I got this idea a few months ago and finally got around to getting things taken care of. In my mind, this was to be an easy project, but in reality things got a little complicated.
I decided long ago that the time for burning wood in the fireplace was over. Being limited to cool Spring and Autumn nights wasn’t going to cut it.
As you are probably aware, burning wood in a traditional fireplace is actually negatively efficient, meaning you do more harm than good. The whole problem stems from leaving the fireplace flue open after you go to sleep at night. The fire goes out and the warm chimney acts as a sucking mechanism to remove any heat you generated earlier in the evening and kindly places it on the outside of your four walls. While I’ll be the first to admit that I love a warm fire, I’ll also be the first to admit that I am not a fan of finding wood, splitting it, bringing it inside and burning it only to make the house colder than it was before I started.
I’m sure I told you about trying to put another pellet stove insert in the fireplace. I probably also told you about getting a wood burning stove. Neither of those ideas worked out and were way too expensive anyway. There is a payback period to these investments and let’s just say that the initial investor rarely gets paid back. I had to think of something cheaper and easier. That’s when I came up with the idea of getting gas logs.
I did a quick browse of Home Depot’s website and found some very inexpensive gas log sets. There were anywhere between $139 and $300. Not bad. I thought that I would simply “T” off of our existing propane line that we use for cooking and run a line over to the chimney through the basement ceiling. I would snake it right up through the clean-out door and into the bottom of the fireplace. Yeah, right.
I called the local gas log people to get some other prices. They talked me out of the Home Depot gas log sets immediately. I know their spiel, but knew they were right. I wanted to get quality and the price that they were offering wasn’t bad. I generally like to go with local places like this because I usually run into problems. When that happens, I need someone to call. In this case, they came in very handy.
Let’s make a long story short. I picked up a 50 foot run of nice heavy duty coated copper propane tubing. I went down into the basement to do the quick snaking job I had all planned out. I took one look up in the ceiling and got depressed. I took another look and realized that my whole plan wasn’t going to work unless I moved some heating pipes and drilled some holes. What made me think that this was going to work is beyond me. I called the gas log people and asked them if it was weird for someone to have two propane tanks. They said it wasn’t weird at all.
After a bunch of calls to propane places and deciding to cancel my account with my current propane company (for having exorbitant prices), I set up a time for both the gas log installer and the propane company to come and do their thing. The reason I used the gas log installer was because I didn’t feel like buying an expensive drill bit to go through the side of the chimney. Also, after watching what these people did, I am glad I went this route. I don’t need to mess with propane lines. The project was to install the gas logs while the propane company set up a new 120 gallon propane tank on the opposite side of the house than our original propane tank.
Okay, so here’s what the breakdown is:
– White Mountain Hearth Refractory Sassafras Gas Log Set – $600
– Fireplace hood – $100
– Gas log set installation – $350
– Initial propane set up with 109 gallons of propane – $440
I’m sure I am missing something in there. If you are thinking about a project like this, please take my advice and realize that the cheap $200 gas log set in Home Depot idea quickly turns into a project costing well over $1000. But, once it’s done, you won’t need to deal with messy wood, bags of pellets or any of that stuff.
Now, I can (and already have) pour myself a nice glass of wine and sit in front of what looks just like a wood fire, but for much less hassle.
Here are some pictures and video I took of the gas logs, the propane tank, setup and a live fire. Enjoy.
White Mountain Hearth Refractory Sassafras Gas Log Set
PS – be sure to watch in HD.