What to Look For When Buying a Gas Fireplace
If you’re looking to add extra warmth to a room without wasting energy heating the rest of the house, a gas fire offers the most cost effective way to do so. But with so many different options to choose from, it’s important to do your research before buying a gas fireplace so that you can get the greatest possible value (and warmth) for your money.
This article explores the available options and outlines the key features that you should consider before purchasing a gas fireplace.
What to look for in a gas fire
- The right output to heat the space. Many homeowners waste money and energy by choosing a fireplace with an unnecessarily high heat output, but most normal-sized living rooms only require 3 – 4kW to heat them up. Perform the following calculation to calculate the optimal heat output for your fireplace:
Length of room (m) x width of room (m) x height of room (m) x 0.07 = optimal heat output (kw)
- The right ventilation system. If your house has a chimney, a traditional gas fireplace insert is likely to be the cheapest and easiest type to install. If you don’t have a chimney and require less than 4kW of heat, a flueless gas fire with an air vent is the most cost effective option and can installed on any wall within a room. If you don’t have a chimney and require more than 4kW of heat, a balanced flue gas fire will be more suitable, although you will also need to have a balanced flue pipe system installed.
- Efficiency. This is a no-brainer, as the more efficient your fireplace is, the more bang you’ll get for your buck. The most efficient type of gas fire is flueless (100 percent) as the whole unit is self-contained. However, the natural convection system used in balanced flue fires also makes them highly efficient (up to 85 percent). If you’re choosing a traditional gas fire or insert, be sure to choose a high efficiency model to avoid losing too much heat through the chimney.
- Adjustability. The more adjustable your gas fire is, the easier it will be to get the heat output and the height of the flames just right, ensuring optimal comfort and efficiency. Some modern gas fires come with a wall-mounted or remote-operated thermostat, enabling you to set the desired temperature manually.
- The right look and feel. It’s important to take the style of your home – traditional or modern, rustic or urban, classic or contemporary – into account when choosing a gas fire. There are many different factors to consider so rather than trying to explain it all here, I encourage you to read Homebuilding & Renovating magazine’s detailed guide to fireplace aesthetics.
Now that you know what to look for when buying a gas fireplace, the only thing left to do is to find the right person or company to install it. To ensure a safe installation, it is vital that you make sure your engineer is on the Gas Safe register. If you are off-grid and use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), you should also check that they’re LPG qualified.
Buying a gas fireplace is complicated business so if you are still at all uncertain what you’re looking for, it may be worth paying your local supplier a visit to discuss your requirements with a specialist. For those living in Manchester and the North West, I recommend Housing Units, which has a whole department dedicated to fireplaces and experts on hand to provide advice to anyone who needs it.
Alternatively, check out eBay’s guide to buying a gas fire for more information on the various factors to consider.