Whether you are in the process of building a new home or you are working on an exciting home remodel, interior design plays a big factor. One important home decor decision is the fireplace. This central focus of a room in your residence can dictate many style choices. Because a fireplace informs many home improvement decisions, you need to ensure you’re getting the right fireplace.
Presently, people are choosing alternative fuel types instead of traditional wood fireplaces. Some of these fuel types can benefit from a blower to help warm your house. This article talks about gas fireplace inserts, using blowers, and more alternatives to choose from.
Inside This Article, You’ll Learn:
- Why Is a Wood Burning Fireplace Bad For Modern Day Homeowners? – Wood fireplaces have been the main feature of homes for countless generations, but are they right for modern times? Here we explore the disadvantages they present.
- What Are The Different Gas Fireplace Types and Features That Come With Them? – Gas fireplaces have many options in style, fuel choice, ventilation, and more. Here we talk about different varieties.
- What Are The Advantages of a Gas Fireplace Insert With Blower Options? – Some people use blowers to enhance their gas fireplaces. We dive into why blowers are commonly used with gas fireplaces.
- Is It Better To Buy a Brand Name Gas Fireplace Insert With Blower Options? – We discuss gas fireplace brand options and if lesser-known generic brands are worth their lower price.
- What Are The Problems People Will Face With a Gas Fireplace Insert or Other Gas Fireplace Type? – Gas fireplaces present some advantages to traditional fireplaces, however, they are far from perfect. This section spells out issues you’ll face with them.
- What Strengths Do Electric Fireplaces Have Over Direct Vent and Vent Free Gas Fireplaces? – We highlight all of the strengths associated with electric fireplaces and why they are the superior home heating choice.
- Are There Many Types of Electric Fireplaces That Fit Different Home Design Ideas? – We list a few common electric fireplace types, their uses, and which to look at for your specific home heating situation.
- Why Are MagikFlame Electric Fireplaces Superior To Even The Best Gas Fireplace Brands? – Here we explain why a MagikFlame electric fireplace is a wise investment.
Why Is a Wood-Burning Fireplace Bad For Modern-Day Homeowners?
Wood fireplaces are quickly falling out of style. This isn’t necessarily for aesthetic reasons, but because of all of the problems that go with them. Let’s start from the beginning. If you want a new wood-burning fireplace in your home, you have to hire a skilled architect. The architect will redesign that section of the home. Afterward, a home builder is needed. While the home builder puts in the new fireplace, that part of your house will be unusable for some time.
Of course, there is a chance you have a home that already features an existing fireplace that burns real wood. Unfortunately, wood fireplaces are extremely unsafe. A wood fire is a big hazard. The danger comes from both the house fire risk and the emissions and fumes that fill your home. Even with regular cleaning and maintenance, you have to keep a watchful eye on the fire. You can’t leave it alone without adding to the risk.
Beyond safety, wood fireplaces are a lot of work to use regularly. Log splitting, fireplace cleaning, and fire stoking are just a few of the tasks you’ll have to look forward to.
Because of the expense of building wood fireplaces, the safety hazard they bring with them, and the work involved in using them, people are looking for alternatives. For people that already have a fireplace, there are options to convert them into other fuel types with a wood burning fireplace insert. Wood burning fireplace inserts come in both gas and electric fuel types. The inserts are placed directly into the firebox. Often, a brick liner will be used with a masonry fireplace to make the inserts fit properly.
What Are The Different Gas Fireplace Types and Features That Come With Them?
Gas fireplaces come in a few different varieties. However, gas type is one of the first things that most people need to choose. Natural gas can be used if your home has gas utilities. However, if gas lines are present at your house, then propane gas will need to be chosen. This involves changing propane tanks once in a while, similar to some outdoor BBQ units. Most are single fuel gas fireplaces, built for one of these two gas types. However, there are also dual fuel gas fireplaces. Dual fuel gas fireplaces are ready to use with either type of fuel, offering more versatility.
Regardless of the type of gas, the other main option is venting. A direct vent gas fireplace uses a flue to release harmful fumes. Vent free fireplaces don’t need a flue due to the low to non-existent release of harmful fumes.
If you are trying to convert older wood fireplaces into gas-burning varieties, this can be done with a gas fireplace insert. These fit into the opening of your old fireplace. However, installation can be difficult depending on your specific fireplace situation. Professionals will be required to help with this process. Natural gas fireplace insert units need gas lines ran to the fireplace location. Of course, there are both ventless gas fireplace insert and direct vent gas fireplace insert options. The latter can connect directly to the existing chimney the fireplace is inserted.
