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What Should I Consider When Buying a Gas Fireplace?

If a traditional fireplace is already located in your house, purchasing a gas insert may be a viable option.
One issue to consider when selecting a gas fireplace is the amount of heat it needs to produce.
A direct-vent fireplace does not have any openings to the room that it heats.
Some gas fireplaces run on propane.
Prefab fireplaces use gas burning logs instead of wooden logs.
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  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2014
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There are a number of things to consider when buying a gas fireplace that will make your investment worthwhile, both as a decorative centerpiece and as a heat source. After you decide the size and power of your fireplace, you'll want to choose what kind of venting system it uses, whether it runs off of propane or natural gas, and how it will look with your mantel and hearth. Many people choose a fireplace as a secondary heater, reliable even in power outages, or as a beautiful addition that brings romantic flames to a bedroom or living room.

The first important thing to consider is your source of energy. If your other appliances, like a stove or heater, run off the city's natural gas supply, this might be a good option. Propane gas burns with the same efficiency and ease, but you will need to install a propane tank somewhere on your property. Either of these varieties will come in the same range of heat outputs, represented in BTUs.

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Related to power are the heating demands of the selected room. Whether you showcase a large fireplace in a front room or sequester a small one in the master bathroom, you'll want to consider the amount of heat you'll require before buying a gas fireplace. This will depend on the volume of the room, how well it keeps warmth, and the other sources of heat with which it is equipped. Some people primarily enjoy watching the flickering flames, while others would like a dependable source of heat. You can also hook your fireplace to a thermostat to maintain your desired level of warmth, even during a blackout.

There are several different venting options to weigh when choosing a gas fireplace. The most common is direct venting, which means you only need a short flue to bring in fresh air from outside and return the spent air to the exterior. These are efficient and easy to install. Ventless fireplaces can be mounted on an interior wall and let it vent into the room. Old-fashioned "up-vent" fireplaces use entire chimneys as their flue.

You may already have an older wood-burning fireplace or stove in your home, so another option to consider when buying a gas fireplace is to merely purchase a gas insert. This will use the body and chimney of your existing fireplace, but add a glass front and all the necessary plumbing so that it runs off of gas. Freestanding stoves do not incorporate a flat-faced glass front like a built-in, but they can also be outfitted with gas. Whatever kind you select, make sure to test the height and look of the flames, as well as accessories like glowing coals or ceramic logs so you'll be satisfied with the impact.

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anon133941
Post 7

We have had a natural gas fireplace in our apartment for years, but we have never had it serviced. My question is how often we need to have it serviced and what kind services need to be done for our fireplace. Thanks. --Jamshid M.

anon126441
Post 6

I have a non vented fire place and would like to know what is the difference between it and my gas grill? I get a burned gas smell through certain parts of my house and think the people who approved these fire places without any kind of vent have got to be total idiots.

miked85284
Post 5

How many hours per gallon of propane would a gas fireplace use??????

anon18831
Post 4

I want to use my up-vent fireplace to heat the family room but it seems all the heat goes up the chimney. Is there a fan I can use to blow some of the air into the room?

anon5639
Post 3

What is the fastest way to start a propane gas non vented fireplace that has been off for over a year?

Thanks Justin D.

Dayton
Post 2

I'm not an expert, but it seems like the only good reason to leave the pilot light lit is if it's terribly difficult to re-light, once you want it working again. There's likely no harm in it, though.

Aggie68
Post 1

We have a propane fireplace in our living room.

I would like to know if I can turn off the pilot light for the summer. It does give off a lot of heat. Great in the winter but in the summer, we do not use the fireplace. The glass is very warm and only adds heat to warm house in the summer.

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