Everything You Need to Know About Gas Fireplaces & More

Gas Fireplace Fuel Conversion Service in Woodbury MN

Everything You Need to Know About Gas Fireplaces & More

Twin City Fireplace & Stone is Minnesota’s premier fireplace and masonry chimney expert. As experts in sales and installations, we get plenty of questions regarding which type of fireplace is best. Many customers are curious about gas fireplaces, so let’s look at them in detail and how they compare to their wood-burning counterparts.

What is a Gas Fireplace & How Does it Work?

Fireplaces have been a staple in homes for as long as anyone can remember, but tra-ditionally, they’ve mostly burned wood as fuel. Many people are nostalgic for wood-burning fireplaces because of their ambiance, tradition, crackling sounds, and aromas that are unlike anything else. Despite that, however, gas fireplaces are growing in popularity.

As you can guess, these fireplaces burn natural gas or propane instead of wood and typically feature incombustible logs covering the gas vents.

Gas Fireplace Installations in Edina MN

These logs are more decorative than functional, and give homeowners the look and feel of a traditional fireplace without the drawbacks.

Reasons to Choose a Gas Fireplace

While there’s no concrete data, we’ve observed a considerable uptick in the number of people interested in and purchasing gas fireplaces, and there are many reasons for this.


One of the most common reasons people give when they express interest in a gas fireplace is how much more convenient they are to use than traditional wood-burning fireplaces. Gas provides instant heat with the touch of a button, and many models give you a remote control, so you can operate the system from the couch. When you install a gas fireplace, gone are the days of struggling to light the wood and keep it lit for an evening. You can simply flick on the fireplace and kick back and relax.

Another convenience of owning a gas fireplace is that you can adjust the heat output, something that’s difficult, if not impossible, to do accurately with wood. Gas fireplaces have a thermostat, so you can easily dial it up or down to control the warmth.
Finally, there’s no wood to gather, store, and carry into the house.

Cost Effectiveness

Gas fireplaces are also more cost-effective than wood-burning models because there’s no wood to buy and store, and gas is relatively inexpensive in most parts of the country. Moreover, wood-burning fireplaces produce significant amounts of smoke, leading to creosote buildup in your flue. Creosote is a primary cause of chimney fires and must be cleaned out regularly by a trained professional. Gas, however, burns much cleaner, and you won’t spend nearly as much on cleaning services as you do with wood.


Another reason people are turning to gas fireplaces is the safety factor. According to the EPA, The National Fire Protection Association estimates that in 2011, heating equipment was involved in an estimated 53,600 reported U.S. home structure fires, with associated losses of 400 civilian deaths, 1,520 civilian injuries, and $893 million in direct property damage. The leading factor contributing to home heat in fires was failure to clean, principally creosote from solid-ruled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.

As mentioned, gas burns cleaner than wood, with little to no creosote buildup in the chimney. Moreover, it’s not uncommon for wood fireplaces to spit out embers and sparks into the house, which can ignite furniture, carpet, or flammable objects nearby, something you don’t have to worry about with gas.

How Gas Fireplaces Compare to Wood for Heating Efficiency

In the battle between gas and wood fireplaces regarding heating efficiency, it’s no contest; gas wins every time. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, gas fire-places have an efficiency rating of 70-90%, while wood-burning fireplaces have a rat-ing of about 10%. That means that with a wood-burning fireplace, you lose up to 90% of the heat up the chimney. Moreover, we have gas fireplaces equipped with blowers, which allow them to distribute heat more evenly through the room.

Gas Fireplace Fuel Conversion Service in Woodbury MN

Can I Replace My Wood Fireplace With Gas?

Yes. Once people discover how much more convenient gas fireplaces are and how much cheaper they are, many want to convert their old wood-burning fireplaces. Typically, we can remove the wood-burning components, like the firebox, damper, and chimney liner, and install a gas insert into the existing fireplace.

Let Us Go To Work For You

If you’re interested in a gas fireplace, you’ve come to the right place. Twin City Fire-place & Stone Company is family-owned, and we’re committed to giving our customers an outstanding experience from start to finish. There’s never been a hearth or masonry project we couldn’t work with, and we’re confident we can help you.

