How to Choose a Gas Fireplace for Your Home
Installing a gas fireplace costs about the same as a wood-burning hearth, but a fireplace that burns liquid propane or natural gas offers many benefits a wood-burning fireplace doesn’t. A gas hearth switches on immediately, lets you control the amount of heat produced with an adjustable thermostat and creates fewer environmentally harmful byproducts. A gas fireplace can also be used to help maintain an even temperature throughout your home that wood-burning fireplaces can’t.
Meet your heating needs
Before you have a gas fireplace installed in your home, educate yourself about your options. Most gas fireplaces produce between 12,000 BTU and 40,000 BTU, enough to warm an average-sized room. The size unit you choose depends on the size of the space you want it installed. Regardless of size, high-efficiency systems often need to run at just half capacity to maintain a comfortable room temperature, which can save you thousands in heating costs over the years.
All available gas fireplaces are reliable sources of heat, but you need to consider the aesthetics of how a particular system’s mantel can enhance the look and feel of the den, living room or bedroom you install it in.
Work with your home’s architecture
The last thing to consider when buying a gas fireplace is how the system handles exhaust. A natural vent, sometimes called a B-vent, directs exhaust up a chimney, while a direct vent sends exhaust through the roof or wall, like a clothes dryer. Gas fireplaces equipped with natural vents draw air from the room to feed the flames, while direct vent systems pull fresh air in from outside the house.
The most modern gas fireplaces have no vents. They’re equipped with filters that thoroughly clean the air as it leaves the combustion chamber. Since ventless systems don’t need to be built into a chimney or placed where they can exchange air from inside and outside the house, they’re the easiest gas fireplaces to install, and the most flexible when it comes to location.