How do you remove a gas fireplace surround?

Gas Fireplace Removing Methods: How To Remove A Gas Fireplace?

The first thing you need to know about removing a gas fireplace is that it requires special tools. You will require a torch or some other type of flame source to burn away the wood and metal. You may also need to use a hammer, chisel, drill bit, screwdriver or something else with which you can pry up the surrounding material.

If you are not familiar with using these types of tools, then you might want to consult someone before attempting this task.

You will also need to have access to a suitable area where you can safely work. For example, if your home does not have any basement or crawl space areas available, then it would be better if there is at least a wall around the area where you intend to begin working.

If you don’t mind having to go out into the open, then you could consider purchasing a portable gas grill. These are very popular nowadays and they come in various sizes and shapes. They are usually made from plastic but they can be made of steel or even aluminum if desired.

Some models come with a built-in propane tank so that you do not need to carry around extra fuel. Portable gas grills can cost anywhere between $50-$200 depending upon their size and features.

There are various methods that you can follow to remove a gas fireplace surround. Some of them involve cutting out the surrounding material with a knife, while others involve drilling holes through it. However, none of these methods are without risk.

Therefore, you must decide which method best suits your needs and desires.

With the exception of a floor or wall, any vertical surface can be used as the backdrop for your fireplace. This is great news if you are working on a limited budget since you do not need to do any “environmental remodeling”.

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For example, in one of my homes I had an unused fireplace surround (i.e. – the part with the pretty tiles, etc.) that I decided to mount on the outside wall of an existing shed.

Using A Saw

This method is not recommended for people who lack experience in using a saw or other power tools. A chainsaw would be best, but this may be too large and dangerous to work with in tight spaces. It is probably better to bring a small handsaw that you can control with your hands.

You will need protective equipment such as gloves and safety goggles. I then installed a propane tank, valve, and connection adjacent to the shed and ran a gas line up to the fireplace. I framed out an opening in the shed wall and mounted a sheet of tempered glass as an enclosure. Since this was more of a party shed (i.e. – place to host group meetings, camp outs, BBQs, etc.) I made sure to include power outlets inside it as well.

You can cut out a rectangular section of wallboard behind your fireplace. Then, you can fill the remaining gap with expanding foam to seal off any unwanted air leaks. I have also seen plastic gaskets used for this purpose.

These are usually one-time use items that must be cut to size and then inserted into the gap.

After everything is said and done you should have something that resembles a “frameless” gas fireplace.

If you have a miter saw, then you can very easily make the cuts needed for an existing wall. Be sure to measure twice and cut once! If you don’t have a saw, then you can take the item(s) to a local glass company or hardware store and have them cut it for you.

One thing to consider when choosing a backdrop is that it may not be something that can easily be framed in. You should first test it with a match before you hook up your glass enclosure!

Now you can spread out some sand (or similar material) on the floor, place your new gas fireplace in the desired location, and begin mounting your new enclosure. Most people choose to use tempered glass for this part. It is very strong and provides safety from any potential accidents.

While this can be an issue, it also allows you to sort of “play” with the design.

For example, my friend had a large stone fireplace surround in her basement that we used as a backdrop. We originally planned on framing it in with fire resistant drywall but then decided that it looked better without any sort of enclosure.

Another common way that people create a gas fireplace is to use a prefabricated metal or fiberglass fireplace shell.

If the item you selected is large enough to protrude out from the wall you may want to place a few wooden blocks (or similar materials) behind it in order to provide extra strength for the structure. For example, if you have a section of wall that is 12″ wide, but your item sticks out 4″ on each side then you would want to place some 2x4s behind it to even out the load. Companies like Franklin, Dimplex®, Southern Imperial®, and Antique Heating Company® all make excellent products.

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Some of these are “vent-free” which means that you only need to run a gas line to it rather than worrying about venting it to the outside.

These items are usually quite large and heavy so you’ll need help getting them into place. They usually have “ablution blocks”

Now that the glass is mounted, you can begin the fun part. Either use gas line tubing and a couple of fittings to make the connection or solder/weld a metal fitting onto your new tank. Various sizes of tanks are available for different BTUs (amount of heat).

You should be able to get by with a 20lb size tank for an average size room.

You also want to make sure you are always using the proper amount of propane. or similar structures built into them so that they can be filled with water to help prevent the metal from rusting. Be sure to drain and thoroughly dry out the unit before using it.

You may want to paint the metal surface a color to help it blend in with your wall. If you do this then you’ll need to apply several coats or the metal will still be visible and you’ll defeat the whole purpose of the camouflage. Most tanks nowadays are stainless steel and very easy to measure the amount of fuel left in the tank.

Most also have a hose with a little plastic end that you can place your thumb over to stop the flow if needed.

Before you turn everything on, I would check with your local gas supplier to be sure that they can provide you with the proper amount of fuel.

Back to your project. Once you have the tank and everything secured in place, you can begin assembling the burner unit. This is usually one or more metal tubes that extend up through the unit and protrude out the top.

A dome cover is usually attached to the top of this assembly to provide a nice finish and also prevent things from falling into the opening.