We specialize in the sales, service, and installation of gas and wood fireplaces for indoor and outdoor living spaces and provide the highest quality brick and stone installation, construction, and design. We’re licensed general contractors, gas fitters, and skilled masons, so you can trust that our work will provide lasting value to your home for many years. Please don’t hesitate to visit us at either of our beautiful showrooms in Edina and Woodbury, or call us to book an appointment

In Edina, call 952-209-8518. In Woodbury, call 651-360-1237.

How to Choose Between a Fireplace, Stove, or Insert

Wood Burning Fireplace in Woodbury MN

How to Choose Between a Fireplace, Stove, or Insert

Even though spring is almost here, it’s the best time to plan for the most cost-effective and efficient way to heat your home when winter comes. Many homeowners are looking at either a fireplace, stove, or insert as an alternative to traditional heating methods. In this blog post, we look at the pros and cons of each system to help you make a more informed decision.


Fireplaces have been a popular home heating method for centuries. Today, many people enjoy their fireplaces, not only for the heat but for the atmosphere and aesthetics they bring to a room. So, how does a fireplace stack up?


One of the biggest pros fireplaces have for them is how they remind us of the past. The orange crackling flame stirs our emotions and gives us a sense of nostalgia; no other heating method can match its authenticity. Another reason people enjoy fireplaces is the beauty they bring to a home. 

Wood Burning Fireplace in Woodbury MN

Most fireplaces are the focal point of whatever room they’re in, and despite their shortcomings, many potential homebuyers will pay more for homes with a working fireplace. Depending on where you live, wood can be a cost-effective fuel source com-pared to natural gas or electricity. Notice that, speaking of the pros of owning a fireplace, we don’t mention the heat, and there’s a reason for that.


Fireplaces were installed in homes as heat sources; unfortunately, they don’t do a good job compared to other home heating methods like boilers, furnaces, or electric heaters. Fireplaces are so inefficient because most of the heat goes up the chimney instead of into the room where it’s intended. Some people estimate up to 85% of the heat put out by a fireplace is lost.

Another con of running a fireplace is maintenance. Burning firewood produces smoke, which causes creosote to build up in the flue. Creosote is highly flammable, and if you don’t keep up with regular cleaning, it puts you at risk of a chimney fire. Finally, many people are sensitive to smoke and the particulate that the fireplace produces, which can make them miserable with respiratory issues.




Because fireplaces are so inefficient and require constant maintenance, many homeowners have turned to stoves to heat their homes. Like the other heating methods, stoves have their advantages and disadvantages.


The most significant advantage a stove has over other heating methods is that it can generally accept a wide range of fuel sources, like wood pellets and coal; this makes them extremely versatile. Another advantage stoves have is that they can be more environmentally friendly than gas or electric, depending on the fuel source you choose.

Unlike fireplaces, stoves are highly efficient when it comes to heat output. The heating efficiency of a stove can surpass fireplaces and gas furnaces, with a rating of about 70-80%. Moreover, stoves provide direct heat, making them ideal for people who want to heat a specific area instead of the entire home.


On the downside, the fuel you need to power your stove can be expensive, depending on the market. Stoves also require regular maintenance and cleaning to keep them safe and efficient. Another downside of using a stove is that they consume fuel quickly, so you’ll need a good amount of whatever fuel source you use on hand to ensure you don’t run out when you need it most. Finally, depending on the model, a stove installation can be more costly than other heaters.




A fireplace insert is a self-contained heating appliance that fits into your existing fireplace. Inserts are typically made from metal or ceramic and contain the firebox, a blower (in some cases), and insulated walls. Depending on your preference, you can get an insert that burns wood, pellets, or gas.


Energy efficiency is the most significant advantage of converting your fireplace by installing an insert. As mentioned, a traditional fireplace can lose up to 85% of its heat energy up the chimney. However, a fireplace insert may only lose 10% of its heat, making them much better as a home heating source. Moreover, because many inserts contain a blower, they distribute heat evenly throughout the room, making everyone more comfortable. Inserts are also more environmentally friendly than other heaters, like gas or electric, and they produce less smoke, which means less chance of hazardous creosote buildup.


Like stoves, an insert can be expensive, with a high upfront cost, which includes installation. Most homeowners justify the expense, however, because of the money they save on fuel and energy. Additionally, while inserts are safer than a traditional fireplace, they still pose a fire risk if you’re not careful.



Choosing the Right System

While we’d love to tell you to buy system A or B, it’s not that simple. Many factors determine which is right for you, but here are a few things to consider.
First, look at the size of the area you want to heat. If you have a large space, like a living room or basement, a stove may be the better option because it outputs more heat than an insert.While we’d love to tell you to buy system A or B, it’s not that simple. Many factors determine which is right for you, but here are a few things to consider.

