A popular option to save money and energy, converting your old masonry fireplace to a more efficient heating appliance is simple to do with a new gas fireplace insert. However, it is very important that you have this insert professionally installed to prevent potential problems. Aelite Chimney Specialties has years of experience in helping customers pick out the best fireplace insert for their homes and in installing these inserts so that they work safely and efficiently. We would like to tell you more information about the unintended consequences that may occur when you switch your fireplace from wood-burning to gas.
The main issue that occurs when converting an old wood-burning fireplace to gas is the flue will be too large. Old masonry chimneys are bigger than what an insert needs, and this size difference can cause problems. When you have your insert installed by a professional chimney technician from Aelite Chimney Specialties, we will also install a new flue constructed from a stainless steel chimney liner that has been made to use with gas fireplaces.
What are the problems that occur from an oversized flue?
According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), your new gas fireplace insert produces less heat into the chimney. Your chimney needs to be hot in order to complete the combustion process. When the chimney is not hot enough, water vapor that was produced during combustion remains inside the flue for longer than it should. This water contains corrosive acids that eat away at the bricks and mortar of your chimney as well as at chimney liners that are not made to handle gas fireplaces. Both the inside of your flue and the liner can deteriorate from this acidic corrosion and block the exit of your chimney. This could keep toxic gases like carbon monoxide from exiting and put you at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning.
Another problem that occurs from having an oversized flue has to do with the chimney draft. When your chimney has draft problems, the efficiency and safety of your fireplace insert is reduced. In order for the combustion process to be complete, your chimney needs oxygen. Adequate draft ensures plenty of oxygen is sucked into the chimney, but inadequate draft has problems bringing in enough oxygen. When combustion cannot be completed, carbon monoxide is produced. As the CSIA says, the less complete the combustion, the greater the amount of carbon monoxide produced and the less heat delivered to the house. Chimney draft problems can also worsen the condensation issue.
Converting your older masonry fireplace to a new gas fireplace insert is a great idea, but you should be sure to have your new insert installed by a chimney professional. Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties to learn more about how you can save money and energy with a gas fireplace insert.