Converting back to wood burning

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Old 07-28-15, 06:37 PM
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Converting back to wood burning

Hi all,
I need to convert our fireplace back to a wood burning one. It was originally, then the previous owner went to gas logs. Now we are selling it and need to go back to wood burning.
I have a few questions:
1. Should I remove all gas piping and the regulator from the entire fireplace, or shoujld I just leave it all there in case they want to go back again to gas?
2. I don't know what they had to change or remove to go from wood, so if anything was actually removed or changed, do you guys have any ideas what I would need to put back/remove?
3. If i do remove all the piping from the fireplace, I assume I should block the holes in the masonry? or not? If so, what would you use, mortar?

thanks for any advice,
Scott
 
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Old 07-29-15, 05:00 AM
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If you are selling the house - why change it? many folks prefer gas logs because it's easier with less mess.
 
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Old 07-29-15, 06:31 AM
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When they converted from wood to gas they may have modified the chimney for a smaller insert. Not sure if they remove the damper or if the chimney that remains is suited to return to wood. Those inserts are a bit expensive.

When people have a traditional open fireplace i will recommend they replace it with a sealed combustion wood stove or look at a gas insert.

In your case my concern would be, was the gas insert installed properly, to code? Gas is not something that should be hacked together. If it was installed by a qualified company, I agree with Mark, it might be better to leave it.

Bud
 
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Old 07-29-15, 08:17 AM
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I agree with Mark - more likely to help the sale as gas than wood burning these days.
 
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Old 07-29-15, 08:25 AM
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Actually the buyer has requested it be converted back, I guess they prefer the natural wood burning.
I dont know if the existing gas setup was installed to code, it was there when we bought the house. Their home inspector already looked at it, and I suppose if it wasnt up to code he would have mentioned it in his report. The only thing he said, which I think they all say by default, is that it is safer to have the valve located outside the fireplace instead of inside where it is. I looked up the code though, and it does give the exception "unless installed according to manufacturer's instructions".
Anyway not to sidetrack the main topic i had, but just wanted to answer the question you raised.
 
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Old 07-29-15, 08:42 AM
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With them requesting the conversion it creates the potential for you to make the conversion and then for some reason the deal falls through. Perhaps a quote from a fireplace business with an allowance on the selling price. I have seen deals fall through for a variety of reasons and some at the very last minute.

Note, don't assume any inspection was done as it should have been . You are on the selling end, but far too many inspections are only meant to accommodate the sale so the RE people get their commission.

They want it converted, but often insurance companies frown on an old style fireplace, high risk.

Best,
Bud
 
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Old 07-29-15, 09:57 AM
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I would sell it "as is" and allow them to make changes. Right now it appears to the up to code.

Any changes you make puts YOU responsible for the effects of the alteration. The critical item for fireplaces is the chimney from a life and safety standpoint. I doubt the chimney liners for the current tin chimney would be adequate for a wood-burning set up. That puts you on an even playing field with the buyer and negates to possible out by the "unless installed according to manufacturer's instructions". A home inspector is not qualified to comment on code violations since it is not a code inspection based on what is visable, but to point out any possible safety items.

Do you have a copy of their inspection report in your hands now? That could give some credibility as to the present condition regarding the "unless installed according to manufacturer's instructions" clause.

Dick
 
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Old 07-29-15, 10:08 AM
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I'd get a couple estimates to have this done and then just credit the new buyer an amount in that range.
 
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Old 07-29-15, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Bud9051
They want it converted, but often insurance companies frown on an old style fireplace, high risk.
Talk to the buyers about this. Many insurance companies really don't like open fireplaces and woodburning stoves. No insurance = no mortgage. As mentioned, there are several downsides to this being done prior to closing.
 
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Old 07-29-15, 11:32 AM
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There certainly some companies that have different conditions when providing insurance.

My mother had professionally installed cast iron "Franklin" stove and had insurance coverage. When she applied for a renewal, she made the mistake of saying she had an existing wood burner and refused to cover it. A relative was her agent said the the current insurance company wanted to reduce the amount of exposure in that type of exposure (wood burning appliances). The agent was able to find a new insurer for a minor increase.

That was only one individual situation, but insurance companies look at the exposure and not just the premiums when is comes to exposure to losses and in northern Wisconsin, the majority of the homes have some wood burning appliances they were just starting to reduce the possible liabilities. It had nothing due to code compliance.

Dick
 
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Old 07-29-15, 05:18 PM
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Yes i have a copy of the report. Here is the excerpt:
The fireplace flue door is missing a c-clamp device. This device is installed to prevent the flue from fully closing while the pilot light and/or gas logs are in use, preventing carbon monoxide build up in the home. A qualified contractor should install the c-clamp device per the fireplace manufacturer's instructions.
Excessive sooting was noted in the gas log fireplace. This is usually an indication that the fuel/air mixture is out of adjustment. Recommend further evaluation and correction by a qualified contractor.
The main gas control valve was within the firebox of the fireplace. This is hazardous. Recommend having the gas valve properly relocated to a position outside of the firebox.

So out of these three, I think the two would not be applicable anymore, and that leaves me with the C-clamp device.
I was going to remove the gas burner and valve, and leave the gas piping there, but capped off, in case someone changes their mind again. Of course I would also disconnect the other end of the line from the meter and cap that as well.
What about the rack that holds the gas logs, should I leave that for them, or would wood logs require a different type? (maybe wider?)
 
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