Can I Burn Wood in My Gas Fireplace?

You may have heard from a friend or a relative that they used to throw a couple of wooden logs in their gas fireplace and burn them for some added effect. Or, maybe, you have several pieces of wood yourself and you don’t want them to go to waste. In such situations, it’s perfectly normal to wonder “Can I burn wood in my gas fireplace?” Unfortunately, the answer is a categorical “No!”

Well, at least most of the time. The slightly longer answer is that there are different types of gas fireplaces – some are designed to be gas-only while others do offer a bit more flexibility. However, even with them, adding wood to the fire is generally ill-advised as it’s an unnecessary complication to an already “fiery” situation.

Still, in the interest of completeness, let’s go over the main types of gas fireplaces one by one:

Can you burn wood in a gas fireplace that’s a built-in gas-only model?

Working on either natural gas or propane gas, built-in gas fireplaces are integrated into your home’s construction, get their gas from pipes within the home’s foundation, and work with electric ignition systems.

As their name suggests, these fireplaces are GAS-ONLY – you cannot and should not burn wood in them. The built-in ventilation systems of these gas fireplaces are not intended to deal with the smoke and vapors of wooden fire. Burning wood in such a fireplace is an enormous fire hazard.

Can you burn wood in a gas fireplace insert?

Such inserts are essentially metal housing components with a gas burner and a log set that are designed to transform previous wood-burning fireplaces into gas-only fireplaces. These inserts typically use the original chimney to vent the gas and are used for their energy-efficiency and cleanliness compared to the original wood-burning fireplace.

Burning wood in such a gas fireplace can sometimes be possible since the original ventilation (i.e. chimney) was meant for wooden fires anyway. However, it’s vital that you consult with a licensed HVAC professional first to judge the installation and make the necessary adjustments. Capping the gas line will be required, as well as regularly cleaning the flue (i.e. the duct of the chimney).

Still, we’d advise against burning wood in this situation as well simply because it’s an unnecessary risk.

How about burning wood when using a log set?

These devices are simple artificial log sets of heat-resistant ceramic or cement that are placed in standard wood-burning fireplaces and produce a gas-powered flame. Burning regular wood in such a fireplace will be relatively simple – just remove the artificial log set and place some wood in the fireplace. If the fireplace is properly functional and clean, things should be all right. Then again, this isn’t an actual “gas fireplace” – it’s a regular fireplace that’s used with a log set. Even in these situations, however, if it has been a while since you last used wood, it’s best to call a professional for a quick inspection first.

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