Whether you live somewhere like Massachusetts, Canada, or California, everyone needs a good source of heat during the colder months. Of course, it also helps if the heat source lends itself to enhancing the interior design of your home décor. This can easily be done with a beautiful fireplace. However, what kind do you get? These days, you can’t get a home builder to put a wood fireplace into a new home for you. Because of newer safety regulations, there is no point even having an architect add it to the plans of your home. Trying to have an interior designer do a remodel of your home will even prove difficult unless you already have a wood fireplace that came with the house. So, what are your other options?
Many people these days are choosing to go with gas or electric fireplaces. But, which one should you go with? Do you prefer a vent free gas fireplace? Do you choose electric instead of a vent free gas fireplace? Which fireplaces can you install as a DIY home improvement project? If you go with gas, do you go with propane or natural gas? What kind of byproducts do they produce? In this article, we will go ahead and answer many of these questions for you and a lot more.
Ventless gas fireplaces: what to know before you buy
Here are all of the things that are going to be covered in the article that follows:
- What Are All of The Problems With a Traditional Fireplace That Burns Wood and Why Are People Looking For Alternatives? – While the problems with wood fireplaces might be obvious to a lot of people reading this, they might not quite know all of the reasons you don’t really see wood fireplaces in newer homes anymore. This will give a quick rundown of wood fireplaces and their common issues so that everyone understands why gas and electric are looked at as alternative solutions.
- What Are The Types of Gas Fireplaces? – Within this part of the post, we will explain the different types of gas fireplaces that you may find yourself considering for your home and what their key differences are.
- What Are The Common Types of Gas Used In Gas Fireplaces? – Here we will explore the gas types that you might find used with a built-in gas unit.
- What Are Some Common Features That You Can Expect With a Vent-Free or Ventless Gas Fireplace? – Gas fireplaces can come with many different features depending on what types and brands you go with. Here, we are going to discuss features that are commonly found when it comes to gas fireplaces.
- What Are Common Gas Fireplace Brands That You Can Get For a Home? – There are many different brands of gas fireplaces. Here we will list some more trusted common brands. We will talk about brands like Duluth Forge, Pleasant Hearth, and more. Be sure to learn about trusted brands before you start searching on Amazon.
- Why Isn’t a Vent-Free or Ventless Gas Fireplace a Very Good Solution For Homeowners? – Gas fireplaces are definitely a safer and cleaner fireplace choice to keep your house warmer than one that burns wood, but it may not be exactly the fireplace you are looking for. Here we will list many of the common traits of gas fireplaces that make them not exactly the best choice for your home.
- Why Are Electric Fireplaces a Better Solution Than a Vent-Free or Ventless Gas Fireplace? – A great alternative to gas fireplaces are ones that run entirely on electricity. Within this part of the guide, we are going to explain many of the incredible benefits of electric fireplaces that make them a clear winner over both wood burning and gas fireplaces.
- What Are The Various Types of Electric Fireplaces That are Available For a Home? – For those of you that think electric fireplaces might be the way to go, here we will be listing all of the different types you might find yourself looking at. We will explain the different situations you would use these different fireplaces, which you might want for your home, and which you need to completely stay away from if you want to be happy with your purchase.
- Which Brand of Electric Fireplace Has Ultra-Realistic Flame Effects That Look Like The Real Thing? – For those of you looking for electric fireplaces that are truly impressive, you don’t need to look much further than MagikFlame fireplaces, which is what this part is going to talk all about. Instead of buying generic fireplaces on Amazon, give this section a thorough read.
What are all of the problems with a traditional fireplace that burns wood and why are people looking for alternatives?
Here are the main types of wood fireplaces:
- Open Hearth – A standard wood fireplace.
- Enclosed – A fireplace that is enclosed by a glass door for efficiency and safety.
- Insert – An insert unit to turn an open hearth into an enclosed fireplace.
- Wood Stove – A classic stove heating device commonly found in Cabins.
- Fire Pit – An outdoor backyard fireplace that is more of a novelty.
Of course, even when people already have wood burning fireplaces, there are many reasons they are switching to better alternatives. Here is why:
- An exposed flame paired with soot accumulation makes them a higher risk of a house fire.
- They produce harmful emissions in the form of smoke and carbon monoxide.
- They are a complete hassle to use.
- There is a heat loss problem since so much heat is released out of the chimney.
