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Can You Convert a Wood or Gas Fireplace to Electric?

convert to an electric fireplaceAt first glance, it may seem strange to hear about someone wanting to convert their traditional fireplace that runs on either wood or gas into an electric fireplace.  But if you think about it, this conversion makes very good sense in certain instances.  Let’s look at a few of them and then talk about some tips for making this conversion.


Even with all the benefits homeowners get from their wood-burning or gas-fueled fireplaces, these types of appliances don’t take care of themselves.  A wood-burning fireplace requires not only the time spent acquiring the logs and loading and re-loading the firebox, they also need regular cleaning and inspections.  While gas fireplaces are simpler to operate, overall, they aren’t maintenance-free.

Operating an electric fireplace is about as difficult as operating an electric space heater.


Any time you create an open flame, there is the potential for danger.  Owners of traditional fireplaces know the safety measures they must take when running a gas or wood fire, and in most cases everything goes according to plan.  But a flame is a flame.  And a roaring wood log fire is a lot of flame.  Additionally, burning wood releases toxins that over time cling to the inside of the chimney and can ignite.

There is no flame in an electric fireplace, and the heat level is always under control.

Buying a new home

When you buy a home with a gas or wood fireplace, it’s impossible for you to know the condition of the system.  Much trouble has been caused when new owners start using a unit that has not had any kind of cleaning and maintenance for years.

Converting a fireplace of unknown condition to electric in many cases can be less expensive than hiring a professional chimney sweep and paying for whatever cleaning and repair work might be required on the existing appliance.

Electric fireplace conversion

Going with an electric fireplace insert is ultra-simple.  No gas lines have to be hooked up, no venting issues will need to be addressed and you won’t need any masonry work.  Electric log set inserts go right into the existing firebox and are easy to get up and running.

Electric log sets are also available in an LED version, which use less electricity and last longer than other log set styles.  Initial purchase price is usually higher, but it balances out with long life.  Regardless of your choice, you’ll get excellent zone heating with up to 5,000 BTUs per hour ushered into the room with a quiet fan.  Cost is approximately .08-.12 cents per hour.

modern electric fireplaceFinally, modern electric fireplaces incorporate amazingly realistic designs to mimic actual gas or wood log fires.  Many styles are available that will make a great match with the aesthetics of the room in which they’re placed.

The professionals at United Fireplace & Stove members stores can help you select the perfect electric fireplace unit to replace an existing gas or wood fireplace.  We can also help with installation to make sure everything looks great and works right.  Find a member store near you with our handy store locator.

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