Converting a Wood Fireplace to Gas (Everything You Need To Know)

Do you want to convert your wood fireplace to a gas one? You will be happy to know that it is definitely possible! However, there are a few things you need to know before you go about changing your wood fireplace to gas, but luckily, we have everything you need to know right here. 

To convert a wood fireplace to gas, you need to inspect your chimney, apply for a gas line, decide what kind of gas fireplace you want, and hire a respected contractor. Although it will usually cost a few thousand dollars to convert your fireplace to gas, it will be easier to clean and use and safe for your home. 

In this article, we will step through why you may want to convert your fireplace to gas, as well as what you need to know before doing so, how to understand what type of gas fireplaces you can opt for, and even how much this whole process will cost you! 

Why Convert Your Fireplace to Gas?

Before we discuss how to go about converting your wood fireplace to gas, you should first understand why this may be the right (or the wrong) option for your home! 

Realistically, many homeowners want to convert their fireplaces to gas because they are easier to use, are cleaner, and they produce less air pollution in your home than their wood counterparts. 

Gas Fireplace
Gas Fireplace

However, before you go ahead and convert yours, there are several pros and cons that you should be aware of.

Pros of Gas Fireplace

  • Easier to cleanNo soot, debris, or ash
  • No indoor air pollution
  • Faster to start and put out
  • No wood needed
  • They are safer

Cons of Gas Fireplace

  • Installation can be expensive
  • Propane is expensive
  • There is no “fireplace” aroma
  • It doesn’t look as pleasing (to some)Produces less heat
  • Professional maintenance required

Now, if you think that the cons are worth the pros and want to go ahead and convert your fireplace, everything you need to know is right here. 

What You Need To Do Before Converting Your Fireplace 

It’s important to understand that before you can even begin the process of converting your fireplace to gas, you first need to do two things: Inspect your chimney and apply for a gas line. 

While both of these steps are fairly easy to do, you will need professional help to make them happen. 

Inspect Your Chimney

Realistically, all wood fireplaces require a chimney to remove the smoke and polluted air created from your home; however, not all gas fireplaces need a chimney to function. 

If you are planning to use the chimney you already have instead of installing a ventilation system for your proposed gas fireplace, you need to inspect your chimney to ensure it can do the job. 

While you will almost certainly need to contact a professional gas fireplace installer to find out if your chimney will function properly with your new fireplace, you can inspect it yourself first to ensure it is clean and ready for use! 

To do so, just follow these simple instructions:

  • Look up your chimney from the inside to ensure there are no bird nests or blockages. 
  • Check to see that there are no bricks or mortar cracking or falling with a flashlight. 
  • Ensure you can see clear skies above the chimney and there are no trees blocking the exit. 
  • Check to make sure the flume opens and closes properly. 
  • From the outside, ensure the chimney rises at least 2 feet above your roof. 

If your chimney passed all these tests, then it can be used for a gas fireplace! 

Apply For Gas Line

Next, you will need to apply for a gas line to be installed in your home before you convert your fireplace to a gas model. 

No matter where you live in the United States, a new gas line needs government approval. So before you even install it, you will need to apply for the permit to put one in at your local building department. 

Usually, you can reach out to your local county clerk’s or registrar’s office to find the number for the department which accepts gas line applications. 

It’s important to note that the application will ask where you plan to put the gas line, so you may need to reach out to a professional before you apply to ensure you have all the information you need. 

Another pro to hiring a contractor first is that they might be able to complete this step for you, saving you time and energy (although you’ll probably have to pay them to do so.)

Understanding the Types of Gas Fireplaces 

Once you have completed the two steps listed above, you can now decide what kind of gas fireplace you want to put in your home. And there are a lot of options to choose from! 

But we have a cohesive list of possible gas fireplaces right here, complete with lists of pros and cons for each so that you can confidently decide which one is right for you. 

Gas Insert

Gas inserts are one of the easiest and most affordable ways to convert a wood fireplace. 

Essentially, the gas insert can just be placed where your original fireplace was and use the same chimney, which means you don’t need to install a ventilation system. 

Gas Insert
Pros of Gas InsertCons of Gas Insert
Easy to installAffordableProduce heat
Variety of style options
Units are pre-built
Options may not fit the size of existing fireplace

Unless you want a uniquely designed gas fireplace that you cannot find as a gas insert, or you do not have a functioning chimney and would prefer a ventilation system, this is certainly the simplest way to convert your fireplace to gas! 

Direct Vent Gas Insert

Next on the list are direct vent gas inserts. Like standard gas inserts, these models come as pre-built units and are extremely easy to install. 

