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Can you convert your open fire to gas – and should you?

December 2021
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Open fires certainly have their appeal in the home, creating a wonderful ambiance on a cold day and a cosy feel to any property. But not all of us have the time or money to maintain them, leading to an open fire becoming more of a burden than a welcome addition to your home. Which begs the question: can you switch an open fire to gas, and is it the right decision? We’ve compiled all the answers to your questions to help you decide if converting your open fire to gas is the right choice for your home.

The benefits of a gas fire

There are several benefits to choosing a gas fire, starting with the efficiency they offer. While open fires are beautiful and traditional, they actually burn fuel incredibly fast and have an efficiency rating of just 30%! Comparatively, a gas fire can be as much as three times as efficient, pushing more heat around the room for better radiant heat output and heating power.

Wood burners aren’t necessarily a bad thing, as they’re considered to be a relatively carbon neutral form of heating. But open fires can also contribute to air pollution in your home, giving off dangerous particles that you and your family then breathe in. Gas fires are one of the cleanest options available for fires, only bettered by electric fires when it comes to delivering 100% clean air. However, gas fires are far more affordable, so you can keep the air in your home cleaner for less money.

Another benefit that gas fires provide over open fires is the level of convenience they offer. There’s less maintenance to worry about, since you won’t need to sweep up ash regularly or have your chimney swept as often, and you can operate them using a remote control rather than having to get up and add more fuel to keep the fire burning. With a gas fire, you’ll have a constant supply of fuel which makes it much easier to switch on whenever you like, without needing to think about sourcing fuel. Gas fires are also much safer, which is a benefit to your family members, especially if you have young children and pets.

How easy is it to convert an open fire to gas?

If you already have a chimney, you won’t need to seek consent from the council – you’ll just need a gas fitter to install your new fire and provide you with a code of compliance certificate. However, it’s always worth checking with your local authority just to be sure. You’ll need to select the gas fire you want to install, checking the dimensions for the space you have available, and have the chimney swept before you make any changes to your fireplace. You will also need to ensure that you have the right-sized gas line installed for correct gas flow to the appliance and that it’s the appropriate size for the BTU rating of the gas insert.

It’s best not to assume that your chimney is suitable for the upcoming changes – always have it checked for damaged and carry out a smoke test to see whether a flue liner is needed. You’ll also need to ensure that your new gas fireplace is fitted by a Gas Safe engineer – our Gas Safety and HETAS Registered installation team can fit your new fireplace and carry out any associated building work that’s needed.

From greater efficiency to increased convenience and better air quality, gas fireplaces offer numerous benefits over open fires. If you’re inspired to make the switch to a gas alternative to your open fireplace, get in touch with the team at Sussex Fireplace Gallery – we have extensive experience in the installation of fireplaces and are happy to advise you on all aspects of switching over to a gas fire.

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