Once upon a time, in the 1960’s and ’70’s, everyone dreamed of having a wood-burning fireplace in their home. Then, along came natural gas, and as it became more readily available, fireplace dreams changed to gas. Gas offered the beauty of a fireplace with the flick of a switch — no messy wood required. Now, we’re slowly seeing requests to convert a gas fireplace to electric.
Why get rid of a gas fireplace?
There are several reasons that we are hearing from clients, for getting rid of their gas fireplaces:
- Too much heat! Anyone who has a gas fireplace in their home can attest to the fact that when it’s on, it’s hot. Most homes are kept quite comfy with their high-efficiency furnaces, so there are very few rooms where the additional heat from a gas fireplace is needed or welcomed.
- Too hot to touch! Homeowners with children or grandchildren in the house are turning off their gas fireplaces when the little ones are around, to keep them from being burned on the fireplace glass.
- Too expensive to replace. When it comes time to update an older gas fireplace, homeowners are considering the reasons above, plus the cost of getting the latest linear designs in gas, and are exploring more cost-effective options.
Why convert a gas fireplace to electric?
Electric fireplaces address all of the concerns listed above:
- Heat — electric fireplaces may be operated with or without heat, for year-round comfort.
- Safety — even with the heaters turned on, the glass on electric fireplaces will never get hot to the touch.
- Cost — electric fireplaces cost far less than gas to purchase, install and operate — yes, even with rising electrical rates in some areas!
How to convert a gas fireplace to electric
There are 3 main steps to convert a gas fireplace to electric:
- Disconnect the gas line and safely cap it. This must be done by a qualified gas technician, and is not a do-it-yourself project.
- Run a dedicated electrical line to the site of the fireplace. The gas fireplace may have an electrical connection, but it is unlikely to be a dedicated line. A dedicated line runs directly to the electrical panel and is required in order to operate the heater on an electric fireplace at its maximum setting of 1500 watts.
- Design your dream fireplace and decide on size and shape! With electric fireplaces, there are few limitations on materials to use around the fireplace, because their is no residual heat when they are installed. And, TVs may be placed much lower above electric fireplaces than they can above gas units.
When you convert a gas fireplace to electric, it will open up a lot of design options. It will also make your fireplace usable year-round and less costly to operate.