Can I replace my 'coal'gas fire with an open fire?

15 Jan 2013
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United Kingdom
A couple of years ago we tookout a hideous and useless gas fire and replaced it with a beautiful stone fire surround, hearth stones and a gas fire with 'individual' coals,. This looks lovely but chucks out very little heat. Would it be a simple matter to take this out, seal off the gas pipe and install a coal/wood grate? The chimney is a proper one (c1953) without any lining, and it draws well. There is an iron back plate at the back of the fire. Can anyone advise me?
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As someone old enough to remember huddling around a coal fire, knees burning and your back freezing from the enormous draughts that an open fire needs to pull well. I would advise against an open fire as anything other than a decorative feature.
Your old original gas fire would have been around 70-75% efficient an open coal fire is reckoned to be around 25%.

Open fires look lovely and make great toast and lovely baked potatoes in the grate but they just don't rate as a main heat source.

Best wishes,
Our old gas fire was absolutely useless useless, and very uneconomical as it had an ancient back-boiler for the heating with no themostat - so we had a good condernser boiler installed. We have central heating, too, so there is background heating in the room. I'd really like to know whether it's possible to relace the gas fire with an open fire without ripping the fireplace to bits.
Fair enough if you have adequate heating at least the draughts will be warm ones :D
I don't know much about installing solid fires, spent most of my time ripping them out to fit fires or back boiler units! I really just wanted to advise that open fires are a poor source of heating, bearing in mind you had found your decorative gas fire did not give out enough heat.

Trying one of the "fireplace shops" for an estimate and a bit of free advise is the way I would go.

Posting some photos might help you to get some relevant advice on here though.

All the best,
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A stove would be far more efficient; this will heat the room and you can fit a thermostatic valve to the raditor to save on heating - unless you're married to my wife who turns everything up full blast, that is.

Your best advisor is your local chimney specialist, used to be called a sweep but it seems they do far more than that nowadays.
Thank you, both. I shall ask a chimney specialist to have a look, I think.


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