Gas Burning Fireplace Insert Installations in Edina MN

Next, consider the fuel source you’ll use and the system’s energy efficiency. Stoves and inserts are more energy efficient than fireplaces, but an insert can burn longer, stretching your fuel bill.

Finally, if you’re concerned about the environment, consider the emissions output of the system you’re looking at. The newest wood-burning appliances burn exceptionally cleanly, with many certified by the EPA.

Call the Experts at Twin City Fireplace, Masonry & Chimney

If you’re looking for a stove or insert, call the experts at Twin City Fireplace, Masonry, and Chimney. We’re a full-service, family-owned fireplace showroom with locations in Edina and Woodbury, MN. Our staff is highly experienced and knowledgeable and can direct you in choosing the perfect home heating system for your needs and budget.

We specialize in the sales, service, and installation of gas and wood-burning fire-places for indoor and outdoor spaces. We’re also licensed general contractors, gas fitters, and skilled masons to give you a seamless experience from the first call to the finished installation. Contact us today in Edina at 952-941-2685 or Woodbury at 651-204-0112.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at either of our locations.
In Edina, call 952-941-2685, and in Woodbury, call 651-204-0112.

How to Convert a Masonry Fireplace to Gas

Gas Fireplace Choices in Woodbury, MN

How to Convert a Masonry Fireplace to Gas

Wood-burning fireplaces are timeless and beautiful focal points for many homeowners. But, wood fireplaces are terribly inefficient and can be a pain to maintain. One way people solve these problems while maintaining the aesthetics of a wood-burning fireplace is to convert them to gas. In this post, we’ll look at how and why you might consider going down this road if you have a masonry fireplace.

Gas Insert versus Wood Fireplaces

As mentioned, many homeowners are turning to gas fireplaces as an alternative to traditional wood-burning fireplaces by retrofitting them with a gas insert. Gas offers several benefits over wood while maintaining the same warmth and atmosphere. Here are some facts if you’ve never considered upgrading to a gas insert.

Gas is More Efficient

Gas inserts are more energy efficient than traditional fireplaces. How much more? Well, a typical wood-burning fireplace loses up to 90% of the heat up the chimney in-stead of warming your home. That’s a lot of wasted energy and money. On the other hand, gas is up to 85% more efficient, allowing you to stay warmer without draining your wallet.

Gas Fireplace Installation in Edina MN

Gas Inserts are Easier to Use

If you own a wood-burning fireplace, you know how challenging it is to maintain. Wood-burning fireplaces require regular chimney sweeping to remove dangerous creosote buildup, and you must keep a steady supply of wood ready to use for fuel. Moreover, starting a fire in a wood-burning fireplace can sometimes be a chore.

Upgrading to a gas fireplace insert makes owning a fireplace a lot easier. Gas doesn’t produce creosote or ash like wood, so less chimney and fireplace cleaning is required. Also, most gas fireplaces start up with the push of a button or flip of a switch. Finally, as stated, gas fireplaces are more energy efficient, allowing you to control the amount of heat output when you want to save more energy.

How to Convert a Wood Fireplace to Gas

If you’re sold on the benefits of upgrading your wood fireplace to gas, here are the steps to get it done.

Consult a Pro

The first thing to do is hire a professional chimney and fireplace service for a full inspection of your chimney to clear away creosote and check for damage to the masonry or flue. Although gas doesn’t produce the amount of creosote as wood, you still need a clean flue and a healthy chimney.

Install or Upgrade Your Gas Line

If you don’t have a gas line, you’ll have to have one installed. If you do, you must ensure it’s the right size to allow the proper amount of gas flow to operate the fire-place efficiently and according to the manufacturer’s specifications. It’s recommend-ed you hire a professional gas fitter for this because of the risk involved in doing a shoddy DIY installation.

Choosing the Right Insert

Once you have the gas lines in place and your chimney is clean and safe, you’ll have to decide which type of insert you want. Regarding gas fireplace inserts, you have sever-al options; the most common is a direct vent.


A direct-vent gas fireplace insert draws air from and exhausts the combustion gas out-side; this is a viable option for people looking for energy efficiency.


Vent-free gas fireplaces provide heat without having to directly vent the gas out-side because they rely on unvented combustion technology. 

