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Answering Your Frequently Asked Questions About Gas Fireplaces
One of the best ways to find the product that works best for you is to ask about it. And when it comes to gas fireplaces, there are many questions to ask. Here are answers to some questions you may be asking:
What is the difference between a gas fireplace insert and a zero-clearance gas fireplace?
Many people confuse the two units or think they are one in the same. But they are actually two different types of units. The term zero clearance comes from its ability to be installed within zero inches of surrounding combustible materials. Gas inserts can be considered an appliance installed within an existing masonry or wood burning unit. It is usually installed as a way to upgrade or convert a wood fireplace to a gas unit.
Can I convert my wood burning fireplace to a gas fireplace?
Yes. Gas inserts are designed to help homeowners convert their existing wood burning or masonry fireplace into an efficient gas fireplace. Manufacturers offer gas inserts in a variety of sizes to ensure that homeowners can easily find a gas unit that fits inside their existing fireplace.
How long does a gas fireplace take to heat a room?
The answer to these questions depends on what unit you have installed and the heat output of the unit. For maximum heating efficiency you need to match the heat output, measured in BTU’s (British Thermal Unit), with the features and specifications of your home. This includes the size of the area you are heating, how well your home is insulated, and the climate where you live.
What does BTU mean?
BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. A BTU is a unit of measurement for thermal energy, or heat. For example, one BTU is equal to the amount of energy used to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit above sea level.
Can gas fireplaces be installed in multiple rooms in my home?
Yes. Gas fireplaces can be installed anywhere, depending on the gas unit you purchase. These units can be installed in bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms, kitchens, etc.
Can gas fireplaces be free standing or do they have to be built into a wall?
Where the gas fireplace is installed depends on how it needs to be vented. Ventless gas fireplaces are exempt because they do not require the use of a chimney or vent to the outside. Direct vent units require a wall for venting but a dual glass or triple glass screen can provide a unique look inside the interior walls of a house or room. Natural vent, or Class B, vent gas units require the use of an existing chimney and therefore must be placed within a specific wall.
How hot is the glass when the unit is turned on?
The glass surface of your unit reaches very high temperatures while on and remains hot after the unit is turned off until the glass has had a chance to cool. Due to the high level of heat of the glass be sure to keep small children and animals away from the contents of the glass. A safety screen can be used as a barrier to help reduce the risk of burns.
Does it cost less to run a gas fireplace or a furnace?
It is very difficult to give a definite answer to this question. There are a few things to consider when making a comparison. To determine which heating unit is cheaper to use you need to know the BTU consumption rating systems and the efficiency ratings of each system. Another thing to consider is the heat loss ratio, which is very difficult to measure.
Some argue that furnaces are more expensive to run because more heat is lost in the duct work. The technology used in modern gas fireplaces and the efficiency of these modern gas units tend to keep the cost of running an efficient and well-maintained gas fireplace lower than the cost associated with running a furnace. But again, with all the factors to consider, it is almost impossible to know which heating unit costs less to run.
Is it okay to turn off the pilot light when not in use?
The pilot light can be extinguished, and the factory instructions can be followed to restore the pilot. However, before making a decision to close it, there are some pros and cons to look at.
- You’ll conserve energy, which means you’ll save money.
- Turning off the pilot light when the gas fireplace is not in use for a long time will reduce the development of the film on the inner side of the glass surface.
- When the pilot light is on, the glass is usually quite warm to the touch. No pilot light means cooler glass during warmer weather.
- There are safety risks associated with reflashing the pilot light. If you are not familiar with the pilot light and settings of your gas fireplace you could be putting yourself, your home, and your gas unit at risk.
- If you choose to turn off your pilot light for a long period of time, you may have difficulty turning the pilot on later.
- You increase the chance of spiders and other insects building homes in the pipes and blocking the flow of gas when you go to heat your home. If this happens, you will have to spend money to have a professional come and inspect your gas fireplace.
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