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Real fireplaces or gas logs?

New host (first year). Searched for fireplaces and came up with zero. Which may provide my answer! We have a lovely fireplace but have listed it as “decorative” because the flue is wonky/really hard to open and close, and second, we really don’t want real fires in the fireplace. We have allowed guests to burn a DURAFLAME or similar log but also thought a gas fireplace insert might just be the best solution. Has anyone else navigated this situation (successfully or not?) What do guests prefer? Does it affect insurance?

Some people do have firepits. We do not offer either. We do not allow open flames of any kind. No smoking, no incense, no candles, etc.

Considering what Air is like, we would not want to risk an auto 50% refund by offering an amenity that could “fail to work” if the guest isn’t familiar with it.

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Yes, it could well do that. Read your short-term rental insurance policy from front to back to find out.

I wouldn’t allow guests to have any kind of fire (Duraflame or any other kind of wood). I might consider a remote-controlled set of gas logs, as long as operation is extremely easy. Might.

We don’t allow any kind of flame inside for operation by guests—no candles, for example.

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When I was looking for revenue property to rent out long term having a wood fireplace hugely affected the cost of insurance. I would imagine it would be the same for AirBnB. I have 2 gas fireplaces in my AirBnB home and LOVE wood fireplaces but would never have wood burning if I rented out in any way.

Back in my younger days I adventured into renting what in Alaska is known as a “dry cabin”, as in, no running water/outhouse out back. I spent 15 months with a wood stove as my only heat. I didn’t have the back problems then that I do now, so hauling firewood up a 200 meter long trail to the cabin and splitting it were good exercise.

I learned a lot about that wood stove that winter. How long it would take to warm up in the morning, how to have everything prepped to minimize out of bed time to start it, how often I would have to feed it, how to regulate the temperature, what to do when it glows dull red and it’s too hot even with air shut off…

And fireplaces are worse, because damper controls aren’t usually obvious and new users don’t realize there is one and it must be open. So, no, I wouldn’t allow a guest (or tenant, for a long term rental) to have access to anything with an open flame. I don’t allow candles or incense here, either.


In my experience in my own home and my listing, the insurance companies didn’t care about a gas fireplace, but they do care about wood-burning fireplace.

I have a log burner @

So do I but it’s rarely used as the room (guest dining room) gets too hot! It looks nice though, in an old inglenook.

To replace the open log burner that was there, we had to have the chimney flue specifically lined by the installer, plus we have to have a gadget that measures carbon monoxide levels.

I think gas fires are more efficient than they used to be. We had one in our old cottage that looked like a wood burner, but ran efficiently on gas.

Many years ago, I had an open, coal effect, gas fire. I had it taken out after watching the gas meter race while it was on.

Yes, there are even ventless gas fireplace inserts available (although I don’t think I’d be brave enough to have one).

I am with you - they look really nice but we would be concerned of CO poisoning. Or the inevitable time when it malfunctions or a guest simply can’t figure it out = 50% refund for listed amenity that is not available. No thank you.

If you choose to add gas logs, be sure to add a time to shut it off automatically. That’ll help keep costs down.

I’m closing on a lake home at the end of this week. It has two stone fireplaces (lower level and main level) that are currently wood-burning. I am having them converted to gas (gas insert). They’ll be much more efficient and easy to use, and much safer.

For many years of my life my home was heated with wood, so I know how messy wood heat can be, and I’m fully aware of the potential for disaster. I would never consider allowing guests to use the fireplaces if they remain wood burning.

The house is an a-frame with a 3rd story, so the chimney is very tall. As a result this is going to cost nearly double to convert.

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A tall chimney could be a disaster in the hands of someone who doesn’t understand that if stack temp isn’t high enough, the tars and soot deposited will eventually cause a stack fire.

I would not do open flame anything. Here is a good reason not to:

A working fireplace is almost certain to increase STR insurance and in some areas, they just aren’t allowed in STR accommodation. In some places, open fires are permitted in B & B type situations but only in public rooms (lounge, dining room etc.)

So the first thing to do would be to check with the insurance people and the local permitting authority. The insurance would probably be ridiculous and the authority might simply not allow it. Plus, I suspect that most people today would be completely useless at lighting and caring for a fire.

I’d just hate to have to clean up after them.

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We/ve had one cabin for 18 years and one for 13 both with wood burning fireplaces. It didn’t affect our insurance. No problems in all these years. As a guest, I don’t think I’d be satisfied burning just a Duraflame log. (We do leave them to help get a fire started).

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