Guide to Gas Fireplaces
An industry veteran explains how to get the right gas fireplace for your home.
Synopsis: Gas fireplaces are easily the best-selling of hearth appliances, outselling wood-burning models three to one. Industry veteran James Cleland explains how to choose a gas fireplace and identifies the most useful features and accessories. In addition, he gives information on sizing, accessories, and maintenance, and he provides tips for installing both atmospherically vented and direct-vent models.
Gas fireplaces and stoves are easily the most popular segment of the home-hearth industry, outselling wood-burning models nearly three to one. Convenience is the driving force behind the popularity of gas. There’s no cord-wood to haul, store, and stack. There’s no ash to clean up, and no smoke smell filling the house. Instead, there’s a steady supply of fuel piped directly to the unit. When you want a fire, you can have one up and running with the push of a button, often without getting up from your seat. When it’s time for bed, you can shut down the fire just as easily.
Although it’s simple to use a gas fireplace, it’s not so simple to install one. Further complicating matters, there are three basic types, and the design options are nearly limitless. To keep up with Houston’s booming housing market, the company I work for installs dozens of fireplaces every week.
Here, I share what I’ve learned about choosing among the three basic gas-fireplace types. I also explain what it takes to install and maintain a gas fireplace and identify the features and accessories you should consider when planning a purchase.
Although gas fireplaces are convenient, wood purists often counter that splitting and storing firewood is great exercise and that having a good supply of wood means a reliable source of heat in all conditions without the risk of a disrupted fuel supply. In…