However, they differ in that the direct vent gas inserts have double chambers. One that brings cold air out from the home to fuel the fire and a second one that removes the fumes. 

Direct Vent Gas Insert
Direct Vent Gas Insert

Because of its setup, you do not need to install a flue to get the air in and out. 

Pros of Direct Vent Gas InsertCons of Direct Vent Gas Insert
Easy to installProduce sufficient heat
Plenty of style options
Units are pre-built
Need ventilation system installed

Direct vent gas inserts are slightly more expensive than standard gas inserts, but they are more cost-efficient when in use! So you may end up making your money back quite quickly if you use it often. 

Vent-Free Gas Insert

While direct vent gas inserts require a ventilation system, vent-free gas inserts don’t! 

In fact, you don’t even need a chimney or a functioning fireplace in order to successfully install a vent-free gas insert. 

Here’s how it works: Vent-free gas fireplaces pull air in from the home and move it through a regulator to create the flame. Then, the warm air from the fire is moved back into the room instead of a vent outside the home. 

Vent-Free Gas Insert
Vent-Free Gas Insert
Pros of Vent-Free Gas InsertCons of Vent-Free Gas Insert
No need for a chimney or flueEasy to install
Substantial heat created
If the sensor malfunctions, carbon dioxide could leak into the home

It’s extremely important to understand that because this option does not have ventilation, it does come equipped with carbon monoxide sensors. However, you need to ensure the sensors are always working properly to keep you and your family safe. 

Vented Gas Logs 

There is also an option to opt for a vented gas logs fireplace for your conversion. 

Vented gas logs really look the part; they produce a large flame and beautiful fireplace for your home without having to actually use wood. 

Vented Gas Logs 
Vented Gas Logs 

But while vented gas logs are quite popular, you will need a functioning chimney, flue, or some kind of ventilation system installed in order to use them. 

Pros of Vented Gas LogsCons of Vented Gas Logs
Looks like a real fireplaceFast to turn on and off
No clean up
Doesn’t produce a lot of heat and needs ventilation
Can be expensive

Although vented gas logs are more expensive than some of the other options on this list, many people select this type of fireplace as they look so great in the home. 

Zero Clearance Fireplace 

Zero-clearance fireplaces are extremely popular for those who do not have or want to build a stone fireplace around the unit itself. 

Essentially, zero clearance means that the fireplace does not need to be any distance away from combustible materials as it is completely insulated within itself. 

Zero Clearance Fireplace 
Pros of Zero ClearanceCons of Zero Clearance
Create substantial heat
Don’t need insulation
Very safe
Need a chimney

Although they are often more expensive than some of the other options, and they do need a chimney to function, zero clearance fireplaces are safe, convenient, and often beautiful to look at. 

Vent-Free Gas Logs 

And last but certainly not least, you have the option for vent-free gas logs. Similarly to vented gas logs, these fireplaces truly look like wood fireplaces, making them quite popular for homeowners. 

As well as the beloved aesthetic, vent-free gas logs are also well-liked because they do not require a chimney, flue, or ventilation system, making them extremely easy to install. 

Vent-Free Gas Logs 

However, it is important to note that, like vent-free gas inserts, your family members may be at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning if the system is not installed correctly.

At the end of the day, vent-free gas logs are considered a safe addition to your home. But you should absolutely have a professional do the installation. 

Pros of Vent-Free Gas LogsCons of Vent-Free Gas Logs
Natural aesthetic
Create substantial warmth No vent, flue, or chimney is needed
Can leak carbon monoxide
Can be expensive

How Much Does it Cost To Convert Your Fireplace to Gas?

Finally, you probably want to know how much it will cost you to convert your wood fireplace to a gas one. And the truth is, it isn’t that cheap. 

It’s important to understand that while it is possible to install your own gas fireplace, it’s really not recommended unless you have previous experience with similar jobs. So for most homeowners, hiring a professional is the only option. 

To hire a professional to convert your fireplace to gas, it will usually cost about $3,000. However, the final cost will depend on your current fireplace, the chimney, which gas fireplace you choose, and the labor costs of that specific contractor. 


To convert a wood fireplace to a gas one, you need to apply for and install a gas line, decide what kind of gas fireplace you want, and hire a reliable professional to do the job. 

Just remember, although converting your fireplace to gas does come at a hefty price point, it can improve the air quality in your home, make enjoying a fire far easier and faster, and reduce the cleaning process! 

Luckily, you have all the information you need to decide if a gas fireplace is the right choice for your home.

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