Converting a Fireplace to Gas
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Converting a Fireplace to Gas
We just purchased a 1910 bungalow in Berkeley and
unfortunately, the fireplace is in pretty bad shape. Not
only is the surround and hearth crumbling, the smoke shelf
seems to be collapsing as well.
We'd like to convert the fireplace to gas and luckily have a
gas line already installed underneath.
Does anyone have a recommendation on an installer and where
Thanks in advance!
I like the guys at Kidd Fireplace in Oakland. Of course,
every situation is different, but these guys will come out
and work with you. It can be complicated and you mention
the surround is crumbling... so this is a big project and
won't be cheap. Talk to Kevin and mention my name. Oren
Please be sure to check out The Irish Sweep. They are now
located in Alameda. They're on the web and have Yelp
recommendations. After the horrible earthquake I really
needed some help with my 1910 fireplace and chimney. The
Irish Sweep came in and repaired the chimney and placed an
insulated flue up the old stack. This modernized and made
safe the fireplace without damaging the character of the
original structure. We then installed a wood-burning Lopi.
This fall I had them come out and do the usual excellent job
of cleaning and maintenance. While they were there we went
over switching to a gas fireplace now that there are so many
Spare The Air days. They carry a beautiful line that I
chose called Valor along with some more modern fireplaces by
Morso and others. They will let you know exactly what you
will need done...a plumber for the gas line, etc. I highly
recommend them for complete satisfaction. suzymc
We are looking to convert the fireplace in our Rockridge
bungalow to a turn on/off gas one that hopefully won't look
too tacky (as realistic as one of these can look anyway).
Our chimney also needs to be anchored to our roof and
possibly repaired? It isn't in working condition now. Does
anyone have a recommendation for someone for the gas
conversion and chimney repair? or perhaps two separate
recommendations? Thanks! Karen
Martin Pendergrast will do it all. He is super nice and
honest. Just a lovely fellow. (510) 684-4969 Good luck
We are in the process of converting our fireplace to gas.
We decided to go with fire glass instead of a fake looking
log set. Do a google search for fire glass or check out
We are buying a house with a brick chimney, and the
inspector recommended that we remove it for seismic reasons.
We want to 1) have it removed, and 2) convert the
wood-burning fireplace to a gas fireplace instead. Are there
contractors who do both parts of this project, and if so,
whom would you recommend? I have seen recommendations for
chimney removal and for conversion to gas fireplaces, but no
one who does both. Also, can the same contractor seal up the
hole once the chimney is removed? EastBayMom
I'm not surprised that you could not find one person to do
both. Taking down the chimney is hard labor, while replacing
a wood burning fireplace with gas requires quite a bit of
knowledge and skill.
I should mention that you may not want to take down the
whole chimney if you want to save the fireplace. Most people
take the narrow part of the chimney down, and where it
widens out at the shoulder, they transition to the original
brick. Otherwise, it is very difficult to preserve the
lovely interior fireplace.
I would like to applaud you for converting to gas. Wood
fireplaces are very polluting and provide little if any heat
to the home. When the smoke goes up the chimney, it takes
heated air with it, sometimes actually cooling the house.
Kinda weird, isn't it?
Good luck with your project!
