You have several rental properties with wood burning fireplaces. You have some concerns though because of tenants having a live wood fire. The thought of an unattended fireplace and your apartment building going up in smoke worries you. Is there a better way?
You do always have the choice of just covering the fireplace over or blocking it. But it is a useful renting point when looking for new tenants. So, another option would be to have installed a gas fireplace insert. You would still have the appearance without the danger of someone accidentally burning down your building.
Also, there are other advantages to gas fireplaces. A fireplace which takes wood can take some work to get the fire going correctly which can be a danger with an unskilled tenant doing this. With a gas fireplace insert though, a flick of the switch and the fire is lit.
Also, with a wood burning fireplace, you have burned-out logs and ashes which need to be cleaned out; and if thrown away without being cooling, this is a fire danger. This wood burning creates soot which leaves creosote in the chimney too which needs to be removed by a chimney cleaner. If you don’t have it removed, it can cause a chimney fire. With a gas insert, there aren’t all of these problems. But it wouldn’t hurt to have a professional check it out once a year or so.
Cost of an insert
The cost of an insert cost about $3000 to $4000, depending on the size, which includes the installation of the insert and the liner for the chimney. It will heat an area of between 1,000 to 3,000 square feet which depends on the size of the insert. You will need to talk to a gas fireplace insert dealer to decide what size you need and the heating capacity of the insert you want for the apartment.
Wood burning fireplaces have the snap, crackle and pop of a fire. However, gas fireplace inserts are more convenient and safer.