Weird Fireplace Size and Poor Condition Chimney - What are my options?

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New Member
Nov 1, 2023
Cleveland, Oh
Hello All,

I recently moved into a home with an existing wood-burning fireplace. While having it cleaned, I was told it was in disrepair and that I shouldn't use it for fires until I get it repaired. The repair cost is $8,575. I haven't considered repairing it because I never wanted to use it as a wood-burning fireplace and am considering gas options. I'm in the middle of essential home improvements and don't have a $15K budget for this project.

The size of the fireplace is making it difficult to find a ventless insert. The opening is 44" wide and only 32" tall. I've been told that inserts that wide are typically much taller as well. So, I've been offered 34-36" options, which would result in 4-5" gaps on the sides. The fireplace itself is large, so having a smaller insert and black shrouds on the sides is not a solution that I want to pay thousands of dollars for.

I'm avoiding direct-vent options because of the high cost and likelihood that I will run into the same issue with having a much smaller box than the opening.

Another option that was mentioned was to use ventless gas logs in the fireplace and have the chimney sealed/blocked for safety reasons. This seems like the best to utilize the fireplace as it is. My two concerns are what needs to be done to close off/seal the chimney so I meet any code requirements, and how long I can run it per day. I work from home in this room and spend most of my day there. I will likely want to run it for more than 4-6 hours.

Am I missing an easy or obvious solution?
Are there any gas log systems that can run 8+ hours? I'm not concerned about moisture because of the size of the room and the high ceilings.

I appreciate any assistance!
Vent free units save you money in 2 ways. 1 is they are 100% efficient. 2 is you will not live as long, therefore saving heat.👎
Go with a fireplace insert, vented with 2 liners up the existing chimney.