27 Replies Latest reply: Dec 14, 2019 9:22 AM by ncmountaintime RSS

    Gas logs or wood burning fireplace

    ncmountaintime Contributor

      We are in need of a replacement gas log set (propane) for the fireplace. However, the fireplace itself is capable of being converted to a real wood burning fireplace. As a rental property, we are trying to determine whether or not we should change over to a wood burning fireplace or stay with a gas log setup. In our remote area it would be a better idea to supply the firewood for renters rather than struggling to help them figure out how to obtain good quality wood. Propane cost around $1 per hour to burn. A cord of wood is over $100. Being hours away from our rental property, a propane log set is certain an easier management solution than dealing with the whole firewood thing. Plus you have to make sure there’s plenty of firewood when guests arrive or they’ll likely be calling for a solution. So still trying to figure out whether or not to switch to a wood burning fireplace or not. Asking for advice & suggestions. Thanks.

        • Re: Gas logs or wood burning fireplace
          wildiris Senior Contributor

          I would never trust renters with a wood-burning fireplace.  I would not be confident that they would watch the fire and be alert to sparks coming out into the room (or even a burning log rolling out).  I would also be concerned about a child being burned.  Are your gas logs in an open fire box or do you have a sealed glass panel on the fireplace?

          • Re: Gas logs or wood burning fireplace
            bonesxxx Active Contributor

            I don't often, if ever, disagree with wildiris but I do here.


            As both an owner and traveller, I prefer a wood-burning fireplace.


            As an owner, I would be more afraid of a gas line leak (inside or out) than the renters having a mishap with real fire. I think people exercise care with fire in general.  And gas logs can be finicky having owned them before... the igniter is a weak spot.  And the 'childproof' gas knobs always confounded even me. Keeping logs around is never a problem.  At $100/cord, that's cheap! Just have your 'wood guy' drop of another cord whenever it gets low.


            As a traveller, I am much more drawn to the romance of a real fireplace than a set of gas logs.. My guess is it will increase your rentals.


            3 things to note if you make the switch.  #1 is to make sure to disclose it to your insurance provider (they will look far any excuse to NOT honor a claim).  And #2, make sure to get the chimney swept annually or at least semi annually depending on the amount of wood burned.  Lastly, #3 invest in a good (large) fireproof hearth pad to protect your floors if you have room for it.


            EDITED to add: Update your rental agreement if you have one.  For example, mine says the fireplace (wood stove) is not to be used May-Sept.  And it also states that the guest is not to start a fire and leave it unattended.  I also stipulate that my provided split hardwood for the wood stove is not to be used in the fire pit (if you have one).  That's what will drive your costs up.  A guest might burn 6 logs/stay in the wood stove... but they can burn a 1/2 cord in the fire pit over a weekend.  I make them bring or gather their own wood for the fire pit.

            • Re: Gas logs or wood burning fireplace
              bobbie32 Premier Contributor

              We have had wood burning fireplaces for a very long time.  We can not use wood fast enough and probably have 5 to 6 cords of wood that just sit.  Yes, your guests might go thru a lot of wood so if you have to buy it or the guest has to buy it, wood-burning might become a hassle.  That said…the single biggest issue with wood burning fireplaces is the cleanup.  We NEVER let a guest remove ashes because if they are hot ashes - well, you can imagine the fire danger.  An ash bucket is extremely important.  But more important is where someone puts the bucket with hot ashes.  We have wood decks surrounding the guesthouse.  We provide patio tiles and place the ash bucket on those.  Yet many years ago before we owned the place, someone put a bucket of hot ashes on the wood deck and you could see the burn marks. They got lucky that it did not burn the house down. 


              That said…we tell our guests that we will clean the fireplace and the charcoal BBQ as well.  We don’t want a guest dealing with the ashes or coals.  We are in an extreme wildfire area and many homeowners are losing their insurance.  Luckily, we have not lost ours yet.  If you are an absent owner, I would use gas.  If you are close by and can do the clean-up, then I might choose wood-burning.  But make sure you have rules about never leaving a fire unattended, closing the screen when in use, seasonal use only, etc., etc.,etc.



