When we moved to our house, 10 years ago, I was thrilled that we had a wood burning fireplace. I’ve always loved the crackling sound of a roaring fire and I know the trend is to rip those out and replace them with gas. I understand that gas is convenient and that it’s much easier to flip a switch for warmth than it is to play Boy Scout and build the perfect fire, but there’s just something about a real fire that I love.
Two years ago, when we were having our chimney cleaned, the chimney service let us know that there was some damage that needed to be fixed. We have a broken cap and some of the wood is rotting. At $1,500 for repairs, we didn’t jump on the idea of having those repairs done right away. This year, when we had our chimney cleaned (by a different company) they told us the same thing and the suggested fee for repair was about the same as well. That news got us thinking that maybe we should just look into swapping out for a gas insert. Then, the repairs at the top of the chimney wouldn’t matter because it would vent in a completely different way.
My friend, Diane, is in the middle of a big flooring, fireplace, and fireplace tile remodel so she asked if I wanted to go shopping with her over the weekend. We found some very pretty gas inserts, but with my particular situation, the glass (viewing area for the actual fire) would need to be pretty small. That was the first strike against this new plan. Then came the really bad news. We went to three different places and found that it would cost between $3,000 and $4,000. Sheesh! We don’t mind a DIY project now and then, but DIY of fire and gas lines does not sound like something we will be tackling any time soon, so there would be no chance of cutting the cost. That was the second strike. I had pretty much made up my mind that this would not be happening, so I tossed the brochures and built myself a cozy fire last night. Third strike, Friends. I just really, really, like a wood burning fireplace. I know, I know… a gas fireplace would increase the value of my home and it’s much more convenient but I also know that it’s 3 strikes and you’re out. The wood burning fireplace will be staying.