I have a valve on the wall with a Hearthmaster key. In the fireplace is a long tube with slits cut every 5". Is this a gas fireplace or what?
From what you described, it sounds like a homemade gas log lighter for a masonry, wood burning fireplace. The Key in the wall is to turn the gas on and off. With that said, no it's not a gas fireplace per se. It's used to light firewood. However, if you don't want to burn wood (with all the fuss, muss & dust. You may be able to install a 99.9% efficient, Vent-free Gas Log Set, by using the existing gas line.
However, it's not a case of one size fits all. You will need to know the following concerning the interior of your firebox: Width, Height, Depth (from the center of the opening to the rear wall of the firebox, on the floor of the firebox) and the Width at the back. And the final dimension (if you have a wood mantle) The distance from the top of the opening of the firebox to the bottom of the mantle shelf. If it's less than 18", Code requires a heat deflector hood to be installed to the top of the opening of the firebox, to direct the heat down and away from the mantle.
Generally speaking, I do not recommend this as a DIY project, If you decide to pursue this, contact a professional in your area that sells and installs Vent-free Gas Log Sets. That way, you'll be able to determine which BTU Output is suitable for your application. They're usually in the Yellow Pages under Fireplaces.
Two pieces of advice:
1. When it comes to BTU Output more is not better. Gas is a warm moist heat, that you'll feel very quickly and it's very comfortable. You actually can do more with less.
2. Avoid Ceramic Fiber Logs. They are very fragile and do not hold heat and radiate it back into the room. Stick with Refractory Concrete Logs. They are heavy and very durable. They get hot hold heat and radiate back into to the room, even after the burner is turned off.
Everything I have told you is based on by 15 years in the hearth business.
Feb 02, 2011 |