When my wife and I bought our home, we were delighted by the giant fireplace centered in the living room.
Built from river stones with a polished concrete hearth and black walnut mantle, the fireplace is absolutely gorgeous and the focal point of the house.
The surrounding property is made up of twenty acres of forest and offers a plentiful supply of firewood. We looked forward to supplementing the heating system with this free energy source. We imagined ourselves sipping wine in front of a roaring fire on cold winter nights. We’ve now owned the house for nearly six years and only made one fire. We quickly discovered that chopping down trees and splitting logs is hard work and awful. Dragging wood through the house creates a giant mess. Starting a fire is difficult, time-consuming and leads to smoke, fumes, sparks and soot. To keep warm, we needed to sit right up near the fire. Plus, the thermostat is located in very close proximity to the fireplace. When there’s a fire burning, the furnace doesn’t start up and the rest of the house is freezing cold. The fireplace is now simply for decoration and a waste of space. I’ve begun looking into the possibility of converting it into a natural gas heater. A gas insert would provide the look of a wood burning fire with none of the drawbacks. We could start up the heater with the tap of a button on a cordless remote. We’d have the ability to adjust temperature and fan speed, and the heat would be spread evenly throughout the room. I’ve already discussed the project with a local HVAC contractor and gotten a quote. Converting to natural gas isn’t cost-prohibitive and the job would be completed in a single day.