ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Replace Your Propane Gas Log Fireplace with an Electric Fireplace Insert

Updated on March 15, 2018
John Dove profile image

John enjoys home improvement projects that improve the quality of home living.

electric fireplace | image credit: Wikipedia Commons
electric fireplace | image credit: Wikipedia Commons

Why Replace a Propane Gas Log Fireplace?

One of the pleasures of life is sitting in a favorite chair beside the fireplace on a cold night, feeling the warmth of a fire and watching the flames.

Propane gas log fireplace sets provide heat and the illusion of a wood-burning fire. They are convenient -- all you have to do is turn on the fire with an igniter or a remote control. No need to bring firewood into the house, no stacks of firewood to maintain. No ashes to clean up after fire dies down.

That is why I once had a propane gas log fireplace.

Vented Propane Gas Fireplaces Produce Good Heat, but a Lot Goes Up the Chimney

I had recurring maintenance problems with my gas logs which I discuss later in this Hub. So I did a little research and here's what I found:

A propane gas log set can produce a lot of heat -- around 24,000 BTUs per hour for a 24-inch vented fireplace set. Most vented gas log sets and fireplaces are in the 20,000 to 60,000 Btu/hour range. Smaller and larger sets are available that produce a wide range of BTUs. You can feel the heat radiating out into your room. But . . . a lot of heat is wasted up the chimney.

A vented gas log fireplace insert in a wood-burning fireplace is required to have adequate venting. This means that the flue damper must be open when the fire is on. If the damper is fully open -- like for a wood fire -- then the efficiency of the gas log set is not much different than a wood-burning fire. Heated air, pollutants, and gasses from the burning propane rise up the chimney. Air from the room, already heated, is lost up the chimney in the draft. If you forget to close the flue when you're not using the fireplace, the loss of heated air continues.

Building codes probably require that a damper must be clamped in a slightly open position to allow sufficient ventilation. A 2-foot damper clamped open by 1/2 inch leaves a 12-square inch vent opening for your valuable heated air to escape up the chimney even when your firelogs are turned off.

Cost to Operate a Propane Gas Log Fireplace

It probably costs more that you think to operate your propane gas log fireplace set.

  1. Cost for burn -- Let's assume you turn on your fire mainly for aesthetic purposes -- 30 times a winter season for 5 hours at a time -- that's 150 hours of operation. The energy contained in a gallon of propane is about 91,500 Btus. If your fireplace set burns at a rate of 24,000 Btus per hour, then you're burning 39.3 gallons a season. Propane can cost around $3.00 a gallon. Do the math -- it costs $118 a year.
  2. Cost for pilot light -- Many experts recommend leaving the pilot light on all year. Otherwise, dust, dirt or bugs may clog the pilot light oriface. Next season, when you attempt to turn on the fire, it doesn't work, requiring an expensive maintenance call. Pilot lights burn anywhere from 600 to over 1,000 Btus per hour. Let's assume you leave it on all year (9,125 hours) burning at 600 Btus per hour. Your cost to run your pilot light would be $180 a year.
  3. Cost for propane tank -- You either rent your propane tank from your supplier or you buy it. Let's assume you rent it for $75.00 per year.
  4. Cost for maintenance -- Unless you are handy, your fireplace set will require service by a technician. Some recommend an annual maintenance check. Chances are the thermocouple will need to be replaced every three years, and the igniter may need to be replaced after seven or ten years.
  5. Cost for heat that went up the chimney -- It your damper is clamped open, heat is being lost up the chimney all year.

So what is the total cost to burn your fireplace set? For propane burned, pilot light and tank rental the cost would be $372 a year, or about $2.50 per hour that you use the fire -- not counting maintenance and wasted heat!


Source

Features of the Dimplex DFI2310 Electric Fireplace Deluxe 23-Inch Insert

Once I decided to get rid of my gas logs, I bought and installed a Dimplex DFI2310 Electric Fireplace Deluxe 23-Inch Insert, available from Amazon.

It is an example of the realism and convenience of the excellent units now on the market.

I installed this exact model in a large stone fireplace in my family room. It wasn't difficult. Even when the rest of our house is a bit cool, this unit keeps our family room nice and warm, exactly what we like when we cuddle up to watch a good movie.

Here is how Dimplex describes this product: "With 1500 watts of heating power, this electric fireplace insert features patented flame technology for a realistic and beautiful flame effect. It comes in a black finish. The unit installs easily into an existing masonry or steel fireplace opening, and there's no venting, no gas hookup, or hassle to deal with. After installing, simply adjust the trim to fit, plug the unit into a standard household outlet, and enjoy the fire with these beautiful LED logs. Its built-in fan-forced heater distributes heat evenly and quietly up to 400 square-Feet, providing economical operation of less than about two cents per hour. Options include full heat, half heat, and flame only for four-season enjoyment. The remote control conveniently turns the unit "on" or "off" from anywhere in the room."

Replace Your Propane Gas Log Fireplace Set with an Electric Fireplace Insert

Electric fireplaces are now available featuring amazingly realistic-looking flames, glowing embers, and heat. That is the result of many years of user experience, product development, and improvement. Today's electric fireplaces are generally excellent products at affordable prices.

Chances are a relative or friend has an electric fireplace and is very satisfied.

Most electric fireplace inserts produce less than 5,000 BTUs per hour of heat -- far less than the propane fireplace set. So you will not feel as much radiant heat.

However, electric fireplace inserts require no pilot light and no propane storage tank; and no heat is wasted up the chimney if you close and seal up the damper.

There is little or no maintenance required for an electric fireplace set. The only cost is for the electricity you use.

I've used my Dimplex for some years now. I'm happy I made the switch from gas logs to an electric fireplace.

What is your experience with a propane gas log fireplace set?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • John Dove profile imageAUTHOR

      John Dove 

      6 years ago

      Hi Susie --

      That's exactly what I did with my propane fireplace -- replaced it with a Dimplex electric fireplace. It's very realistic looking and keeps our family room warm and comfy.

    • profile image

      Susie 

      7 years ago

      I have been very unsatisfied with the propane fireplace in our house. It is unreliable, drafty, costly to run, and requires an unsightly propane bottle and vent that obstruct part of the patio just outside. I would love to replace it with an electric insert.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)