Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Installing gas logs...

Jeff_17
Jeff_17 Member Posts: 99
My wife and I would like to install a gas "coal" insert for our existing fireplace. The fireplace was originally coal burning, but we do not burn anything in it anymore. I wanted to install a vent-free unit and still keep the existing chimney OPEN. All that is needed is a gas line run from the cellar up through the existing firebox....how difficult a job am I looking at to get through the brickwork?

Comments

  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
    Some things to consider...

    I'm a mere homeowner myself, so discount appropriately. However, I think you'll be encountering two issues.

    1) The extant chimney is likely to be way oversized for the application you have in mind. IIRC, the typical gas-fired coal sets call for something like 5" round or so. Most older chimneys feature 12" square flues. The trouble with with venting a gas fireplace into an oversized chimney is one of draft (it may not be very good) and, more importantly, condensation.

    Particularly if this is an exterior chimney (i.e. one that is built into the side of the house), you should seriously consider getting the old chimney lined with a stainless or Al tube liner. The reason being that when (not if) condensation occurs, it will rot out the chimney from the inside. The more you use your fireplace, the worse the problem becomes. That is, unless you have another appliance like the home heating system sharing that flue (illegal these days)

    For a comparable, look no further than the rear chimney that used to grace our home. For all intents and purposes, it was abandoned, though a gas water heater still used it as a flue in the basement. Down there, between spalling brick and fist-sized holes in the brickwork, it was apparent that this chimney was in trouble. Even on the 2nd floor, the brick indicated 96% water content! We had to pull the chimney down.

    So, if you want to go to a gas log system, I'd reline the chimney unless you plan on using the gas logs very infrequently.

    2) Getting the gas to the firebox is probably fraught with all sorts of permitting issues. I would educate myself at the local building department re: the requirements and have a pro install the log set. Otherwise, you're personally liable if there is a problem and the house goes boom.

    Don't get me wrong, you could probably get away with just running a flexible stainless gas line via the ash pit in the chimney base up to the firebox and hence avoid most, if not all, drilling, etc. But I doubt doing so would be either legal or wise. Plus, unless you have relevant, up-to-date experience sealing and installing gas systems, you could very well harm your family if you try this DIY, no matter what HGTV, internet sites, etc. may suggest.
  • Jeff_17
    Jeff_17 Member Posts: 99
    What if you do not

    have an ash pit....?

    Another question....

    I want to install a vent-free...like my gas cooktop and use this about 2x per month for asthetics ONLY! Still a problem with condensation?
  • Betz
    Betz Member Posts: 58
    I installed gas logs

    in my old fireplace where we burned wood. It was a vent free. The dealer recommended that we just put some sheet metal up so we wouldn't lose all the heat from the room. But my chimney was an old brick one layed up at least 75 years ago. I haven't had any problems getting some heat and a nice look from my vent free fireplace.
  • Dale
    Dale Member Posts: 1,317
    Vent free?

    Before you go with a unvented unit you may want to look at the discussion in http://www.chimneysweeponline.com/ go to the gas insert page and at the bottom why venting is a good idea. Think about a drain free sewer, sounds good at first. If you live in a drafty house in Alabama or some pretty warm place and don't need the heat the fireplace insert puts out and don't have any concern about the moisture and carbon monoxide input and are willing to leave a window open when the unit is running maybe they are OK at a very low input.Please consider a VENTED heater rated insert,powerpile ignition,put a thermostat on it and you have safe heat if the power goes out. As to the gas piping roto hammering inside a firepalce is not a popular task. If you have and ash dump you can sometimes snake csst up. Sometimes we come into the fireplace from the outside and run to the meter. Every one is different, what we usually try to do is measure carefully, rotohammer down into the ash dump foundation, roto hammer from the side a hole to pass a 1/2 elbo and have the up guy drop a long nipple down into the elbo. Once you are outside the fireplace foundation the piping is easy.
  • Betz
    Betz Member Posts: 58
    actually

    Most new unvented gas appliances are safer than vented ones because they have O2 sensors on them and will shut down if the oxygen levels drop only slightly. On the other hand, a vent can become inoperable causing the carbon monoxide to stay in the room at a much higher rate.
  • jeff_34
    jeff_34 Member Posts: 5
    Dale....

    Would you happen to be ANYWHERE near Northern NJ?

    I can handle the gas line connections with no problem...but have never rotohammered.....

