Published at Sunday, December 09th, 2018 - 10:43:32 AM. Fireplace. By Fanny Ungar.
I have been in this situation many times and the answer is often gas logs. I have had clients with damage to their chimney flue inside a wall and believe they can put a gas log fireplace kit into their wood-burning fireplace instead of repairing the damaged flue. This is a mistake, and a dangerous mistake. Gas logs use liquid propane or natural gas instead of wood for fuel. When gas burns, oxygen is burned and carbon monoxide is created. If there is damage to the flue, a typical gas log fireplace is not the answer because the fresh air ventilation is still necessary to pull out carbon monoxide. The answer is ventless gas logs. Vent free gas logs do not have to be vented. When a client wants to design a custom outdoor fireplace but they do not want to build a chimney and cut through their patio roof, a vented gas log kit is the perfect solution because no ventilation is necessary.
This said however, in any wood burning fireplace it is vital to use the right kind of wood that is cut to a convenient size. Hardwoods such as oak or fruitwood are the best option as they give off the most heat. Softwoods such as birch give off a good heat but tend to be consumed pretty quickly, while pine contains a lot of spark forming resin that can spit all over your floor or rug. Ideally, logs should measure between 9 and 14 inches long although it doesn’t hurt to use a couple of larger logs on your fire to give it a bit of character. Only ever use seasoned wood in your fireplace. If you try to burn green wood the heat produced by combustion must dry the wood before it will burn and you risk a buildup of creosote in your chimney which creates an imminent fire hazard. In addition by using well seasoned wood you will you get a much hotter fire; thus creating more heat for your home. It is worth bearing in mind that all wood for burning should be seasoned for a minimum of six months and stored under cover, so it is best to buy and stack firewood well in advance of the coldest months.
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