I’ve been looking into converting my wood burning fireplace to something that doesn’t require me to carry firewood up 2 flights of stairs from the garage.
I also find that while I LOVE real fires, I’m not going to start one unless I’ll be sitting by the fireplace all evening or having company over. Which means I rarely used my fireplace in my first house. I’ve been in my condo now since October, and I didn’t burn a single fire my first winter here.
I need to do something because next winter I do want to enjoy the fireplace.
My initial thought was to find a way to use a BBQ size gas propane tank to fuel some gas logs since I live in an all-electric condo. I do have a deck directly behind my fireplace, and I once sold a condo with the same issues. That condo has a gas line from the fireplace to the propane tank that sat directly behind it on the deck.
The problem is that I’ve been told you could burn through the propone tank gas really quickly if you are using it with gas logs. And remember, I have 2 flights of stairs from my car…and those tanks are HEAVY when they are full.
Plus, the cost of buying the gas logs and paying to have them installed will be expensive.
Instead, I’m looking at an alternative option.
Gel Fueled Fireplace Logs:
Gel fireplace logs from Amazon.com
If I’m going to spend the money to convert my fireplace, I want to get real flames. While the electric fireplace inserts have definitely improved in recent years, they still don’t have real flames.
Gel fireplaces, however, do have real flames.
The way it works is that a set up logs similar to the gas log inserts are placed in the fireplace, and then you light gel fuel canisters whenever you want a fire. Most log sets hold 2 or 3 gel cans, and the reviews all say that they burn for about 3 hours. The gel canisters run about $3 per can, so that means it will cost about $6-9 for a 3 hour fire.
The cost of the fuel will add up, but the cost of the logs and installation so much cheaper that it would take a while to break even. If you are on a budget can can’t afford gas logs, this is a great alternative.
See more information on cost comparisons for different type of fireplaces…
A gel fireplace is also a smart choice if you will have a hard time running the gas line to your fireplace due to a finished basement.
Gel fireplaces can also provide a solution to historic homes with decorative but non-functional fireplaces. While these fireplaces were once used to heat the homes, current building codes require them to have a flue liner, and that can get really expensive if the fireplace doesn’t have one or it needs to be replaced.
I just listed a house today that is 108 years old and it has a beautiful fireplace, but the owners don’t know the condition of the flue and were told when they bought the house that the fireplace was non-functional.
They have a set of candles in the firebox. And while candles are fine, if the next owner wants a real fire, a gel fireplace insert is a really good option.
Disclosure: This blog post contains advertising. If you click the links for the fireplace logs and end up buying something (the logs or something else), I will get paid a tiny amount of money which will help me get closer to my dreams.
Just bought a house w/ a gas fireplace we can’t use as it is old and when gas turned on there are leaks. Can we just leave the gas off and pull out the gas logs and replace with gel burning logs and use those or does the firplace need to be revised? Thank you.
If you have leaks, you definitely need to bring in your gas company to make sure that everything is sealed off well. I think how you handle pulling out the logs and disconnecting from the gas line will depend on the municipality. A plumber can handle the gas line work safely…not something you want to try to do yourself.
Thank you so much.
I’ve got a fireplace with gas logs, and I really want to change to something else. I’d thought about going back to wood burning, but that’s a hassle. Do you know if the gas logs I currently have could be used with gel fuel or do I need to replace them? My other concern is what to do about the gas line that’s in there now. Do you know if that needs to be pulled out and the line capped? The fireplace originally had a gas starter to help the logs fire up initially.
I doubt that your current logs can be used with the gel fuel, but that’s really a question for the gel fuel manufacturers or a fireplace company. As far as the gas line, if you pull out the gas logs you’ll want to have the gas line capped just inside the fireplace. It will make it easy for a future owner to put gas logs back in if they want them.
The only way to have a fireplace is with real flames. They are the key ingredient to the sensational feeling a fire gives off and don’t forget the warming smell of woodburning! Traditional fireplaces for the win!
I agree that woodburning fireplaces are best, but there are a lot of places with non-functional fireplaces due to issues with the flue or chimney..so they can’t be woodburning without a lot of expense. The gel logs offer an alternative to putting in costly gas logs. Or not being able to do anything if it truly is only a decorative fireplace and doesn’t even have a chimney.
Can candles be used in a gel fuel fireplace. I bought a gelfuel fireplace from home depot but dont want use my fuel till winter.
A fireplace would be a really nice feature especially in the Winter. I love that fire places are able bring the warm feel of a cozy flame into your home safely. Considering your gas line when installing a fireplace could a beneficial factor to look into. Thanks for your post!
I have 22″wood urning fireplace. What size imitation logs would be used and how many cans of gel fuel?
I would follow the instructions provided by the log manufacturer. Sorry I can’t help more.
I have an old electric fireplace that is broken. I have removed the electrical faux logs and was wondering would it be okay to install the faux gel-fuel log set? Thanks.
I really have no idea. I would ask at a fireplace store.