Saturday, October 30, 2010

Advantage of a Gel Fuel Fireplace

Gel fuel fireplaces are basically faux fireplaces that burn not with the help of gas logs, but with non-toxic, alcohol-based gel fuel that produces a simulated wood burning fire. This environmentally friendly, biodegradable fuel has been tested by a number of independent research laboratories and found to be perfectly safe.

Gel fuel fireplaces provide you the maximum enjoyment of a fireplace without the cost and hassles that come with a traditional fireplace. Since gel fuel fireplaces do not emit any smoke, odor or toxic fumes, they can be totally ventless, and thus if you live in an apartment or a condo, you can still enjoy the beauty and warmth of this fireplace. Gel fuel fireplaces do not require any wiring and can be installed quickly and easily.

However, gel fuel fireplaces are not intended to replace a heat source. They produce around 3,000 BTUs of heat, depending on the model and manufacturer. Gel fuel fireplaces are built to provide a warm ambience and a stylish look to a room. They are available in a variety of designs and styles to match your home decor.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Do It Yourself Fireplaces Shouldn't Be This Easy

An electric fireplace can usually be installed in 15 minutes with two people.

You probably think that a do it yourself fireplace is way too much work. First, you need to know the local codes so that your chimney can meet them. Gas fireplaces will require the assistance of a professional to connect the gas line. You also have all the work and materials that goes into building the fireplace itself. You will be burned out before you have a chance to burn a log.

There are, however, do it yourself fireplaces that do not require all this work. With an electric do it yourself fireplace all you need to do is plug it in and flip a switch. No more worrying about gas lines or proper venting. It works just like any other electric appliance; all you need to get started is an outlet.

An electric fireplace can usually be installed in 15 minutes with two people. You don’t need to worry about codes, inspections, or venting. All you need is a standard 120 outlet. Some models can even be assembled without the use of tools.

One idea is to install your electric fireplace inside an existing wood burning fireplace. Simply seal up the chimney and soon you will be enjoying the realistic flames of an electric fireplace without the soot and smoke associated with a wood fire. While it will look just like a traditional fireplace, it comes without the hazards or maintenance. You can even decide how much heat to have it emit, if any.

Source :

Electric Fireplaces Information and Guide

The need to know information when buying an electric fireplace:

It has been many years since we have harnessed electricity and now you can have the best in electric fireplaces as well. Since electric fireplaces need no ventilation the way traditional fireplaces do they can be used in a wide variety of locations and can be installed without costly construction on your home. You just plug them in and let the heating begin.

Electric fireplaces are easily moved from one location to another so you can take them with you if you move, go off to college or simply if you need to warm up a cold guest room. A 120 volt outlet is all that's needed and you can have the warmth and comfort of a dancing fire in seconds. Electric fireplaces also require no cleaning since there is no dirty soot and ash to worry about and they don't pose a danger of flying embers catching your carpet on fire.

No fire in an electric fireplace:

Since your electric fireplace does not burn a real fire how do you get the lifelike quality of flames? That's easy, the "flames" you see are caused by scattered random refracted light and colored light bulbs. In 1997 a company called Dimplex produced the first wood-burning flame effect and has since been granted 19 patents for various electric flame technologies. Even the logs are lifelike versions of the real thing.

Electric fireplaces don't just trick you visually they also provide more heat output than even most real fireplaces. Since there is no venting of smoke and fumes 100% of the heat generated will stay in the room. A good electric fireplace can generate up to 5,000 BTU's of heat and can be controlled with a thermostat to keep the room at a comfortable temperature.

Clean and Ash Free:

Probably the nicest thing about an electric fireplace is that you don't have to clean out the ash and debris left behind when you burn a real fire using logs and starter material. You also don't have to cut and carry wood into your house daily to keep up with the cold weather. You simply flip a switch and your electric fireplace goes to work. The most work you may have to do is change a light bulb occasionally.

We have compiled as informative a site as possible to help you find the best information about electric fireplaces available on the internet. Please visit our WebPages to find the helpful information you are looking for on electric fireplaces and electric fireplace equipment.

