sharing.

    1. You’d have to ask your installer. My ash trap opens to the garage. They used mine to run the gas line. They did not fill it in.

      xo Michael

  8. I have a wood burning fireplace and am looking to convert to gas logs, however, I understand that you need to keep the fireplace damper FULL open while using the gas logs, doesnt that cause you to lose the majority of the heat generated up the chimney?
    I have a small house roughly 1200 sf and not looking to heat the entire house but hoping to reduce my oil use with supple.ental heat from the fireplace,

    1. The gas fireplace does throw heat into the the room. However, I don’t think gas fireplaces inserts like this are designed to be a source of heat for your home. I think for most “decorative” fireplaces (gas or wood burning) the damper should be fully open when in use. I’m not and expert. I definitely recommend checking with your local fireplace company or HVAC service to determine what options are best for your needs.

      xo Michael

  9. i too would love to see a cost breakdown. you would assume it is not a lot since i already HAVE a fireplace that burns wood and has a flue. to me, the greatest cost would be running the gas line and of course labor. anyone?

    1. The best thing to do is reach out to a local company to get an estimate. Most will do it for free. Costs for installation can vary greatly depending on where your gas line is, ventilation, etc.

      xo Michael

  10. I have gas (propane) logs and was told I must have the glass in front of it in order to aid the combustion? It’s vented outdoors. My friend had one that did not have glass, but was vented indoors. The problem was that after a short time the smell of gas was overwhelming and you had to open all the doors.Yours looks awesome and if I could change mine out, I would!

  11. I LOVE the look of these open gas fireplace units and really wanted one for our living room. We didn’t end up getting them because our local code requires that the damper be disabled and that was a NO go for us since that room gets so cold in the winter anyway! LOVE how yours came out!!

  12. Good tip having an independent worker install your unit, you probably saved a bundle. I have been researching an insert for my fireplace and the estimates were all close to or above $5K! And I already have a wood burning fireplace with a gas starter!

  13. Michael thanks for this post on fireplace logs. I’ve been looking at Realfyre Sets and couldn’t decide which ones to get. They have several G46 charred oak sets. Which style no. Do you have? Did you add any extra logs or does it come with all you show.

    1. Great question, I should have added that. I have the Charred American Oak (CHAO). I have the 24″ size. I did not buy any extra logs. Everything shown came with the system / set.

      xo Michael