The focus of my living room is an enormous fieldstone fireplace. It features a very large hardwood hearth and mantle, and is absolutely gorgeous. It’s also just about worthless. When we first purchased the home, my husband and I were extremely excited by the fireplace. We imagined how cozy it would feel in the living room with a fire burning. We expected to pay very little in heat bills, because we’d rely mainly on the fireplace. Since the property is surrounded by woods, we have a plentiful supply of wood. However, we had no idea how much work it is to chop and haul wood. It takes hours and is terribly exhausting. Plus, the wood is dirty and dragging it through the house creates a gigantic mess. Getting a fire started is rather difficult as well. Once the fire is burning, it creates smoke, fumes and ashes. If we sit right up near the fireplace, we’re far too hot. If we sit back from the fireplace, we’re freezing cold. There seems to be no happy medium. We’ve now owned the house for four years, and we’ve built exactly two fires. I’m now looking into converting the fireplace into a natural gas heater. We’d be able to retain the beauty of the fireplace and yet make it functional. From what I’ve learned, the conversion to a natural gas heater is not overly complex or expensive. We’d enjoy the convenience of a remote start. At the push of a button, we’d have instant flames that we could then adjust. Unlike an actual fire, the gas heater is linked to a thermostat and features a fan. The fan ensures that the heat is distributed evenly.