Source :

Heat Up Your Home’s Value with a Fireplace

Adding a fireplace when you’re building or remodeling undoubtedly increases the enjoyment of your home, but did you know that adding a fireplace is also a great investment in a home’s resale value?

Because of their warmth – both literal and figurative – fireplaces are one of the features that potential homebuyers inevitably gravitate toward. “When I get a new listing of a home that has a fireplace, it’s imperative I work that fact into all of my marketing materials about the property,” said Brad Palecek, a realtor with Edina Realty in St. Paul, Minn.

By bringing the idea of “hearth and home” to life, a fireplace increases a home’s livability – an important quality these days, with more people opting to spend quiet time at home with family and friends. In fact, many of today’s homebuyers consider a fireplace a “must-have” feature. A National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) survey found that 77% of homebuyers want a fireplace in the family room, where they’ll spend most of their time. And fifty percent of homebuyers would like a fireplace in the living room, where they do much of their entertaining.

Return on investment
With the high demand for fireplaces, adding one to your home clearly means a great investment. Remodeling magazine’s 2003 “Cost vs. Value Report” points out when selling a home, it’s easier to recover the cost of lower-priced projects like fireplace additions than the cost of major renovations like new kitchens.

According to MSN’s “House & Home Advisor,” adding a fireplace is one of the top three remodeling jobs in terms of return on investment (the other two are adding a bathroom and minor kitchen remodeling).

Studies show that homeowners can often recoup more than 100% of the cost of adding a fireplace when they sell the home. In fact, according to the National Association of Real Estate Appraisers, homeowners without fireplaces can potentially raise the selling prices of their homes by about 6-12% simply by adding a fireplace.

A fireplace also adds less-tangible value by helping buyers see your home in a better light. “If I’m the listing agent on a property that’s showing in the fall, winter or early spring, I’ll always light a fire in the fireplace for open houses – particularly if the fireplace is a woodburner,” said Palecek. “People are drawn to a fire; it makes them feel good about being in a room.”

Options Abound
Many homeowners opt for more than one fireplace (Brad Palecek’s own house has three), often mixing and matching the types of fireplaces depending on how each room is used. And when you’re building a home, the choice is yours. As you work with your contractor on fireplace selection, remember that it’s a good strategy to invest in the best. Choosing the most high-end fireplace that your budget will accommodate will give you top-dollar return on investment if you sell your home later.

Tom and Cari Reichenbach decided to give themselves the best of two worlds in the home they built earlier this year. Their home features a stunning flagstone woodburning fireplace as the focal point of their great room upstairs and a gas fireplace in the corner of their lower-level family room.

“We wanted that organic feel of a wood fire upstairs with a nice big hearth we can sit on,” said Cari. “And it’s not just a special-occasion fireplace – I’ll often light a fire in the middle of a weekday afternoon.”

Downstairs, a gas fireplace was the right choice for the family. “We wanted the convenience of having a fire at the touch of a button in the TV room,” Cari explained. “Turning on the fireplace warms up the room right away, both in terms of temperature and the coziness factor.”

Choose the right fireplace for you
When you’re thinking about adding a fireplace to your current home or new construction, consider the following options:

Wood, with its unmistakable look, sound and smell, is the fireplace experience that evokes feelings of nostalgia for many homeowners. Today’s woodburning fireplaces are more environmentally responsible than ever. Many models, like those in Heatilator’s® Constitution™ line, comply with the strictest government air-quality regulations, and work in communities that have imposed bans on conventional woodburning fireplaces.

Gas is currently the most popular choice among homeowners, thanks to its convenience, efficiency and safety. A direct-vent gas fireplace can be installed almost anywhere; most gas fireplaces burn natural gas, but many can be installed to burn propane. In addition, unlike unvented or vent free gas fireplaces, direct-vent gas fireplaces use outside air for combustion, and expel 100% of the combustion exhaust and by-products (like moisture, carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide) outside the home. As a result, they do not decrease your home’s indoor air quality in any way.

Electric fireplaces don’t require chimneys or venting systems, so they’re a good option for apartments, condos and townhomes. These fireplaces can provide a fire-like ambiance either with or without heat.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Look to Gas Fireplaces for Home Heating Help

With homeowners facing the inevitable crunch of rising energy prices this heating season, