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I would like to know if my current gas fireplace can be converted to a wood burning fireplace. The house has a masonry chimney but I have not done any inspections yet. If it can be converted how would I go about doing this?

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2 Answers

There's two factors here: 1) Can he fireplace physically handle a wood fire and 2) Does local code allow for it.

Regarding #1, if it's a gas insert...meaning it used to be a wood fireplace and then a gas fireplace was inserted into it, it may physically be able to convert back. If you have a proper masonry chimney and firebox, then it may very well have been originally a wood fireplace. To find out for sure, you need to contact your local fireplace contractor.

Regarding #2, that might be the bigger hurdle--especially if you are in a metropolitan area. Lots of metro areas no longer allow you to 'revert' back to wood for air quality reasons. You may be able to use a high efficiency wood insert, thought. To find out for sure, you need to contact your local building department.

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Unless it is a dual fuel fireplace that originally was created to burn either gas or wood, no. A wood burning insert must be able to withstand much higher temperatures. The manual that came with it will tell you how to convert between fuel types.

And in areas where building codes are strictly enforced, unless it was listed and approved for being a wood/gas fueled appliance, it will be breaking the law.

On top of that, if it isn't rated for wood, any insurance company will probably cancel your policy and will deny claims when it's shown to be the source of the house fire.

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