How To Choose The Right Gas Fireplace For Your Home

You might think that since your home didn't come with a fireplace, it'd be far too expensive to add one now. While it could be costly to construct a wood-burning fireplace, gas log fireplaces are easy to install, and can be put into most any home. Don't give up on your thoughts of a warm, flickering fireplace over the holidays. Here are two things you'll need to consider before you buy, though.

Choosing a Log

You'll have to choose between vented and vent-free gas logs when you install your fireplace. To determine which one is right for your situation, there are a few things to consider.

  1. Vented Logs – These logs simulate a real wood-burning fire. They feature a realistic-looking flame that relies on an open damper or chimney flue. These systems are not as efficient for heating, though, because a lot of the heat generated by the fire is lost up the chimney. If you're looking for something that looks realistic, but you're not dependent on the heat source, this is a great choice.
  2. Vent-Free Logs – These logs don't need the chimney flue open to function. While you won't get the same degree of flame from these logs, you will get the heat benefit. Since they aren't vented, you keep all of the heat generated by the fireplace inside your house. Most vent-free fireplaces even have a thermostat that lets you regulate the room temperature with the fireplace. If you're more concerned with warmth than the flame appearance, this is a better choice for you.

    Before you opt for a vent-free heater, though, make sure the room you're putting it in has sufficient ventilation. These heaters can generate moisture, which can lead to mold growth if the room isn't ventilated. Further, there may be some building code restrictions about where in your home they can be installed for fire safety. Check with the local building code enforcement division to find out.

Selecting a Fuel Source

Gas logs come in two forms – liquid propane or natural gas. A liquid propane system has more carbon than natural gas does, and it burns much hotter. If you want an LP gas fireplace, you'll have to have a tank installed on your property, then the fireplace will be fed from that tank.

Natural gas doesn't burn nearly as hot as liquid propane, but it is often more affordable. If you want a natural gas fireplace, you'll have to have the gas piped into the fireplace via existing natural gas lines. If you already have an appliance in your house that uses natural gas, this part is easy, because that means you have underground gas lines that can be used for this. If you don't, you'll have to call your local natural gas service to see about connecting new lines.

Companies like Hearth and Patio can help you determine the best gas fireplace for your home.