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Learn about Gas Fireplace

Gas Fireplace

A fireplace that burns natural gas or propane, with the look of a wood stove, and often using a home's chimney as its exhaust pipe.

When choosing a gas fireplace, consider your choices of ventless, top vent, or direct vent. Ventless gas fireplaces don’t require a chimney or vent, but they are known to harm your indoor air quality. Vents, especially chimneys, require maintenance, they result in heat loss, and they often negatively impact your house insurance and value. As with any fireplace ownership, install a carbon monoxide detector to monitor your home’s air quality.

Energy Star does not cover gas fireplaces, but you can look for other voluntary energy efficiency ratings, such as the EnerGuide efficiency rating (in Canada), or the Enerchoice label. To carry an Enerchoice label, a gas fireplace must have an efficiency greater than 61 to 66%, depending on the type. Heat pumps and high-efficiency gas furnaces have lower energy costs per unit of heat delivered. Check your unit’s Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) - the higher the better.

A gas fireplace gives the pleasing aesthetic and warmth of a fire, without the need to carry wood, and can have a higher energy efficiency than a wood stove. But it is fueled with a non-renewable fossil fuel, and has much lower efficiency than a high efficiency gas furnace. Most gas fireplaces range between 30 and 70% efficient, while a high efficiency condensing gas furnace can easily be over 90% efficient.

The love of watching a fire runs deep and wide in human culture. A post-modern equivalent is the LED fireplace, a wall-mounted electric heater that uses an LED light show to create the artistic visual impression of a gas or wood fire in a hearth. There are even several long-running TV shows that consist simply of logs burning in a fireplace during the winter holiday season, including the 'Yule Log' TV program that has been aired on and off for over 50 years in the USA, and the 'Shaw Fire Log', burning on Canadian TV sets since 1986.