smart fire

I love fire. I hate to admit it, but I do. When Kevin and I were designing and building  our house, it was the one decision we really struggled with. While we knew that having a wood-burning fire place was not good for the environment by emitting ashes, soot and carbon toxins, we didn’t want to give up on being able to have the warmth and glow of an evening fire in the winter. So, we included a wood burning fireplace in our house. In the years since we have been living here, we have enjoyed it many times, however, always with guilt. So we have decided to switch to guilt-free fire. We moved to gas fire with a glass rock base.

I am amazed how easy it was. We (well, ok, to be honest “we” really means Kevin, which probably explains how “easy” it all was for me) went to the FireCrystals website and looked through all the different glass rock options. We decided upon the “Black Nugget” type.  We also ordered a few accessories including a U-burner and since we have propane gas, we also ordered a pan.


First Kevin cleaned out the firebox and  painted the backdrop of the fireplace to all be black to make the actual flames more dramatic, and have the box be visually less messy than the existing gray backdrop. He used high-temperature paint and we let it dry overnight (and also kept our windows open, because we were not able to find no-VOC high temperature paint, so there was off-gassing happening).


As soon as the materials arrived, “we” got to work. (I guess mainly it was Kevin and I stayed in “advisor” role in the background, providing “entertainment” and counseling).  Surprisingly not that many tools were needed. Just a pipe wrench, a crescent wrench, gas tape and a barbeque lighter.  The directions say to install a damper clamp (if you don’t already have one) to insure the minimum venting.


Kevin laid the FireCrystal pan in the bottom of our fireplace with the U-burner. He cleaned off the threads to the inlet pipe and applied gas tape to the threads in a clockwise rotation. He applied gas tape to the threads of the male end of the supplied elbow fitting, then screw elbow into the inlet pipe. He then took the supplied flex line and screwed it into the male end of the elbow and tightened.


He was then ready to connect to the burner. He placed the female end of the flex line fitting onto the front end of the U-burner pipe and applied gas tape and secured it tightly.  He positioned the pan and U-burner towards the front of our fireplace.

After testing to make sure it was working, we laid on the FireCrystals over the pan, U-burner and filled the bottom of our fireplace.


Since the type of FireCrystals we chose was more expensive than some, we actually ordered a less expensive type for the bottom layer, and then used the Black Nugget type crystals for the top layer.


After we filled the entire base with the crystals, we were ready for the fire. By simply turning on the gas, and using the lighter, we had instant glow, warmth and romantic ambience. All guilt-free.

So whether you are doing a new home, or just want to update your exising fireplace, this is easy to do (well, easy if you are or you have someone saavy like Kevin). It can be indoors or outdoors. Next up, a fire pit for outside….

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