The Chimney Sweep Online Fireplace, Woodstove, Gas Stove and Barbecue Shop
Q: We'd like to convert our old airtight woodstove to gas. Is there a kit for this?
NONONO! Converting an airtight woodstove so it can burn gas would be an extremely dangerous undertaking. Wood stoves and gas stoves are very different beasties, with very different safety and operation considerations in their design and construction. Gas stoves have built-in safety features that would be extremely difficult to duplicate without totally reconstructing the airtight.
Even if you had the thermal design education and talents necessary to modify the airtight so it could safely burn gas without blowing up, the expense involved, plus the expense of the gas valve, burner, igniter, millivolt system, etc. would be prohibitive. And you'd end up with a relatively inefficient gas guzzler with no UL safety listing to validate your insurance in the event of an explosion or fire.
The bottom line: If you'd rather burn gas than wood, trade in your airtight on a UL listed gas stove.
Q: We've got a gas firestarter in our fireplace. If we install one of your wood fireplace inserts, can we still use the firestarter to start the fire in the insert?
No, for the same reasons outlined in the anwer above, that plan would be extremely dangerous. It would also void the warranty and UL listing on the insert, so you'd be all alone in the likely event that something goes wrong.
Q: I enjoy your website, and have found your information very helpful, but I feel your advice about converting a woodstove to gas (don't do it) might be a little misleading. I have a science background, and understand about why an airtight could turn into a bomb if gas were introduced, that's simple physics. I also have verified with my insurance agent that a UL listing is a must if you're going to put something like a stove or fireplace in your home. So far, your article is right on. But these facts don't apply in every situation.
Case in point: we have an antique woodstove that we'd like to convert to gas. Our old stove is far from airtight. In fact, on the few occasions when we've tried to have a wood fire, it has leaked smoke out of every seam! According to my research and observations, there is no chance this old potbelly could ever be sealed up tightly enough to create an explosive environment.
Point #2: I performed a search engine inquiry, and found a company on the web that will convert old stoves like ours to gas! And they guarantee all components used are UL listed! I wonder if you'd care to comment.
Go ahead and publish this letter on your website if you want, but don't include my E-mail address.