There are few things in life that are as charming as sitting in front of a fireplace. The warmth and the glowing embers of a fireplace can surely lift up your spirits. Sip your favourite drink or pick up the latest bestseller and you’d enjoy them to the fullest sitting in front of a fireplace.
If you are planning to install a new fireplace at home or planning to replace your old wood burning pit you’d have surely heard about gas log fireplaces and can give it a serious thought. It has been one of the most covered topics in home improvement blogs and magazines in the last few years.
The big question is – should you install one at your home? We can stick our neck out and bet that by the end of this piece you’d have made up your mind to install one at your home. In fact the popularity of these fireplaces is touching new heights with every passing month.
A large section of homeowners are replacing their wood burning fireplaces with these modern ones and you may have already seen this in your community. It is natural for you to have few doubts and confusions in your mind regarding these fireplaces and their installation. In this write up we shall discuss all that you need to know about these fireplaces and how they’d improve your lifestyle and home décor.
Vented or Vent Free Fireplace?
One of the major decisions that you have to make regarding a gas log fireplace is to choose between vented and vent free fireplaces. Both have their pros and cons and you should choose one based on home décor goals, how you are going to use it and of courses the budget you have for them –
# Vented Fireplace
If you are replacing your existing fireplace this is the more likely option you’d choose. These fireplaces create a real wood like environment in your home. In these fireplaces, you have a metal duct that provides your fire with a fresh supply of oxygen from outside to keep the fuel burning while there is another vent to send the exhaust out. The front of your fireplace is sealing with glass and hence there are no harmful fumes being let into the room. The downside of this type of fireplace is lesser heat in comparison to vent free type since a lot of it is lost through the chimney. Also, you will have to regularly clean the soot compared to vent-free fireplaces.
# Vent-Free Fireplace
As the name suggests there are no vents in these fireplaces and hence you can have them anywhere in the room and you won’t have to look for a wall to install them Thus they offer you more creative options to play around with your decor. Both the air-intake is from your home and also the exhausts are let out into the room. From an energy consumption perspective, they are more energy efficient as none of the heat is lost through a chimney. One of the major downsides of these fireplaces is that the exhausts are let into the room and this might make you feel uncomfortable running these fireplaces for long. But in terms of installation costs these are much cheaper to install.
Types of Gas Log Fireplace
There are three basic types of gas log fireplaces that you will need to choose from. These are –
- Log Set –If you are looking for a cost-effective gas log fireplace you should have no doubts in your mind about choosing this one. Here there are few ceramic logs that come with a gas burner and can easily be inserted into your traditional fireplace. Installing this one is pretty simple and you can choose among a vented or vent-free option as both are available.
- Inserts –This one is similar to the log and burner set that we have just discussed with the only difference being that these are encaged inside a metal box. This can be installed in your existing fireplace. This type of fireplace is also available in both vented and vent-free options and you can choose one based on your tastes.
- Built-in – At first glimpse it would be difficult for you to distinguish between a built-in and insert. They also have a metal box construction but don’t need chimney or vent to be installed. They are the most versatile of all the three and you can install them anywhere and can have a fireplace heating two rooms by opting for the through the wall models.
Why Install Gas Log Fireplace?
Gas powered fireplaces have several advantages over your traditional fireplace. These advantages have been the driving force that has led more and more people to embrace them. Here are some of the advantages of gas log fireplaces that would convince you to install one –
Ease of Use –
You don’t need to bring in the logs and spend minutes of your precious time every day to fire one up. You can light up a gas powered fireplace with a remote or simple click of a switch. This allows just anybody at your home including children to operate these fireplaces.
No Expensive Wood –
If you have been buying wood you’d know that their prices keep on increasing. Add to it the fact that you need to store them free from water and moisture and have to bring them from the storage we are talking about an expensive and laborious task. By switching to a gas fireplace you can save in the long run.
They Are Safe –
You have heard and read countless stories of injuries and uncontrolled fires arising out of traditional fireplaces. There is a safety hazard that you need to deal with every daywithsparks and smoke all around. If you have pets or kids at home you will need to extra careful. Gas log fireplaces on the other hand are much safer to operate.
- Ease of Maintenance –
Anyone who has carried out cleaning of a traditional fireplace would know the task involved in this. When you switch to a gas type fireplace you’d have lesser worries in terms of maintenance.
Though vent-free fireplaces do produce smoke it is miniscule in comparison to traditional fireplaces. People with breathing problems in your home can now enjoy a fireplace as they don’t emit large amounts of smoke.
Uniform Heating –
Getting uniform heating in a traditional fireplace required lot of time and of course skills and we aren’t even talking about the efforts it took to maintain it. Gas based fireplaces on the other hand would offer you uniform heating right from the word go.
Things to Keep in Mind While Installing Gas Log Fireplaces
Given the different types of gas log fireplaces that are available in the market, it is quite possible for you to make the wrong choice and regret over your decision. Here are some of the things that you need to keep in mind while installing one –
You will be overwhelmed at the choice you have in terms of the brands that are available in the market. They are spreading across a wide price spectrum with some of them coming at throwaway prices. This is where you need to choose brands that have a proven track record. They should be accompanied by support and maintenance programs.
Size of the Fireplace –
Choose the wrong size and you would either be left with an underpowered fireplace for your room or an overpowered one that leads to fuel wastage. You can talk to an expert regarding the right size of the fireplace. You need to consider the size of the room where the fireplace would be installed along with your usage habits to choose the right size.
A fireplaces doesn’t just heat your room. It is also an important part of your room décor. When you are installing a fireplace you need to make sure it adds value to your overall aesthetic appeal of your room and not become an eyesore. From the type of surround to the placement of the fireplace in your home you need to focus on the aesthetic elements.
Energy Efficiency –
The cost of ownership is as important as the input cost that goes into the fireplace. Different types of fireplaces have different efficiency levels. The size of the fireplace and the type of fuel it burns would also decide upon your ownership costs. You can sit with an expert and choose fireplaces that are high on functionality, great in aesthetics at the same time don’t frighten you with the astronomical gas bills.
To conclude, as we had stated above you may have already made up your mind to install a gas log fireplace at your home. The next thing to do is hire a reputable company to carry out the installation. Here you mustn’t be swayed by those DIY videos that you come across about installation as this is a specialised task and requires considerable amount of expertise and experience.