- The smoke causes an unpleasant odor.
- The smoke can also stain your furniture and walls.
- You can’t mount your flat screen above your fireplace without causing it damage.
- You need a lot of storage space for all of that wood.
- They are incredibly expensive to build if you happen to get approved to build one.
What are the types of gas fireplaces?
While there are many different varieties of gas fireplaces when it comes to features, whether they are indoor fireplaces or outdoor fireplaces, and more, gas fireplaces essentially come in these two varieties:
- Direct Vent or Vented Gas Fireplace – These kinds of gas fireplaces are ones that run on a gas that requires it to have venting. When used indoors, these need some sort of ventilation pipe due to the harmful carbon monoxide it can produce.
- Vent Free Fireplace – This kind of gas fireplace is the type that uses a gas that is cleaner and produces a cleaner burn. Because of this, a ventless unit, by its name, obviously doesn’t require ventilation.
There are several different subtypes of each. You can get a ventless gas fireplace insert that goes directly into the firebox of open hearth fireplaces if you want to convert them into a vent free gas fireplace. A vented insert can even sit in the firebox and use the existing flue and chimney as ventilation. The flue is already made to allow smoke to release, so that it can also work well with gas too. You can also get outdoor versions like a fire pit. Or there are gas stove types. A gas stove is made to look like traditional wood stoves, not to be confused with the appliance currently in your kitchen..
What are the common types of gas used in gas fireplaces?
When it involves gas fireplaces, the two main types of gases are:
- Natural Gas – A natural gas fireplace is one that hooks directly into the gas line of your home. Typically, a natural gas fireplace isn’t as energy-efficient or clean as one that uses propane gas, but it is more convenient since you don’t need to change out a liquid propane canister.
- Propane – A propane fireplace is going to burn cleaner to cause fewer issues with the fresh air oxygen levels within a home. It is also a lot more efficient. Keep in mind, that you will need to change out liquid propane canisters from time to time with these fireplaces.
What are some common features that you can expect with a vent-free or ventless gas fireplace?
Gas fireplaces have a variety of different features for safety, visuals, and more.
Many gas fireplaces use gas logs. Gas logs help add to the realism. The gas logs break up the gas stream slightly, so it looks more like the flame in a wood fireplace. A gas log set is usually made to look like wood but the gas log set is made out of a material that won’t actually burn from the flames. While many gas fireplaces that forgo ventless gas logs altogether, having ventless gas logs helps make it look more traditional if that is what you are looking for.
Just like a gas hot water heater, gas fireplaces will have a pilot light and regulator. Many gas fireplaces will have an ODS or oxygen depletion sensor for added safety.
What are common gas fireplace brands that you can get for a home?
Two of the gas fireplace brands that are commonly trusted are Duluth Forge and Pleasant Hearth. Duluth Forge has a type that is even dual fuel. Pleasant Hearth has a wide variety of different gas fireplaces. Pleasant Hearth fireplaces come in a variety of traditional mantel colors and styles. The BTU output of Pleasant Hearth fireplaces will usually vary depending on the size of the Pleasant Hearth that you go with.
Regardless of what brand you get, just make sure to get one from a trusted brand name rather than picking up a generic brand simply because you saw it for a cheaper price. Safety is important when it comes to things like fireplaces, quality fireplaces tend to be safer, and trusted brands tend to be of a higher quality.
Why isn’t a vent-Free or ventless gas fireplace a very good solution for homeowners?
While gas fireplaces of all types are, on average, going to be better for the air quality of your home over a wood-burning fireplace, they will still have some issues that you need to make sure you are aware of:
- While gas fireplaces don’t have a chimney with tons of flammable soot buildup or fiery logs that can roll out into the living room, they still have an exposed flame. Whenever there is an exposed flame within your home, you need to understand that there is a serious risk of a house fire starting.
- Smoke isn’t a problem like with wood-burning fireplaces, but carbon monoxide still is since an incomplete burn of the gas simply produces carbon monoxide. For this reason, it is vital that you have carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home. You should have carbon monoxide detectors even if you don’t have gas fireplaces installed in your home.
- The color of the flames of gas fireplaces are really unattractive. Many gas fireplaces have flames that are an unappealing blue color. This looks completely fake if you want a more traditional feel. Some gas fireplaces can produce a more orange flame, but this is because the gas isn’t burning completely. Regardless, even the orange flame looks dull and doesn’t really capture the actual color of the flames of wood-burning fireplaces.
