Natural gas fireplace buying tips

Convenience is the big seller for natural gas: no ashes or wood to clean up, and you can light your fire with the flick of a switch. Gas models are also compact, requiring little space to install. And they can go virtually anywhere thanks to numerous venting options:

Direct vent: this type of natural gas fireplace is designed to vent directly out of the exterior house walls or through the roof, rather than a chimney. It has a sealed, double-pipe venting system which makes it an efficient heating appliance using the outside air. A direct vent fireplace is a good choice for homes without a chimney or that are well-insulated.

B vent (also know as natural draft): this is a more economical option than a direct vent. This system uses the room air for combustion, and is fairly easy to install. It’s a space saver too, but generally needs something to finish it off, such as a mantel.

Freestanding fireplaces are another option. These range from small hearth mounts that sit snugly in front of existing fireplaces to freestanding stoves. Again, venting comes into consideration because these fireplaces may be vented into chimneys, or through the roof with new venting, or out the wall in direct venting. Freestanding units are suitable for hard-to-heat locations such as the basement.

Inserts are something to consider if you have a traditional masonry fireplace and are looking for a more efficient heat source. Due to sizing, there may be a gap between the insert and the inside of a fireplace, but a faceplate can cover up the gap.

Energy-efficiency ratings: When shopping for a natural gas fireplace, the Office of Energy Efficiency (part of Natural Resources Canada) recommends that you ask for the CGA-P.4 Annual Fireplace Efficiency rating of the models you are interested in. This is the Canadian Gas Association standard for measuring fireplace energy efficiency. The most efficient units will operate in the 50% to 70% range. For more information »


One Response to “Natural gas fireplace buying tips”

  1. soapstone fireplaces on March 21st, 2009 8:54 pm

    great tips. I enjoyed reading this

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