Natural Gas Fireplaces Add Warmth and Beauty
When the weather turns cold, few things sound more inviting than relaxing around a warm fireplace, but the messy cleanup doesn't seem quite as appealing. That's what makes gas fireplaces such a great alternative. They combine the charm of a crackling fire with the benefits of clean-burning natural gas.
What are the options?
Three types of natural gas fireplaces are available: direct vent, ventless and B-vent.
- Direct-vent units are the most popular type of fireplace. Direct-vent units are enclosed with glass to seal it off from the room, and they use pipe vent combustion directly out of the home. One downside of direct vent units for some homeowners is the glass enclosure, which can distract from the visual appeal of the fire. Today, many gas fireplace products use ceramic glass, which reduces glare.
- Ventless fireplaces are designed to burn at nearly 100 percent efficiency, meaning that most of the combustion exhaust is harmless water vapor or carbon dioxide. There are some concerns with these units about the potential for harmful combustion by-products. Talk with your unit supplier about any safeguards that are in place.
- B-vent units are open and use the air in the room for combustion. Like a wood burning stove, B-vent units require vertical venting through the top of the roof. B-vents are less efficient than direct vent units, but their open, natural venting style holds an aesthetic appeal for some homeowners.
Many gas fireplaces come with a remote control, allowing you to quickly and easily turn on or turn off the unit, or adjust the flame and heat level.
Installing a new unit
A natural gas fireplace typically consists of a firebox, a set of realistic looking gas logs, a controllable burner and a tempered or ceramic glass window. Ranging in size from small to very large, the size you choose will depend on balancing your need for heat with visual appeal and design.
Inserts and stand-alone units are available. Fireplace inserts are installed in an existing fireplace opening and consist of a metal housing, ceramic logs, a controllable burner and a glass front. For remodeling projects, an insert is an economical way to make use of the existing hearth and masonry work. Stand-alone units can be located anywhere in a room and can be vented through an existing chimney or through direct-venting.
The versatility of natural gas fireplaces makes them a good choice for outdoor rooms. From simple, rustic designs to elegant contemporary ones, they are a great addition to your outdoor space. Typically made of brick and mortar, these free-standing or built-in structures often feature a variety of design elements. As part of a well-designed outdoor living space, a natural gas fireplace can extend your time outdoors well beyond the summer months.