    If you are anywhere near the area...I would love you to take a look..otherwise, should I call my plumber?
  • Dale
    Dale Member Posts: 1,317
    Magic of internet

    No, sorry, in Wisconsin. Many plumbers will only do the gas hookup on a time and material basis or they will go pretty high with the bid to cover the unknown. See if you can find someone who does alot of gas piping as the best route of the pipe is sometimes not the obvious one. For rigidity I like to see black iron run into the bottom or rear (often easiest on an outside chimney)shutoff and then appliance connector. Having said this alot of inserts are now run with csst. Sometimes in the attic to where the location is. Just depends. Whatever you decide to buy will have the listing instructions which should be followed. If you do go down into a ash pit foundation, get a extra long 1/8" drill and drill down next to the chimney into the basement so you can measure accurately. This is no time not to have holes line up.
  • Jeff_17
    Jeff_17 Member Posts: 99
    Thanks Dale...I will try my local plumber first....BUT

    what would be the reason there is not ash door/pit in my firebox.....?

    There is plenty of chimney below...that is or sure....I can drill up through the firebox floor save for the fact there is a HUGE piece of cast iron that runs the length from side to side and back to front...God knows how to get through that!?
  • Mijola
    Mijola Member Posts: 124
    Vent Free Fireplace

    Below is a cut & paste of a post I made on the forum HVAC-TALK regarding vent free gas fireplace equipment. HVAC-TALK has a section dedicated to Fireplaces, that if frequented by experts that specialize in Fireplace equipment. I suggest that you check that site and search vent free gas fireplace equipment before you act.

    This is the link to the Fireplace section of HVAC-TALK
    http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/forumdisplay.php?forumid=4


    MY POST ON HVAC TALK WAS AS FOLLOWS;

    My thoughts on Ventless gas equipment


    In 1978 the CPSC already knew that ventless heaters were a BIG problem and a danger.


    http://www.classaction.findlaw.com/recall/cpsc/files/1978feb/78010.html


    What has changed since then, other than a lot of lobbying by gas supply companies and the manufacturers of vent free products? Because the gas companies and the vent free manufacturers and some installers make BIG MONEY on these products, they are still sold by the millions.

    People will naively ask “well if vent free gas products are so much of a problem, how can they be sold”??? I answer, “Look at cigarettes. Regardless of how much damage they are KNOWN to do, people are willing to buy them, and therefore others make MONEY from making and selling them”. As long as there is money to be made, someone will make it and to hell with the health and safety of others in the process.


    And if you still want to use a vent free fireplace product, then maybe you should also save the second link:

    http://www.anattorneyforyou.com/legal/vf_index.htm

    Why do you think that second site even exists? Because someone out there sees a large enough MARKET for that second link. And if you are a contractor who installs or services vent free gas fireplaces, you may have the dubious distinction of being part of THEIR MARKET.

    The operative term there is MAY. Not all people who smoke get cancer, an not all vent free fireplaces will cause soot or CO in homes.

    As Mr. Eastwood said "So do ya feel lucky?"

    Regards,

    Ed Carey

  • Mijola
    Mijola Member Posts: 124
    Vent Free Fireplace

    Below is a cut & paste of a post I made on the forum HVAC-TALK regarding vent free gas fireplace equipment. HVAC-TALK has a section dedicated to Fireplaces, that if frequented by experts that specialize in Fireplace equipment. I suggest that you check that site and search vent free gas fireplace equipment before you act.

    This is the link to the Fireplace section of HVAC-TALK

    http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/forumdisplay.php?forumid=4


    MY POST ON HVAC TALK WAS AS FOLLOWS;

    My thoughts on Ventless gas equipment


    In 1978 the CPSC already knew that ventless heaters were a BIG problem and a danger.


    http://www.classaction.findlaw.com/recall/cpsc/files/1978feb/78010.html


    What has changed since then, other than a lot of lobbying by gas supply companies and the manufacturers of vent free products? Because the gas companies and the vent free manufacturers and some installers make BIG MONEY on these products, they are still sold by the millions.

    People will naively ask “well if vent free gas products are so much of a problem, how can they be sold”??? I answer, “Look at cigarettes. Regardless of how much damage they are KNOWN to do, people are willing to buy them, and therefore others make MONEY from making and selling them”. As long as there is money to be made, someone will make it and to hell with the health and safety of others in the process.