Gas fireplaces can come in several types of materials like cast iron, stainless steel, and other heat-resistant materials. Aesthetically, this can lack some variety compared to other fireplace types. However, there are other aesthetic options as well. Gas logs are sometimes included with gas fireplaces. Gas logs are logs that sit inside of the fireplace to mimic the wood of real fireplaces. A gas log set also has the job of breaking up flames to flicker more naturally compared to gas fireplaces with simple burners. There are also gas stove options. This is different than the stove in your kitchen. Instead, this is a fireplace that looks like a rustic wood stove.
Many modern gas fireplaces come with a millivolt ignition system. This allows you to easily start your gas fireplace with an electronic ignition instead of using matches or a lighter.
Indoor fireplaces aren’t the only place that gas is used. It is common to see gas used in a fire pit or other types of outdoor fireplaces. However, a fire pit is the most common type you’ll come across.
What Are The Advantages of a Gas Fireplace Insert With Blower Options?
Just like wood fireplaces, gas fireplaces warm your home using radiant heat. This means that the burning of the fuel radiates heat directly outward from the flames. This means that most of the heat will be localized directly around the flames. However, to add to the efficiency, a gas fireplace insert with blower installation is the way to go. A blower is an additional feature that pulls the radiated heat from the fire and blows it out into your home. This spreads the heat more evenly so that the warmth is felt throughout the house, rather than directly near the fireplace.
Using blowers with gas fireplaces makes your home act more like an efficient oven. Blowers help to somewhat overcome the common heating limitations experienced with gas fireplaces.
Is It Better To Buy a Brand Name Gas Fireplace Insert With Blower Options?
Now that we have established that gas fireplace inserts work more efficiently with blowers installed with them, does the brand of the fireplace matter? Unfortunately, it does. Many cheap brands of generic gas fireplaces fail to have proper fireplace blower support. Blowers are generally made for specific brands. While professionals may be able to get blowers to work with generic gas fireplaces, they may not be reliable. Besides this, generic brands tend to have issues. Because of the dangers that are already included with gas fireplaces, these dangers just become more prominent with generic brands. Burners can have issues, build quality can be poor, and the fireplace may be less efficient.
Two brands that work well with blowers are Duluth Forge and Procom. Both Duluth Forge and Procom gas fireplaces have blowers that will work with either brand.
Before purchasing a gas fireplace unit, check to make sure that it is a trusted brand. It should have great reviews, safety standards, and should be compatible with a blower to make it more efficient.
What Are The Problems People Will Face With a Gas Fireplace Insert or Other Gas Fireplace Type?
While they are often chosen as an alternative to wood fireplaces, gas fireplaces still face many problems that your average interested buyer may be unaware of. These issues range from safety problems, aesthetics, and more.
The first major concern with gas fireplaces is safer. While they are a small amount safer than wood fireplaces, they are far from being completely safe. Fire is still present when they are being used. This means there is a heightened fire safety hazard. The open flames are especially dangerous if you have little ones in your home. These can be small children that like to run and play or they can be pets. The fire hazard isn’t the only safety concern. Harmful fumes are also dangerous. Smoke isn’t too much of a concern, but carbon monoxide still is. A ventilation free gas fireplace usually means that these harmful emissions aren’t a big problem. Of course, this isn’t always the case. Even a ventilation free gas fireplace can have issues with the burners inside of them. When burners are neglected from being maintained properly or become damaged, the burning process isn’t complete. This causes carbon monoxide to still be released. If this happens, and you don’t have ventilation to help, it can be very dangerous. Breathing issues can arise, but in large amounts, this emission can even be deadly.
Aesthetics are a big part of fireplaces. Most people enjoy the traditional look of wood fireplaces. This is why so many alternative fuel types try to imitate burning wood. Unfortunately, gas fireplaces often fall short of looking traditional. The flame color can vary too much. Some flames are more naturally colored, but the colors can still look artificial. They can be dull and lack variety. Some flames are completely artificial by design. You can see this in several gas fireplaces that use neon blue flames on purpose. This novelty color of flames looks strange. Even if it interests people when they first purchase a gas fireplace, regret often follows. After the novelty gets old, these fireplace owners tend to yearn for a more natural flame color.
