There are a few steps you must take to convert a wood fireplace into propane fireplace, though with the right tools and requirements, you should be able to complete the project in a matter of hours. There are many benefits to completing the conversion, such as the fact that you will no longer have to clean up ashes or worry about them getting on your floor. A propane fireplace also means no more building fires and keeping warm with just the flip of a switch.
Though the conversion has benefits and is relatively easy, it is very important that it is done correctly so that you do not injure yourself or cause damage to your home.
Step 1: Get a Permit
It is very important that you go to your local courthouse or city council to apply and collect a building permit and a list of code requirements. Building without a permit may hurt the resale value of your home, as well as legal fees later on. Building permits will give you guidelines on how to convert your fireplace so that you meet all of the city, county and state building laws. These laws are generally written to protect you as a builder and to protect your home from damage caused by incorrect work that does not meet specifications.
Step 2: Chimney Inspection
Before you begin the conversion, it is important that your chimney is properly cleaned and inspected. Make sure that there is no damage and that there is a place where you can install lining for a propane or gas stove. If there is no lining installed, you may want to consider hiring a professional line it for you as this can be very time consuming and dangerous work.
Once the chimney is ready, make sure that you open the damper permanently by installing the damper door or wing by simply unscrewing the hinges from the chimney.
Step 3: Route a Gas Line to Your Fireplace
Once the chimney is completed, you must find the closest available gas line to your fireplace. Figure out what the easiest and safest route should be from the line to the fireplace. If possible, choose a gas line from outside as it will be much easier to connect the line, as if you choose one from indoors, you will need to remove your walls and rerun the line in most cases. This will require a lot of extra time, work and money.
For the extension, it is important that you use black pipe or galvanized pipe. Make sure that you do not install the gas valve any closer that 4 feet to the outer part of the fireplace. It is a good idea to use a valve that needs a key to activate and deactivate it, though you must remember to keep the key close to the valve.
Step 4: Conduct a Pressure Test
Before you install the gas logs, it is important to make sure that the pressure of the line is 15 PSI. This will ensure you that there are no leaks in the line that could cause damage to your home. If the pressure is incorrect, you must fix all leaks before continuing on.
Step 5: Install Gas Logs
As gas logs will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, it is very important that you follow the instructions that came with you kit. This should not only tell you how to place the logs, but how to connect them to a switch that will allow you to turn the heat on and off.