Our house was built in 1923. Prior owners converted from wood burning to gas. We went to remodel the tile's around the fireplace and found a problem. The original opening was much larger and not filled in, thus causing our main living room with cool or cold drafts. Is there a proper way to fill in this area prior to redoing the tile with stone? There is a mantel around fireplace that is one piece covering top and sides. Also, Is there an easy way to update the gas fireplace and adding a timer knob or remote for ease of use?

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Any type of photo or even a rough drawing might help get more suggestions from the community. As far as the opening at the hearth being to large you will need firebrick to enclose it to the size required. In place of common cement mortar a refractory-type is used to bond the bricks together. It would be wise to dry- stack the bricks in the proposed location and see how it affects the draw from the hearth. That way you are able to add or remove bricks to control air draw before they become permanent. Also, unless the chimney was upgraded at the time the fireplace was changed from wood to gas fuel, you should make sure the flue is the correct type. I seem to recall that the smoke from burning natural gas may cause an accelerated deterioration of the original brick and mortar chimney. It would be worth having it checked and looked at.

  • Burning natural gas does create "acid rain" (well, acidic water vapor that can condense on the cool chimney liner). Over decades of regular usage, it may eventually degrade the clay. (Natural gas is mostly methane, and the reaction is CH4 +2O2 => CO2 + 2H2O, assuming burners are properly adjusted for complete combustion).
    – MadMonty
    Dec 18, 2023 at 1:30

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