- Gas fireplaces have flames that often look very weak. Considering they are slightly larger and more complex Bunsen burners, this shouldn’t be a surprise.
- Installing a gas fireplace isn’t easy or cheap. You’ll need the help of a professional to make sure everything is done safely and up to code. For many gas fireplaces, you’ll also need gas lines run an ventilation added in addition to the fireplace installation.
- Some gas fireplaces can accumulate water vapor on the inside glass of the fireplace, which completely ruins the illusion and can even cause problems over time.
- While some gas fireplaces can be powerful, quite a few have poor heating due to the loss of heat through the ventilation system, if it has one.
Why are electric fireplaces a better solution than a vent-Free or ventless gas fireplace?
Here is why you would want electric fireplaces over wood or gas:
- Inside of electric fireplaces, nothing is actually burning. Because of this, you aren’t going to have to worry about any kind of additional fire risks like wood or gas fireplaces.
- There are no harmful emissions when it comes to electric fireplaces. The only thing that is emitted from electric fireplaces is warm, clean air.
- Since there is no flame or smoke, they are entirely odorless and they aren’t going to stain your walls.
- There is no hassle at all when using electric fireplaces. When you want your home warm, just turn it on, and set it to your preferred temperature if it wasn’t previously set. After that, you can let the fireplace do everything else for you.
- Between wood, gas, and electric fireplaces, electric is the easiest to install. It is effortless in most cases because you are just picking a spot and plugging the fireplace into a standard 120 volt electrical outlet.
- You can put these fireplaces in any room of your home with ease. You aren’t limited to just the main room of your house.
- They are safe if you want to mount a flat screen TV above it.
- Since there is no ventilation and they tend to use infrared quartz heat, they are very energy efficient and will save you money on your heating bill.
- Electric fireplaces can be set up for supplemental zone heating to evenly heat rather large homes.
- They come with a remote control so you don’t even have to get up.
- With a high-end fireplace that has realistic flame effects, you can capture the same ambiance and experience provided by traditional fireplaces.
What are the various types of electric fireplaces that are available for a home?
- Flat Wall Fireplace Mantel Package – These look the most traditional. They are technically freestanding, but they are installed up against a flat wall, so it looks like a real fireplace.
- Corner Fireplace– These are no different than flat wall fireplaces other than they are shaped for installation in the corner of a room.
- TV Stand Fireplace – These are essentially just a basic TV stand except these have had a fireplace built into their body. Be careful, as some of these may have weaker fireplaces due to limited space.
- Corner TV Stand Fireplace– Similar to the normal TV stand versions, these corner TV stands can have issues with fireplace performance.
- Wall Mount Fireplace – Instead of being installed on the floor, these are actually hung on a wall. They can also be installed in a wall recess so they are flush with the wall.
- Fireplace Insert – You install these inserts into open hearths if you want to convert a wood fireplace into an electric one.
- Freestanding Fireplace Heater – These are simple, portable heaters, but they have fireplace visuals. Because of the need to add visuals to these small mobile devices, they usually can’t even heat as well as a typical space heater. Therefore you should usually stay away from this type.
- Electric Stove – These are electric versions of wood stoves you would find in a cabin.
Which brand of electric fireplace has ultra-realistic flame effects that look like the real thing?
MagikFlame is widely considered to be one of the best electric fireplaces on the market. Here is why:
- 3D Holographic Flame Projection – To change the mood to your liking, you can select between 30 different styles of flames that are holographically projected onto a physical log set. These flames are 3D and look completely realistic for absolute visual immersion.
- Crackling Log Sounds – The visual immersion is perfectly complemented by the audio of actual crackling log sounds that are included with MagikFlame fireplaces. If you want some additional, relaxing sounds, you can choose to play nature sounds as well.
- 5,200 BTU Heater – MagikFlame fireplaces all include a powerful 5,200 BTU heater inside of them. The 5,200 BTU heater is also incredibly efficient. Once you set the thermostat, only enough heat comes out of the blower until the desired temperature on the thermostat is reached. The fireplace then regulates how much heat it is putting out until the temperature drops again, keeping the room exactly how you like it while costing you the least amount of money necessary on your electric bill.
- Smartphone Control – Instead of a standard remote control, MagikFlame fireplaces have a smartphone app to control the thermostat, flame effects, audio effects, and more.