I live in a 17th. century farmhouse. Two downstairs rooms each have their own fireplaces, the chimneys of which appear to join each other at a height of about 8 feet. (There is a single large square chimney on top of the house, with four pots emerging from it.)
One of the downstairs fireplaces has a freestanding gas stove set into the fireplace. The other room has a wood burning fireplace which is about 6 feet wide and 4 feet deep. It has a 3.5 foot wide wood burning grate sitting in it, and a bronze hood is attached to the rear of the firplace 2.5 feet above it. This hood has a circular exit hole for the smoke. A flue rises from this hole and up the chimney (which is about 2.5 feet square). Steel plates are set horizontally above this hood to ensure that rising air travels only up the flue, not around it.
I would like to install a gas fire in the wood-burning fireplace. Ideally, I would like the gas fire to be remote controlled - and I would also like to be able to burn wood (instead of gas) when I wished.
My questions are;
1/ Is there a stove available which can burn both gas and wood - perhaps converting to a wood burner simply by removing the gas burner?
2/ If a stove is not available, could I install a gas grate with gas logs, then remove the logs (and possibly the grate also) when I wanted to burn real wood?
3/ If such a grate exists, could it be installed without modifying the fireplace - or would the fireplace have to be changed to closely surround the grate?
4/ I have seen posts from people who have a gas burner installed at the base of their wood-burning fireplaces. This burner is specifically intended to start a wood fire, not to provide a gas fire. Apparently this is the standard design for fireplaces in some parts of the world. I have also seen one post where the user installed gas logs over this gas burner, instantly turning his wood-burning fireplace into a gas fireplace. The burner in question was described as being very simple - "basically a length of capped gas pipe with holes drilled into it". This setup would appear to meet my requirements (except that it wouldn't be remote controlled) as it would allow for the burning of wood simply by removing the gas logs. Is a gas burner available which would allow me to do this?
5/ I assume that a gas flue has to run all the way to the top of the chimney? So the existing flue in the wood-burning fireplace would need to be checked to ensure that it reaches all the way to the top of the chimney, and that it is gas-tight? Also, how could sufficient ventillation be provided for an open gas grate?
To put anyone's mind at rest who might be concerned, I would just say that this enquiry is only to explore what is possible. I am aware of some of the potential hazards involved (carbon monoxide, gas leaks, explosions etc.), and I am not about to trust to ignorance and start cutting and drilling gas pipe to create my own burner...
I would appreciate any advice for suitable solutions.