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:
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.
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.