Or turn up the gas.
I'm ashamed to admit that we have owned this house more than 2 years and we'd never even bothered to see if the gas logs work.
A good friend of ours used to be a chimney sweep; while he was over for beers, he started geeking out over the fireplace-- we didn't force him to give us free advice/labor, I swear! He took a look through the flue, and even climbed up on the roof in the dark to check the state of the chimney. He burned some newspaper to see if it drew, and then took the logs apart to see if they worked.
Long and short is this: chimney is super clean, as in, it's possible it was never used for wood; if it was used for wood, the creosote has dissolved over the last 40+ years, as the logs are a 1968 model. The chimney draws really well, and the logs are indeed still hooked up to gas and light up like they're supposed to. However, the ceramic logs didn't get very hot (the cat jumped on them while lit, so...yeah.), but it was still neat to have a fire.
Now we have a decision to make. We can use these logs or get a new set of gas logs-- they aren't very expensive at all. We can take out the gas logs and burn wood, but we have to clean it extremely frequently. We can have the chimney relined, so we don't have to clean it so often. And I would assume that we could convert the gas line into a starter if we wanted to.
On the other hand, you sure as hell can't beat the smell of a real wood fireplace. And a gas starter would make me more inclined to use it; but if we're going to use it a lot, we should get it lined, I guess.
So many choices. Any thoughts?
Washing machine fail #3
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