There are many
fireplace stores who can help you out. There are many
businesses that sell both wood burning stoves AND gas
inserts also. There is Buck Stove in Walnut Creek, O'Kell's
in San Francisco, and numerous others. If they will not do
work on your brick chimney, they can refer you to a
subcontractor who will do that. I have had O'Kell's install
my wood burning insert a year ago and they know the whole
business well. Oh, by the way, when you have a wood burning
insert, you do NOT lose heat through the chimney. It's
highly efficient. Not like a typical fireplace. That's the
whole point of an insert. I wouldn't go to a gas insert, but
that's just me. Good luck insert/fireplace user
Converting to gas fireplace
Hello BPN-ers. I wonder if anyone has any recent experience
with converting a traditional fireplace to a gas-powered
one, and can recommend a reliable and reasonably priced
outfit to do the work. Thank you in advance for your recommendations (and I'd
love to hear if there's someone I should avoid.) hoping to
be warm this winter
After getting a couple of bids from plumbers at $2K plus to
do the fireplace conversion--way more than I wanted to
spend--I did it another way, part unskilled DIY. Total cost:
Here's how. I bought the gas log fireplace insert at OSH. I
cleaned the existing fireplace box of ashes, swept it down,
and hired a chimney sweep to clean the chimney. I hired a
plumber to run the gas line into to the firebox and to
install the off/on valve in the floor next to the fireplace
(city permit required). Then I placed and connected the gas
log insert in the fireplace myself with a flex gas line and
tested it for gas leaks. That part doesn't require any
special skill to do and only basic tools. In my case, it was
10-12 feet for the plumber to extend the gas line through
the chimney. Done.
For the occasional cozy fireside gatherings, the gas 'fire'
is oh so pleasant, trouble-free and non-polluting. If you
have a fireplace damper, it MUST be open when you use the
gas 'fire' due to carbon monoxide danger, and you should put
in a carbon monoxide monitor down low on a wall near the
fireplace. OSH sells a nice variety of gas log fireplace
Mind you, trying to heat a house this way is not the best,
as fireplaces are not efficient, even if gas fired. Much
heat is still lost up the chimney.
Fireside & Cheap
Where to buy fireplace insert
Does anyone know where to buy a fireplace insert now that
Tubmakers has closed? There are some recommendations for
installers, but not stores. Has anyone ordered a fireplace
I have had two inserts now. The really only way to do it is
to buy the insert from a wood stove store and they install
it for you. I would not separate the two. you buy it from a
wood stove store, they install it. There are only a few
around; there's Buck in Walnut Creek and O'Kells in San
Francisco; those are the main ones. fireplace insert owner
We went into Blaze Fireplaces after reading some good
reviews elsewhere . . . and were delighted to find Ivan,
the wonderful sales person from Tubmakers, who had recently
started work there. Smart, knowledgeable, friendly, helpful.
There were at least 20 working fireplaces to see, and many
more in catalogs. We found exactly the insert we wanted.
Blaze can do the installation, but Ivan connected us with a
man who used to do theirs, but works independently, and did
a great job at a lower cost. http://www.blazefireplaces.com/
Blaze Fireplaces in San Francisco. They have a big showroom
and that is where the top salesperson from Tubmakers now
Hoffman Construction in Walnut Creek specializes in gas
inserts that provide a good amount of heat - they did a good
job for us and we no longer have to run our furnace as much
as before. The fireplace heats the area of the house we use
most and uses less than half the gas of the furnace. Jim -
Finishing Rooms Construction, Inc jon
We have a working fireplace in my home and I love a good
fire on a cold day but I'm also aware that it's probably the
least efficient setup for getting the heating potential out
of the wood.
I recently heard that it's relatively easy to install a wood
burning stove into an existing fireplace. A good stove can
heat more effectively, for longer, and with less wood than
an open hearth fire, and with less air pollution too! Plus,
you could boil a pot of cider on the top of it.
So anyway, I'm clearly sold on the idea but I don't know
where to start. Has anyone in the area done this? Can you
recommend a contractor and/or a stove dealer? I'd love an
antique one, but I'll take whatever is reasonably priced.
Go to Tubmakers on Ashby. They sell spas AND fireplace/wood
stove equipment. I had a great experience there a few years
ago. I first went browsing, since I was interested in a
gas fireplace insert for an aged fireplace that was no
longer safe to use. I spoke with the sales person. I
explained I was considering a gas fireplace insert AND I
wanted to remove a deteriorating chimney. First off, they
had the perfect fireplace insert. But how to install it?