Gas Fireplace Choices in Woodbury, MN

Unvented combustion uses oxygen from inside the house and returns the combustion gas back inside. Vent-free fireplaces are easier to install because they don’t require a venting system (such as a chimney) to be installed. Because the gas isn’t venting outside, homeowners must use carbon monoxide detectors to monitor for toxic gas.

The bottom line is that if you don’t currently have a venting system and don’t want the additional expense, the vent-free option is the way to go. However, direct vent inserts are safer, even if you lose some heat energy through the flue. 

 Contact Twin City Fireplace

We’re a family-owned company that’s committed to providing outstanding customer service and top-rated chimney and fireplace services for residents throughout Minnesota. We specialize in the sales, service, and installation of gas and wood-burning fireplaces, and offer professional brick and stone installation, construction, and design.

You can trust our work because we employ licensed general contractors, gas fitters, and skilled masons and artisans for a seamless sale-to-installation process.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at either of our locations.
In Edina, call 952-941-2685, and in Woodbury, call 651-204-0112.

Twin City Fireplace Company History

twin city fire


“I want to personally thank all of our customers, past, present and future for the pleasure of getting the chance to work with you. Your business, friendship and the memories you help us create while working with you means everything to the members and families of Twin City Fireplace & Stone Company.”

Sincerely, Chris Becker – Owner


Twin City Fireplace & Stone Company was founded by Chris Becker.  The goal was to provide the highest quality products and most efficient installations in the Twin Cities market.  Chris has nearly two decades of experience in the fireplace and construction industry as an installer, mason and builder.  With a family lineage rooted in the building industry, Chris was always interested in building things; especially fireplaces.  

While in college at the University of Minnesota, that passion was further realized while working with his father’s fireplace company where he found more satisfaction in building and installing fireplaces and adding joy to people’s homes.  In order to diversify his knowledge and experience he then went on to work with the nation’s largest fireplace manufacturer and installing retailer.  This was an opportunity to see big business operations in an otherwise small business environment as well as travel to national locations and train new installers.  It provided an insightful experience that taught him the big business do’s and don’ts to what is a small industry that demands personalized attention & extensive skill sets.

After that he went to work in Seattle, Washington working for the Pacific Northwest’s premier installing distributor of fireplaces in the Seattle market.  While in Seattle, Chris and his wife had the joy of learning they were expecting their first of three children.  Being otherwise life-long Minnesotan’s they decided to move back to the Twin Cities and Twin City Fireplace Company was created.  Chris bought a used Ford Cube Van and some more tools and got started building, installing and selling fireplaces to home owners in the Twin Cities.  

About 18 months later, the great recession hit the national economy.  Chris remained focused on his goals at hand and continued working through the challenges and growing the business.  He decided that a showroom would be necessary to further the business and display the products and craftsmanship he had become known for.  While searching for the proper building the business began to grow nicely and a few employees were added to facilitate the demand for high quality, fair priced services and products.  On a shoestring budget, the Edina Showroom was leased and construction began.

The business continued to grow successfully throughout the next year and the company had the pleasure of seeing the fruits of their labor and modest showroom paying off.  

A few years later, with the addition of Mike, Chris’ father to the company, and slightly sooner than planned, the Woodbury showroom was leased.  Under Mike’s leadership and more than three decades of experience, Chris had the confidence that this was the right time to expand.  

In the years since, the company has more than tripled in size.  Much of that success has come at the blessing of having the area’s finest fireplace and masonry professionals joining the company.  It is the experience and passion within the team of exceptional employees that allows us to continue carrying out the goal to provide the highest quality products and services to Twin Cities consumers.

Today, Chris and his family reside in Inver Grove Heights, conveniently between both locations Twin City Fireplace & Stone Company currently has.  Chris continues to meet with potential customer’s day, night, evening & weekends.  Whenever he is not working, Chris enjoys being with his wife and 3 children, grilling & entertaining friends and family, playing golf as much as possible, mountain biking, playing hockey and snowboarding and on occasion the family loves to vacation in Northern Minnesota as well as spending time on his family’s sailboat on Lake Superior.  

Chris is dedicated to remaining a student of the trades, and learning from continuing education construction and code classes.  He is an active participant in code council discussions, educations sessions, government affairs and local building industry events.  He will never stop learning how to provide a higher quality, more complete solution to Twin City Fireplace & Stone Company customers.