Have you ever thought about converting your old, no-longer used wood fireplace into an efficient, clean-burning and safe propane fireplace instead? This is a great time to do it, especially with the holiday season rapidly closing in on us. If you get started on this now, you could be enjoying your brand new propane fireplace just in time for the holiday season. That’s the time of the year when a crackling fireplace means something extra special.
One question that always comes up is: how much propane does a propane fireplace use? As a general rule, a propane fireplace uses about one gallon of propane for each 100,000 BTU. So if you install a propane fireplace that is rated 50,000 BTU, you’ll be using about one gallon of propane for every two hours that it’s in use. Now compare the expense and all of the work you put into operating your wood burning fireplace. You’ll probably be delighted by how much easier and inexpensive it is to have propane fireplace in your New York home.
Converting a wood burning fireplace to propane
Today’s propane hearths are available as freestanding stoves, built-in fireplaces, and sealed fireplace inserts that can be installed directly in your existing mantle. And they give you all the warmth and comfort of a wood fireplace without the drawbacks, and with some great benefits that you just can’t get from a wood-burning hearth.
Whether or not you have an existing fireplace, you can enjoy the benefits of a propane hearth in your home with these advantages.
Convenience: A propane hearth gives you warmth and a beautiful glow whenever you want it. And most of today’s propane hearths come with thermostats and remote controls. You’ll be able to control the heat and the flame intensity from the comfort of your sofa.
Versatility: A propane fireplace or freestanding stove is not only charming, it’s also a heat source that will keep your living space warm even when the power is out. No black-outs with propane!
Efficiency: A propane fireplace runs at around 80 percent efficiency. That makes it four to five times more efficient than a wood fireplace.
Health impact: You may think that wood smoke smells good, but it’s really not that good for your body. Fine particles, also known as fine particulate matter, are the greatest health threat from a wood fire. These microscopic particles can create respiratory problems and other issues. You don’t get these health risks with propane.
Environmentally-friendly: When we say a propane fireplace is better for the environment, we mean it. A wood-burning fireplace emits up to 4,000% more emissions than a propane-fueled fireplace!
What makes a propane fireplace efficient?
Today’s propane fireplace inserts have efficiencies that can go well into the 80 % range. That’s so much more efficient than a wood fire. As much as 90 percent of the heat produced by a wood-burning fireplace goes straight up the chimney! Did you ever notice how cold a room becomes when a wood fire begins to burn out? It’s because all the heat in the room is being drawn out the chimney!
Some hot trends in propane fireplaces
Fireplace inserts with blowers: If you have an open-concept kitchen-living dining area, or any other large space to heat, the multispeed blowers push warm air to the far corners of a room, providing better and more even heating.
Masonry fireplace refinishing: With a propane fireplace insert, you can update the style of your existing fireplace without a lot of expense.
More realistic flames: Better gas burner technology means more realistic flames that flicker and dance, just like a wood fire.
Once you get your new propane fireplace installed, count on your propane provider to keep you well-supplied so you can always keep your home fires burning.
How to light a propane fireplace
If you already have a propane fireplace, you know a big advantage is that there is no work involved before you get a fire roaring. You simply click a switch or use your remote control. But there may be cases when the fire does not appear. Problems like this usually happen because of a lack of maintenance. Here are a few troubleshooting tips.
If your fireplace has a conventional pilot light:
- Check the main valve to make sure the gas is turned on.
- If the gas is on, and the pilot hasn’t been lit in several months, try purging the air out of the pilot tubing. To do this, hold the pilot button down for about two minutes while the air bleeds out.
- If gas is coming out of the pilot, but it still won’t light, clear away any gunk sitting between the igniter and thermocouple, using a can of compressed air. If the problem isn’t fixed, it could indicate a bad thermocouple. At this point, it’s time to call in a propane professional to make repairs.
NOTE: Newer propane fireplaces have electric igniters rather than standing pilot lights. These are great for efficiency, but not so great for self-repair. It’s better to call in the experts.