There is more to consider than just how the outside of your fireplace will look when completed. Though the final decor is critical, what goes inside is as important to ensure your investment will provide the lasting benefits of owning a gas fireplace. Let’s consider some the factors you should be aware of before choosing your gas fireplace.
Fireplaces today are not strictly for heating anymore. Some are designed to provide stunning realistic flames but with minimal heat, ideal for homes with in-floor heat, and commercial spaces. These would be considered for ambiance rather than heat. Other fireplaces are heater rated, and intended to pump out maximum heat while there are those in between that give off heat but can be trimmed back when heat is not critical. What are your heat requirements? Units provide different amounts of heat, so sizing the heat output according to the space is an important consideration for maximum comfort.
Gas or propane fireplaces need to be vented, either through an outside the wall, or through the roof. If neither of these options are available, there are fireplaces that can be power vented, meaning the venting can be run horizontally under the floor or above the ceiling a certain distance before exiting through the wall or roof.
Better quality gas fireplaces can be gauged by the thickness of firebox material which can easily identified by the weight of the unit. Heavier gauge steel means less buckling and warpage during the heating and cooling cycles which stresses and weakens the welds, and less popping sounds from the firebox as the metal expands and contracts. Better quality fireplaces also use ceramic glass over tempered glass, to absorb and slowly radiate heat, and as a safety prevention against sudden cold shock to the glass.
Without getting into the technical details, better quality gas burners are also made of thicker gauged material to better resist cracking under heat and pressure. Controlling the flame there are two main types of technology. Standing pilot – the pilot light remains lit when thermostat not calling for heat. Intermittent Pilot (IPI) same as above, but the pilot light extinguishes and relights itself as needed to save on fuel consumption. Each have their advantages and disadvantages, a topic for another discussion, based where unit located in the home and intended usage frequency of the fireplace. These burners can be controlled by a programmable remote or wall thermostat and can be run on “manual” or “auto” modes.
Better quality gas fireplaces give you more options how to trim and finish your fireplace. They offer different color facings, trim widths, glass overlays, options for firebox backgrounds and options for fireplace contents be it firelogs, glass media or rocks. These all add the customizability of each fireplace to best suit your needs.
TV ABOVE OR NOT
An important consideration in your design and fireplace choice is whether you plan for a TV above your fireplace. This is not always practical for the following reasons. Each fireplace manufacturer has minimal clearance requirements to combustibles above the fireplace that need to be adhered to. This could mean that the bottom of the TV screen must be at certain height which may not be comfortable for viewing or aesthetically pleasing. Secondly, rising heat from the fireplace could damage delicate TV components voiding your TV warranty and create costly replacements. There are ways to get around this if needed, but best to work with a reputable fireplace dealer to ensure all the safety requirements are met.
All these considerations may seem overwhelming, but a reputable specialty fireplace dealer can easily guide you through this process to ensure you find the best gas fireplace to fit your circumstance and budget. Doing a bit of homework upfront, early in the planning stages, can avert costly unexpected detours in the construction process. Call us before finalizing any fireplace plan to ensure you are making the right decision the first time. We look forward to helping you find the best gas fireplace for your needs.