              • Re: Gas logs or wood burning fireplace
                green_mango Active Contributor

                At our VR we have a propane fireplace - it has been great.  I think it's really nice to keep everything as simple as possible - nothing gets more simple than flipping a switch.  At our beach cottage that we rarely rent we have a wood burning fireplace - great for the ambience, but the wood pile makes a mess, the fireplace needs to be cleaned, and guests always leave the flue open.  Always. 

                  • Re: Gas logs or wood burning fireplace
                    bonesxxx Active Contributor

                    Wait, flues can be closed!?!?!?!

                    • Re: Gas logs or wood burning fireplace
                      twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                      I Have had a gas/propane fireplace in my VR for almost 10 years now and can’t imagine having a wood burning.


                      We have one at home here and whether we like it or not it is messy. Bringing in the wood then putting pieces in the fireplace almost always leaves remnants of sawdust or bark on the carpet no matter how much we think we have brushed it off outside, then there’s the build up of ash and debris in the fireplace that has to be cleaned out periodically....is your cleaning person going to do that.


                      What if the first isn’t completely out when guests leave, just leave it burning or do they try and put it out (another quandary)


                      I used to have a briquette BBQ and believe it or not people used to throw the old briquettes in the lawn, I couldn’t tell you if they were hot or not, but what a mess. I know have a propane BBQ for the same reason I would never have a wood fireplace in a rental.


                      P.S. I love my wood stove at home and wouldn’t want gas, but I clean it, vacuum and make sure that everything is neat and tidy.....not so much with a guest.

                    • Re: Gas logs or wood burning fireplace
                      koko Active Contributor

                      As someone who lives with a fireplace for 30+ years and did not put one in the rental I am suggesting you go the gas route just for ease of maintenance and security.

                      Having said that, send some firewood my way, the cords run from $375 to $450 here and that is not the best oak you could find.

                      Here are the pros:

                      Romantic, authentic, cozy, attractive, heartwarming and something lots of people do not have at home.

                      Here are the cons:

                      Dirty, dangerous, could invalidate insurance, increased cleaning costs, retrofitting some areas including the hearth, wood storage place, regulations about chimney cleaning (6mos, yearly etc).


                      $1  per hour for the propane

                      1/16 of cord of wood per hour equals with your prices $6.00 plus increased cleaning plus chimney sweep fees proportional

                      New gas logs are rather safe and can look very realistic and some have even sounds like the crackling wood.

                      As bonesxxx said though, if you think it would increase your bookings and this is what you need (you might be booked through the roof already) THEN consider it if you feel is would be safe in your place.

                      • Re: Gas logs or wood burning fireplace
                        samincal Contributor

                        We have a wood burning fireplace and are taking it out of commission, no longer advertising as a feature.  We wish we had a gas fireplace.  The reason we will no longer offer the wood burning fireplace is because the last renter to use it consumed a week's work of wood in one day then knocked over a backup pile to get the logs he liked on the bottom.  This same renter did not open the flue and smoked out the house within 30 minutes of arrival, despite a reminder note by the fireplace.  Same renter downgraded our review because have too many 'signs' around the house!  We have learned that we can not control renters' behavior nor make them read guidelines/ instructions (we just assume now they don't), but we can minimize the complexity of our rental.  We have plenty of firewood, so that was never an issue.  A bonus is that we are doing something net positive for the environment.

                        • Re: Gas logs or wood burning fireplace
                          u0999 Premier Contributor

                          If it is primarily for you - wood burning. For renters - gas log wit timer switch. Most are too dense to know to open the flue etc. I have 3 cabins, and I would have dearly loved to have a wood burning, However renters being as dense as they are they will either set it on fire or suffocate themselves by not opening the flue or blame you constantly for "not enough firewood".