These burners use either natural or butane gas and are very hot. You also want to make sure that you have a good way to ventilate the room. You don’t want to suddenly find yourself breathing in a bunch of gas.

With my own unit, I just went ahead and removed the small window that was there and installed an industrial strength exhaust fan over the new opening. You may also want to place a drop-light type of fixture in the room to provide extra illumination. They usually have a wind guard on the front to allow for better control of the flame and prevent anything from getting to close.

You’ll need to have a fairly clear area around the burner so that there is nothing for it to catch on fire. Check with your local building department about the required distance from any structures as well as any other stipulations they may have.

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Once it’s all together, you need to test it before installing the cover. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! You don’t want to discover a leak in the unit after it’s installed and have the room fill up with gas.

Once you’re confident that everything is working properly, you can go ahead and cover it up.

If you have a window already, then you can just frame it up with wood and dry wall.

Once you have everything assembled and in place, you can begin hooking up the gas line. This step requires a little care and finesse because a leak could be very dangerous. Follow all the instructions exactly as they are printed and be sure to tighten everything carefully.

Congratulations! You’ve just finished installing your new heating system. Now you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your newfound independence from those big, corporate oil companies.

If not, you’ll have to either frame a new opening or install it through an outside wall. If you choose the outside wall option, then you’ll need to make sure that there is nothing close by that could catch on fire.

I was lucky in this case because there was already a window in place and all I had to do was frame it up. I took the room adjacent to the garage for two reasons. 1) It’s the room that I use least and 2) The roof is already covered in a half-assed attempt at “shingling” so I didn’t have to worry about cutting a hole in it.

This is what my new window looks like from inside. One, I could isolate the noise of the burner from the house. Two, it was close to an exterior wall.

You should be aware that these units are not quiet. They make a constant humming noise and there is the occasional clank when the parts shift due to expansion from the heat. It can get quite loud when the burner kicks in but, fortunately, only lasts for a short time.

I designed everything so that everything would be totally self-contained. That way, there wouldn’t be a bunch of unnecessary tubing and equipment lying around and the potential for leaks would be greatly reduced.

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My gas line enters through the wall behind my desk. It comes in from the same source that fuels the generator so it’s always fully pressurized. I have shut-off valves on both sides so I can quickly turn everything off if I need to make repairs or move it someplace else.

I mounted the burner on the wall opposite the gas line and at a comfortable height for operating it. I didn’t want to have to bend over or crouch down every time I needed to make adjustments.

The window itself is pretty typical. It’s specifically designed to be easily installed in an existing opening so that it sits flush against the frame. I had to do some minor drywall repair but nothing serious.

Here’s another shot of it from a different angle.

There is one slight hiccup to installing a system like this. The diameter of the line is exactly the same size as that of a typical natural gas line in an ordinary house. This means that you have to have a fairly large hole in the side of your house to run it through.

You can’t just run a pipe through a few studs and seal up the seams like you would with wires because if there is a leak, the entire house could go up in flames. I used the original window frame as a template and had to make only minor adjustments to the replacement frame before it would fit in the opening.

The new opening doesn’t look out on anything special, just some old trees and a fence that separates my property from my neighbor’s, but I don’t feel as closed in anymore. You would need at least a foot of clearance on each side and this would result in huge gaps that would have to be framed and then sealed from the elements.

When I was researching this option, I contacted a local plumber who is also a good friend of mine. I told him exactly what I wanted to do and asked him if it would be safe.

The most important thing was to keep everything safe and sound, just in case my experiments failed. I could have easily blown myself up or set the entire house on fire if I had tried to tap into the natural gas main in the street.

I still have a few more things to do before my ambitious plans are realized. For one, I need to order some kind of lifting device so that I can get the batteries in and out without hernia being a occupational hazard. He told me that he couldn’t give me a definite answer without tearing the entire system apart and doing a complete diagnostic on every aspect of it but, as far as his limited knowledge went, he didn’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be okay.

Just to be on the safe side, however, he rigged up a detection device on the exit line before he sealed up the opening. I’m thinking some kind of electric screwdriver might work but I’d have to order the heavy duty one since the medium one just wouldn’t be strong enough.

Also, hidden behind that panel on the bottom right is a small safe where I keep all my most prized possessions. It’s pretty cramped in there so I’ll probably have to remove some of the things inside in order to make room for the bottles. If there is ever a leak, it will trigger an alarm in my basement and I can shut everything down before anything gets out of hand.

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The thought of being able to do this every day, making the necessary adjustments and watching it run, is almost too much for me to handle. I can’t wait for it to be finished so I can start up again.

The good news is I’ve got two brand new shiny five-gallon gas cans sitting right next to it. Even with the reduction in volume when the gas is absorbed into the bottles, there should still be more than enough to see me through the conversion process. It’s funny; even though I knew that we had these sitting in the garage, it never really occurred to me that he wouldn’t be around to use them.

I think I’ll test it out tonight just to make sure everything is in working order.

As I am thinking about these things, a car pulls into the driveway. It’s so rare for anyone to come here that it catches me off guard. I look out the window and see a sheriff’s car.

This can’t be good.

I open the door before they have a chance to knock and see a man and a woman. The man is about my age and the woman seems like she’s probably younger than my sister.

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