We have compiled a list of frequently asked gas fireplace questions to clear up some misunderstandings that surround this clean and efficient way of heating.
Does A Gas Fireplace Need A Chimney?
This question is asked quite often, a gas fireplace is one of the cleanest heat sources on the planet with almost no toxic byproducts. Whether you need some kind of venting more or less depends on the type of gas fireplace you’re opting for.
A vent free gas fireplace for instance doesn’t need a chimney or a vent as it burns totally clean, much like a gas cook-top. It does however need a source of oxygen for combustion. Think ventilation or an open window.
A direct vent gas fireplace needs some kind of vent, however this doesn’t have to be a chimney, any kind of vent will do. I’ve seen many vents that run through a side wall of the house, just like an exhaust dryer.
What Type Of Gas Does A Gas Fireplace Use?
Gas fireplaces are pretty versatile and most can use both natural and propane gas. When buying a gas fireplace from Wayfair you can select the fuel type (natural or propane gas) when you order it, that’s really convenient. If your home has a natural gas connection then all you have to do is hook it up. If you live somewhere without a natural gas connection, then you need a propane tank. Propane gas tanks come in all sorts and sizes and can be safely stored on your property. I personally am a big fan of propane gas as it’s cheap, clean and reliable. The best thing though is that it makes one self sufficient, see the propane tank as your own independent fuel source!
Vent Free Or Direct Vent: What’s The Difference?
The answer to that is really simple:
- Vent free gas fireplace: no vents needed, burns totally clean, 98% energy efficient, can be placed anywhere in the house. No need for holes in the walls or structural adjustments to the house.
- Direct Vent Gas Fireplace: Needs some kind of vent, (that doesn’t need to be a chimney, a vent running through the side of the home like a dryer exhaust will do nicely). Pulls oxygen from the outside for combustion, is ideal if you would like to convert an old wood fireplace to something more modern and efficient.
Where Can I Install A Gas Fireplace?
Here comes one of the major benefits of a gas fireplace: It’s total flexibility, you can put it anywhere you want! Isn’t that great? Especially a vent free gas fireplace is a joy to work with as no vent or chimney is required.
Wood burning fireplaces for instance come with all kinds of structural and architectural limitations.
A gas fireplace however doesn’t know any such limitations. You can place one along any wall, external, internal it doesn’t matter, you want to put one in the middle of the room, be my guest. The only requirement for a vent free fireplace is that the room has proper ventilation as all forms of combustion need oxygen.
Before installing a gas fireplace at a more unusual place I would check local building regulations first. For instance, sometimes it’s not allowed to place a gas fireplace in a bedroom.
Is A Gas Fireplace Safe?
This also is an often asked question: People worry about gas and toxic fumes being released into the house. Let me assure you that gas fireplaces are completely safe for your family.
First of all, they are the most energy efficient heaters known today, they are champion clean burners with no fumes, emissions or dust released into your home.
Gas, both natural and propane gas is one of the cleanest fuels available. Wood, oil and coal however are known to emit air pollutants like carbon, fine particulates and smoke.
If you need any proof, then check the soot that rapidly builds up in a wood fireplace’s chimney. A gas fireplace also is safely locked behind a glass door.
Almost every gas fireplace is equipped with a number of safety features. One of them is the Oxygen Depletion Sensor or ODS which automatically shuts off the fireplace if oxygen levels get to low.
Another safety feature is a sensor that shuts off the gas if it detects any gas leaking out of the fireplace. No gas will ever be released into the room.
A gas fireplace also burns 100 % of the gas it is fed, so no toxic byproducts remain.
To keep your gas fireplace safe and working flawlessly we recommend you have it checked annually by a certified technician. Please check our specialist plumbers directory to find one near you.