The Salt Lake Valley has long been known as an area with one of the worst air quality issues in America. The inversion that settles in with the cold air causes an increase in air quality concerns as the air is essentially trapped underneath a “bubble.” Utah state lawmakers are pushing help people regulate the air by using voluntary action to stop burning a wood stove or fireplace due to diminishing air quality. What was once a suggestion is now a requirement. The Salt Lake County Board of Health voted to make it illegal for anyone to burn solid fuel including wood, coal, or pellets. Individuals using wood-burning stoves and fireplaces will be forced to find other ways to heat their homes. Charcoal grill flames, bonfires, and patio pits are all off-limits when quality regulators issue warnings. There are some areas where residences only use wood or coal to heat their home; these homeowners have exceptions to the rules if the home is above 7,000 feet and there are power outages. If you are caught violating the “red” days, you can end up with a $299 fine. The voluntary action days will not fine people, but homeowners will be issued a warning. Now that Salt Lake is using a wood burning fireplace ban, what can you do if you own a wood fireplace?
Convert a Wood Burning Fireplace to Gas
Did you know a wood fireplace is not effective at heating a room? A wood fireplace pulls warm air from inside your home and sends it up the chimney. A wood fireplace ends up cause a number of respiratory problems for some people dealing with asthma or allergies. As Utah is concerned over air quality concerns, a number of studies have shown wood burning fires are responsible for serious air pollution problems.
Why Turn Wood Fireplaces into Gas
The Utah wood fireplace ban is focused on reducing air quality concerns as the pollution levels have drastically increased over the years. According to KSL, health officials state that “one fireplace emits as much particle pollution as 90 sport-utility vehicles, and the pollution from one traditional wood-burning stove is equivalent to the amount emitted by 3,000 gas furnaces producing the same amount of heat per unit.”
What is the Cost to Convert Wood Burning Fireplace to Gas?
At Black Diamond Heating & Air, we provide several solutions for homeowners that need to convert a wood fireplace to a gas fireplace. A vented gas log normally works for homeowners that are dealing with a tight budget. A simple fireplace log can simulate the look of wood, and the flame and embers are relaxing and cozy. Based on your budget needs, some models will include a remote control or light switch to turn on and off. There is an adjustable flame control for the vented gas log sets to keep the fire at a cozy level. Gas fireplace logs have the same open combustion as wood, which can leave some dangers and health hazards. The chimney damper must remain open because the fire will use the air in the room. Some homeowners need to keep a window slightly open when the fireplace is used to maintain clean air in the home. The vent-free fireplaces normally cost less than $1200. A complete conversion with a new fireplace insert can cost around $4000 or more based on the insert and amount of work required.
Changing a Wood Burning Fireplace to Gas
Using wood to gas fireplace conversion kit does not require structural changes. Normally a gas line needs to be run to the area where the fireplace is located. If the gas line is close, it will make a difference in the overall cost to change over a wood fireplace to gas. The gas log kit gives the look of fire, but it doesn’t provide a lot of heat. The right installation needs to include additional things light a tight-fitting glass door. The doors need to be airtight to keep the cold air from coming into the home when the fireplace is not turned on.
What is a Vent Free Gas Fireplace?
Some people like the idea of vent free gas fireplaces as no exhaust goes up the chimney. All the heat will stay in the room, and you still have an open fire to enjoy keeping the room cozy. The combustion exhaust will wind up inside, and the moisture is released into the home as well. A vent-free fireplace is not recommended for anyone with asthma, allergies, and heart conditions. The vent-free fireplace is only set up to be used for three to four hours at a time. These fireplaces cannot be used as a main heating source in the home.
Changing a Wood Burning Fireplace to Gas
Contact our team at Black Diamond to look at your furnace in Utah. We can determine what options are available for your home to create a beautiful fireplace that you can enjoy. A true gas fireplace insert is a great way to enhance the look of a room. Modern inserts will provide an open flame without the worry of carbon monoxide poisoning and other health risks. The glass doors must remain shut to seal the fire chamber so the combustion air is piped in, and the exhaust air is piped out. Unlike a gas log, the fireplace insert is an actual heater that operates around 85 percent efficiency. The fireplace insert can easily heat a home and only costs a few cents to heat the home each hour. The other benefit of fireplace inserts is how they use natural gas, reducing outdoor pollution. The other major benefit is the remote control operation provided with these inserts. Within a second you can have heat in the room by turning on a remote control.
Important Tips to Remember When Turning a Wood Fireplace into Gas
Gas fireplaces have a major advantage when the power goes out as they can still effectively heat a home since they do not need electricity. When you compare the convenience, safety, ecology, efficiency, and ambiance of the fireplace, converting a wood fireplace to gas is a major benefit to your home. Here are some important considerations if you are planning to convert a wood fireplace to gas:
- Check for rebates and incentives in your area.
- Working gas lines must be installed by professionals; Black Diamond has certified technicians to handle this complicated process.
- If you use a wood-to-gas conversion kit, make sure you purchase the correct size log or fireplace insert.
- Follow correct maintenance and inspection recommendations to keep your fireplace working effectively.
If you are subject to the new Utah burning regulations, contact Black Diamond Heating & Cooling today. We will provide fireplace repair, replacement, and insert services to Layton, UT, and surrounding areas.