Tubmakers referred me to a contractor called Fog City
Chimney which did a fantastic job both of installing the
insert and removing my chimney and framing/patching the roof
where the chimney was removed. It was very, very easy.
Convert fireplace to gas?
We rarely use our fireplace and would love to make it a
safe, easy-to-use source of heat. Did you convert your
fireplace to gas? Did you buy the 'blower attachment' to
push heat into the room? Are you happy with the results?
Can you recommend a place to buy the parts? Any brand to
buy, or avoid? Thanks for any advice... I see many cold
days ahead! heidilee
We installed 2 gas fireplaces 5 years ago and have been very
happy with them. Ours are manufactured by Valor (their
Portait series) and we did install the blowers. If you want
to use them for heat, I would highly recommend getting the
blower. It does a good job of distributing heat, and the
temperature of the room will rise 3 degrees AFTER the burner
shuts off, just from the blower distributing the residual
heat. The blowers turn on or off based on the temperature of
the fireplace, so they start up a few minutes after the
fireplace comes on (it has a programmable remote control
thermostat) and shuts off a few minutes after the fireplace
The blower is fairly noisy, however, which reduces the
ambiance, so you really have to decide what you want (you
can always shut off the blower).
We got ours at Tubmakers on Ashby in Berkeley, and arranged
for installation through them. Didn't have any complaints.
Hi, I want to put a gas fire place in our wood burning fire place... how much does that
The price will depend on how big your fireplace is, what kind of
gas fireplace you choose, what kinds of accessories you get, and
the details of the installation, such as how far gas piping will
have to be run and what kind of electrical work is needed.
However, all that said, we are buying a gas fireplace for about
$3500, and have found a contractor (one they recommended) who
will do our installation for $1880 (not the cheapest, but we
think the difference will be worth paying for). The fireplace
on order from Tub Makers on Ashby in Berkeley, so we haven't had
any results yet. We did a gas fireplace in another house a few
years back, ordering the fireplace from the same place but using
a different installer, and were very happy with the product but
not with the installation, so it matters who you pick. If you
look at fireplaces, measure the opening of your fireplace first
(height, width, depth). Hope this helps.
I don't know how much it costs because my husband had this done
before we met and I moved in, but I can tell you where *NOT* to
go to buy your gas fireplace due to our experience. I would
strongly warn against going to Tubmakers on Ashby in Berkeley.
Our gas hearth is from them and recently required repair. We
called Tubmakers and hired the repair service they recommended,
Kidd Fireplace Services. While the repair person was prompt, he
was rude to the point of threatening (while I was home alone and
very pregnant) and charged me by the minute, including the
several minutes it took him to write up our bill. In the end
fireplace was exactly the same and I was left shaking. When I
called Tubmakers to let them know, the *owner* of the store
actually hung up on me.
While I realize this might sound extreme and like I might be
crazy lady, I assure you this kind of thing has never happened
me before; I have had plenty of contractors in our home lately,
and have not had any problems of this sort!
After the cold winter we're having (yes, I know I'd perish in the
Midwest snows), I would really like to have the front part of our
home (a ''great room'' with a galley kitchen) heated by a gas
fireplace, where now it is just an empty wood-burning heat
vampire. We don't burn wood for obvious reasons and the little
gas wall heater at the back of our tiny house is not good at
heating the front living spaces. I have this idea that maybe we
should investigate the GLASS fireplace inserts that consist of a
gas line and burner, covered in tempered glass. Does anyone have
any idea of someone I could call about this? Have you had one and
how did it work for you? We need a gas line to be run from the
gas main but it wouldn't be more than about 10 feet (little, tiny
house in Albany). Any help is much appreciated! Jennifer AKA
My friend, who also has a tiny Albany house, had her fireplace
converted to natural gas. It looks nice, the fake logs look
fine, and it's still nice to watch the ''fire'' burn. My friend's
was done by *Fireplaces Plus* in El Sobrante. I called them for
a price quote, thinking I'd like to convert too, and was told it
would be $1,500-$2,000 and up, depending on what model/features
are selected. That price included running a 10 foot gas line
into the existing fireplace and the basic fake log gas insert
without glass doors.
