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Author Topic: Convert Fireplace to Gas  (Read 836 times)

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Offline rsetzer99

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Convert Fireplace to Gas
« on: August 16, 2016, 05:20:12 PM »
The house we are buying in Casalanguida is in the village and has mains electric and gas. There traditional fireplace in the main living room. In the US, many people convert their traditional fireplaces to gas. Instant on, instant off and is a legitimate heating source.

Is this something that has caught on in Italy at all? In the US we paid about 5K, to convert, but about 2 of that was because we had a new stone facade put in around the fireplace. Currently the house has the wall mounted heating/cooling units, which I understand can be quite efficient. So I would have to consider if there were any cost benefits at all, or whether I would just be spending thousands of EU for ambiance.


Offline Shebar

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Re: Convert Fireplace to Gas
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2016, 06:12:35 PM »
I've never seen a gas fire in Italy. 

They use the mains gas for cooking and for heating water either to wash with, or to circulate through a central heating system.  The mains gas is methane, which is dangerous stuff, and there are lots of rules and regulations about how it must be managed.

The open fireplaces serve as bar-be-cues during the winter months.  There is no coal, so the open fires burn wood, and in most Italian households the meat secondo is cooked over the glowing charcoal.  Most of the meat is butchered in such a way as to facilitate this process.

If you really don't want to keep your open fire, then you could replace it with a wood-burner, or a pellet stove.  These options have been discussed at length here on the forum, so a quick search should reveal lots of advice.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2016, 06:20:23 PM by Shebar »

Offline Venatore

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Re: Convert Fireplace to Gas
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2016, 07:06:42 PM »
When we bought ours we went in search of a gas hob with a gas oven. Though gas jobs are common gas ovens appear to be extinct. We were even told by our agent he hadn't seen one for over 30 years. So it may be a similar demise with the gas fires if they ever existed at all.
V.

thediggers

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Re: Convert Fireplace to Gas
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2016, 09:47:33 PM »
Wait a little and see what it is like with what you have would be my advice...

Offline rsetzer99

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Re: Convert Fireplace to Gas
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2016, 09:59:49 PM »
It sounds like mostly an American thing. Suburban homes usually have a fireplace built in. Unlike Italy, they were never intended for anything other than ambiance. Usually they are so cheaply constructed that in the winter, cold air comes in the vents, and when they are used, they just suck heat out and up the chimney. They are a bit of a fire hazard as well. Our neighbor behind us had sparks from the fire leak out of the cheap firebox and light the wood behind. They, and we, converted to natural gas fireplaces after that.

The Casalanguida house has gas hob, so there is the possibility of running an extension off that line. After a quick Google, I see there are lots of fireplace people in Abruzzo. mcz.it has lots of options and their product is sold by many dealers. After looking it over, it seems clear to me that if we were to upgrade, we would probably want to go with one of the pellet fueled inserts as they claim to be much lower in cost to operate and are as easy to operate as a gas insert.

thediggers

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Re: Convert Fireplace to Gas
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2016, 12:03:07 AM »
I've never seen a gas fire in Italy. 

They use the mains gas for cooking and for heating water either to wash with, or to circulate through a central heating system.  The mains gas is methane, which is dangerous stuff, and there are lots of rules and regulations about how it must be managed.

The open fireplaces serve as bar-be-cues during the winter months.  There is no coal, so the open fires burn wood, and in most Italian households the meat secondo is cooked over the glowing charcoal.  Most of the meat is butchered in such a way as to facilitate this process.

If you really don't want to keep your open fire, then you could replace it with a wood-burner, or a pellet stove.  These options have been discussed at length here on the forum, so a quick search should reveal lots of advice.

I did mean to say I thought this was a great and fascinating response! Secondo cooked over the fire is totally new to me, as is the butcher bit. Did/do they really do such things... ? I know they did in the past live with the animals to keep warm and this conjures up an image of slicing off a bit of cow and putting it straight on the fire! Seriously Shebar is the Secondo bit true...?

Offline tobylap

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Re: Convert Fireplace to Gas
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2016, 07:07:04 AM »
My cousin still cooks that way.

Offline levissima

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Re: Convert Fireplace to Gas
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2016, 09:24:36 AM »
I have an open fire, I've never upgraded and I'm so glad I didn't.  If you get extreem weather in winter and lose electricity for any length of time you're stuffed with a stuffa!

Wood is relatively cheap and it's nice to cook on. I spent four days with no electric  but my fire supplied me with heat, a little light, hot water (big pan on a trivet) and the ability to cook. At night, when I went to bed I'd put a potato or a pot of porridge in the ashes and wake up to a hot breakfast.

And, yes Shebar is absolutely right. Coal never took over from wood so meat can still be cooked on the fire (when coal came in other countries, cooking methods had to change because stuff cooked directly on coal tastes foul! )

Fireplaces here are not flush with the floor so that you can sit on the hearth whilst cooking.

Best advice try it first before you decide whether you want to change it.