    And if you still want to use a vent free fireplace product, then maybe you should also save the second link:

    http://www.anattorneyforyou.com/legal/vf_index.htm

    Why do you think that second site even exists? Because someone out there sees a large enough MARKET for that second link. And if you are a contractor who installs or services vent free gas fireplaces, you may have the dubious distinction of being part of THEIR MARKET.

    The operative term there is MAY. Not all people who smoke get cancer, an not all vent free fireplaces will cause soot or CO in homes.

    As Mr. Eastwood said "So do ya feel lucky?"

    Regards,

    Ed Carey

  • Mijola
    Mijola Member Posts: 124
    Vent Free Fireplace

    Below is a cut & paste of a post I made on the forum HVAC-TALK regarding vent free gas fireplace equipment. HVAC-TALK has a section dedicated to Fireplaces, that if frequented by experts that specialize in Fireplace equipment. I suggest that you check that site and search vent free gas fireplace equipment before you act.

    This is the link to the Fireplace section of HVAC-TALK

    http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/forumdisplay.php?forumid=4





    MY POST ON HVAC TALK WAS AS FOLLOWS;

    My thoughts on Ventless gas equipment


    In 1978 the CPSC already knew that ventless heaters were a BIG problem and a danger.


    http://www.classaction.findlaw.com/recall/cpsc/files/1978feb/78010.html


    What has changed since then, other than a lot of lobbying by gas supply companies and the manufacturers of vent free products? Because the gas companies and the vent free manufacturers and some installers make BIG MONEY on these products, they are still sold by the millions.

    People will naively ask “well if vent free gas products are so much of a problem, how can they be sold”??? I answer, “Look at cigarettes. Regardless of how much damage they are KNOWN to do, people are willing to buy them, and therefore others make MONEY from making and selling them”. As long as there is money to be made, someone will make it and to hell with the health and safety of others in the process.


    And if you still want to use a vent free fireplace product, then maybe you should also save the second link:

    http://www.anattorneyforyou.com/legal/vf_index.htm

    Why do you think that second site even exists? Because someone out there sees a large enough MARKET for that second link. And if you are a contractor who installs or services vent free gas fireplaces, you may have the dubious distinction of being part of THEIR MARKET.

    The operative term there is MAY. Not all people who smoke get cancer, an not all vent free fireplaces will cause soot or CO in homes.

    As Mr. Eastwood said "So do ya feel lucky?"

    Regards,

    Ed Carey

  • Mijola
    Mijola Member Posts: 124
    Vent Free Fireplace

    Below is a cut & paste of a post I made on the forum HVAC-TALK regarding vent free gas fireplace equipment. HVAC-TALK has a section dedicated to Fireplaces, that if frequented by experts that specialize in Fireplace equipment. I suggest that you check that site and search vent free gas fireplace equipment before you act. Be sure to check the links in the post below as they are quite interesting.

    This is the link to the Fireplace section of HVAC-TALK

    http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/forumdisplay.php?forumid=4






    MY POST ON HVAC TALK WAS AS FOLLOWS;

    My thoughts on Ventless gas equipment


    In 1978 the CPSC already knew that ventless heaters were a BIG problem and a danger.


    http://www.classaction.findlaw.com/recall/cpsc/files/1978feb/78010.html


    What has changed since then, other than a lot of lobbying by gas supply companies and the manufacturers of vent free products? Because the gas companies and the vent free manufacturers and some installers make BIG MONEY on these products, they are still sold by the millions.

    People will naively ask “well if vent free gas products are so much of a problem, how can they be sold”??? I answer, “Look at cigarettes. Regardless of how much damage they are KNOWN to do, people are willing to buy them, and therefore others make MONEY from making and selling them”. As long as there is money to be made, someone will make it and to hell with the health and safety of others in the process.


    And if you still want to use a vent free fireplace product, then maybe you should also save the second link:

    http://www.anattorneyforyou.com/legal/vf_index.htm

    Why do you think that second site even exists? Because someone out there sees a large enough MARKET for that second link. And if you are a contractor who installs or services vent free gas fireplaces, you may have the dubious distinction of being part of THEIR MARKET.

    The operative term there is MAY. Not all people who smoke get cancer, and not all vent free fireplaces will cause soot or CO in homes.

    As Mr. Eastwood said "So do ya feel lucky?"

    Regards,

    Ed Carey

  • Robert O'Connor_7
    Robert O'Connor_7 Member Posts: 688
    Ed..

    Well said..Robert O'Connor/NJ
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,726
    These units are ILLEGAL in some places

    including Baltimore. We won't even run a gas line for one.

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
This discussion has been closed.