Can anyone recommend someone who can convert our existing wood-
burning fireplace into a gas-burning one? We are not looking to
purchase an gas insert. I think we just need someone who can
install a gas line in our fireplace. I checked the archives but
the recommendations seem to be only for chimney cleaning and
repair. Incidentally, if you're looking for a chimney sweep, I
highly recommend Nick of Berkeley Chimneys. We hired him to
install a damper and he did a great job and was a really
pleasant person to work with. Thanks.
We live in a 1100 square foot wooden house built in 1949. It only has one low wall-
floor heater in the hallway, which we don't like to use. We had a gas insert installed
in our fireplace almost a year ago and are very happy with it and the folks who did
the work. Harold is the owner of Fireplaces Plus and he personally came out to
measure and do some of the work. His two employees did a great job, cleaned up
and were done in one day. Fireplaces Plus offers a wide selection of screens (which
are glassed to protect people and animals from the heat) and inserts, depending on
the size (depth, width) and type of fireplace you have. We chose a soft flame which
has 2 setting. Harold gave us a thermostat control so we can set maximum heat,
leave it on, or turn it off. Our fireplace now heats up our large living-dning room
and is very cozy! Plus, it was less expensive than I expected, so I'm a very happy
customer. His number
is 510-223-8345 http://www.fireplacesplus.com/
I'm looking to install some sort of insert in the living room
fireplace, to seal it against the draft, for aesthetic purposes
and for very occasional use.
Does anybody have a recommendation on retailers
and installers for this sort of thing?
Top Notch Energy and Spa in San Leandro.
The actual process of ordering our insert was a little wild,
but once the order was placed, it was installed within a few
weeks and looks great.
The other place you may want to try is the Fireplace in
I recently got a Regency insert and it's great, Lopi was the
other one I considered and there's hardly any difference.
Tubmakers on Ashby can sell you one. The required stainless
chimney liner and installation will add a fair amount to the
cost. Get a quote, then call the other fireplace shops in the
phone book (one in san leandro and one in san rafeal) then ask
Tubmakers to match or beat the price. You can save hundreds this
way. Sometimes the manufacturer is throwing in a free blower or
surround so be sure to ask.
We found our gas fireplace insert at Tubmakers on Ashby in Berkeley. Don't let the
name fool you - they specialize in both Spas and fireplace inserts. Per
recommendation from Tubmakers, the insert was installed by Fog City Chimney (we
also had them remove our brick chimney at the same time). We are extremely
happy with the results and had good experiences with both of these companies.
Work was done exactly 2 years ago.
Fog City Chimney 415-383-2351
We had a very good gas fireplace insert installed last December by Fireplaces Plus. It
gives a nice glow, heats the living/dining rooms, looks great and is energy efficient.
The owner is Harold Sheats and he and his staff are terrific. 510-223-8345 http://
www.fireplacesplus.com/. We have been enjoying our gas insert fires a lot!
I would like to have a gas fireplace insert put in our fireplace. Nothing fancy,
able to heat our large living room-dining area.
In 2005, We bought a fireplace insert from Tubmakers on Ashby for our 1905
Berkeley house, and used an installer that was recommended by Tubmakers - Fog
City Chimney. Phone number is 415-383-2351.
They were responsive, prompt, good at scheduling, did good work, and were
friendly and courteous. I didn't get competitive bids, but their price seemed
reasonable. It is a small company. Chris, who is the owner of the company,
supervised the work. The work that we had them do was:
remove our brick chimney, which was a bit of a challenge given the steep pitch of
our roof, frame and patch the hole in the roof where the chimney used to be, and
install the gas insert into our existing fireplace, including gas piping and venting.
I would definitely recommend them to friends.
this page was last updated: Feb 9, 2013
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