                          • Re: Gas logs or wood burning fireplace
                            calicalling Active Contributor

                            Hi. In my VR town, all fireplaces are required by code to be converted to safe-burning, environmentally- conscious propane. This is the way legislation is going, so propane is a little more forward thinking. (Regardless of what anyone may think of this code requirement, it is what it is)


                            The only issue we have had is high propane bills. As an experiment to combat  this we put a timer on the switch on 2 of my properties as a test. The bill decreased by 1/3, without any complaints from guests about the change, as compared to the nearly identical homes with no timers. So consider that as an option if you convert.

                            • Re: Gas logs or wood burning fireplace
                              keepsmilin New Member

                              All else being equal - which cabin would you rent:

                              1 - Gas logs with the standard fake, glued-on, stone hearth.

                              2- Fireplace, or wood-stove with glass front; preferably with a hearth constructed of native stone harvested from the property - along with a starter supply of seasoned hardwood.


                              My input - Nothing warms the soul like the sight, sound, smell, and feel of a wood fire.

                              • Re: Gas logs or wood burning fireplace
                                ambidextrous Active Contributor

                                I think you need to gauge how safe a real fire is in your home. We have a real fireplace, and when I have been in the house, I've had an shoot eight feet into the living room. No, I did not have the screen in place, or glass doors closed. Yes, I was there and caught it, but it put a nasty little burn in a rug.


                                People will forget to open the flue (and in the winter, we cannot afford to leave the flue open between guests just so they will not have to remember what to do). For most guests, we have no issues. But for a few, we get a burn on the carpet, or someone telling us they tore down a smoke detector that would not stop going off after they filled the room with smoke.


                                If I were in your position with the option to chose, I would forego the worry, and the time spent acquiring firewood, kindling and chimney sweeps and fire up those gas logs. (But for me -- I love a wood fire and would never put a gas stove in my own home!)

                                • Re: Gas logs or wood burning fireplace
                                  patpat Contributor

                                  We have a log cabin at one of our properties, which is actually one of those bigger park model tiny homes. When we bought it, it only had an electric fireplace in the living room as the sole heat source for the whole cabin. We had a free standing gas fireplace installed to replace it and put the electric fireplace in the master bedroom and one in the loft. The gas fireplace has a quiet blower in it and is wired to a thermostat. The flames and embers look so real. We love it and our guests comment on the "coziness" of it all the time. We do not have to worry about: guests building "raging" fires, creosote, stray sparks jumping out onto the carpet, insects crawling out from wood stacked inside, extra dust, ashes to clean or "sensitive" guests getting headaches from the wood smell.  The newer gas fireplace models have wifi thermostats - would love that! Last year we had central hvac installed, which helped on our propane costs. We have signs stating absolutely no A/C use during use of fireplaces. And we leave a sign on the fireplace stating the fireplace is inoperable until the cooler fall season. If you are leaning toward gas...be very critical of the logs, log placement and embers you are buying. They make all the difference in how realistic the "fire" will look. My parents have a beautiful set. Okay, now I'm ready to convert our wood fireplace here at home!! Good luck with your decision!!

                                  • Re: Gas logs or wood burning fireplace
                                    scowol Active Contributor

                                    IMO, we all risk having at least one guest fall into the bottom rung.  So I would choose accordingly...


                                    IQ Range


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                                    90-110Normal or average intelligence
                                    70-80Borderline deficiency
                                    Below 70Definite feeble-mindedness

                                    Annotation 2019-09-03 114001.png

                                    • Re: Gas logs or wood burning fireplace
                                      hickmanhideaway Contributor

                                      We have two fireplaces in our VR. The one on the main floor is wood burning, but we ask them to use manufactured logs, and leave one for them. The VR was built a long time ago and it smokes too much. We put in an electric fireplace insert in the fireplace in the lower level. Closed off the chimney at the top of the opening and capped it on the roof. It is also a space heater. Keeps it looking nice and warm without a mess.

                                      • Re: Gas logs or wood burning fireplace
                                        ncmountaintime Contributor

                                        Thank you all for your suggestions!  Ultimately, we decided on gas logs with a timer switch on the wall.  This has been working well for us and we've had no complaints from guests!