What You Need to Know if You’ve Never Owned a Gas Fireplace
People buy gas fireplaces for several reasons, but the most popular reason is the efficient heat these units bring to a home. If you’re thinking of purchasing a new gas fireplace – or converting your wood-burning fireplace to gas – here are some things you should know about these great heating appliances.
Say goodbye to hassle
Unlike their wood-burning counterparts, gas fireplaces are easy to operate with a switch or remote. Fire comes in an instant, and with it, heat. There’s no wood to buy, haul or store, and there are no embers and wood chips to clean up. And best of all, there will be no dangerous creosote deposits that could catch fire.
Inserts and built-ins for heat
Models that are built in to a wall as well as gas fireplace inserts are excellent heat producers. An insert is a pre-made enclosed fireplace unit that fits into an existing open burning fireplace box. Simple gas log sets also can go in an existing fireplace but are generally used more to create an ambiance instead of produce efficient heat.
Natural gas vs. propane
Both fuel sources produce good heat, with natural gas being a little less expensive and delivering a little more heat. If natural gas isn’t available where you live, propane is a fine choice.
Can I do the installation?
You might be able to install your new gas fireplace, but it’s not a simple job to do it correctly and safely. It’s best to let a certified professional perform installation to ensure that your new gas fireplace is not a safety hazard and that you get the most heat when you need it most.
Gas fireplaces do require a little maintenance and cleaning. An annual visit by a professional service technician is usually all that’s required.
How powerful should the fireplace be?
Heat levels are measured in BTUs. Gas fireplaces come in a wide range of models with different BTU levels. Ask your hearth store about the models that would be best for the square footage you want to heat.
As noted earlier, creosote produced by wood-burning smoke is flammable and potentially dangerous. There’s no creosote with gas, plus there are no embers and sparks popping out of the firebox. When it’s time to extinguish the fire, you won’t be waiting around and watching for it to finally go out. You flip a switch, and the fire is gone.
Gas fireplaces come in vented and vent-free models. Vented styles provide between 50 and 85 percent heat efficiency, depending on the style you choose. They effectively remove exhaust and pollutants from the home. Because of the vent system, they’re not as easy to install anywhere in the house as vent-free systems are.
Vent-free gas fireplaces are as high as 99 percent efficient, because all the heat stays in the house. While they’re designed to burn very cleanly, some toxins can end up in the room, making them not the best choices for small children and individuals with lung or breathing disorders. Vent-free models can be installed anywhere in the home where you have space.
There’s a lot more to know about today’s amazing gas fireplaces and inserts. Burlington Fireplace & Solar of Burlington, Wis., will be happy to show you the latest models and discuss your specific needs to help you select a unit that will bring you years of enjoyment. You can see our full selection at 857 Milwaukee Ave., or call us with questions at (262) 763-3522.