The color of the flame is the most obvious problem with the aesthetics, however, the ability of the flame to flicker is also important. Traditional fireplaces have flames that flicker and dance around. Many gas fireplaces have steady streams of flames that look weak and boring. You have to remember that that the burners inside of gas fireplaces are essential a row of Bunsen burners. Some gas fireplaces have designs that twist and break up the flames, but they seldom succeed in looking like natural burning wood.
The last aesthetic problem with many gas fireplaces is that so many of them have a cold metal design. This can be a big eyesore inside people’s homes. Unless this is an aesthetic they are willing to work around, they are stuck covering it up as much as possible.
Beyond aesthetics, gas fireplaces aren’t nearly as efficient as one might think. Because good gas fireplaces require ventilation, heat has the problem with escaping through this ventilation. This means that the heat generated by gas fireplaces isn’t completely going towards warming the home. This heat loss means extra gas will be needed to make up for it.
What Strengths Do Electric Fireplaces Have Over Direct Vent and Vent Free Gas Fireplaces?
Electric fireplaces are a smarter choice. They are zero clearance heating devices. This means they can be placed nearby flammable materials without the risk of igniting them. They don’t increase the chance of a house fire like gas fireplaces. Gas fireplaces don’t have this luxury. Owners must pay special attention to the space around gas fireplaces to ensure nothing nearby is flammable.
Air quality is another benefit of electric fireplaces. Since the heating is completely electric, there aren’t any fumes, smoke, or other emissions that will affect the air inside of the home. The only emission is warm air that has been cycled from inside of the room.
Heat efficiency is another huge benefit of electric fireplaces. Ventilation isn’t something that is needed with them. All of the heat that electric fireplaces generate stays inside of your home. There isn’t any heat loss. Additionally, electric fireplaces don’t need additional blowers installed as gas fireplace inserts require. Electric fireplaces already have blowers included in their design. Instead of radiant heating, electric fireplaces use efficient convection heating. The air is heated by infrared quartz coils and cycled throughout your residence.
The artificial flames of deluxe electric fireplaces look much better than the real flames of many gas fireplaces. Between the color and movement of realistic holographic flame effects, you can have the ambiance of a traditional fireplace. While not all electric fireplaces have fire effects that are this realistic, luxury brands like MagikFlame have 3D flames that look like the real thing.
While you need to get up to turn on gas fireplaces, electric fireplaces come with a remote control device. Sit comfortably on your couch and control your fireplace from afar. The remote control device will control the power, temperature, fire effects, and any additional options or features the brand you choose comes with.
Installation of electric fireplaces is simple. We’ve covered how difficult wood fireplace installation is and how professionals need to be hired for gas fireplaces. Electric fireplaces are a DIY installation. Once you’ve put it where you want it to go, it only needs to be plugged into any available outlet. Hiring professionals isn’t a requirement.
Are There Many Types of Electric Fireplaces That Fit Different Home Design Ideas?
The interior design aesthetics of your electric fireplace is important. Other home decor items can be chosen to match a good fireplace. That’s why the type of fireplace is important. While an interior designer might be able to create a great theme in your home, the interior designer needs to know what body type and style of fireplace you’ll have. Here are the main types and what you can expect:
- Mantel Package – The most basic type is a mantel package. These units are always a good choice, are easy to install, and look the most traditional.
- Corner Fireplace – These are slightly less traditional of a look but great for saving space in a home. They often work just as well as typical mantel packages.
- TV Stand Fireplace – Electric fireplaces built into TV stands can also save space but sometimes lack heating power.
- Wall Mount Fireplace – Some electric fireplaces can be mounted onto a wall or embedded within them.
- Electric Fireplace Inserts – Electric fireplace inserts are versatile. You can use them to convert wood fireplaces or insert them into a custom mantel.
- Freestanding Heater – The BTU output of these weaker space heaters aren’t worth it. Avoid these smaller fireplace imitators.
- Electric Stove – These imitate wood stove types, but function similarly to other electric fireplaces.
Why Are MagikFlame Electric Fireplaces Superior To Even The Best Gas Fireplace Brands?
Whether you have purchased a new home or are excitedly planning a remodel, MagikFlame fireplaces is the best choice. Models like the MagikFlame Athena look beautiful in any home. All these listed features are included with each model:
- Ultrarealistic Fire Effects – 30 3D flame styles projected onto a log set. The log set sits on a glowing ember bed.
- Crackling Log Sounds – Additional sounds for a more realistic experience.
- 5,200 BTU Heat – The 5,200 BTU heater efficiently and quickly warms your home.
- Smartphone App – The smartphone remote control app controls the thermostat, visual effects, audio effects, and other features.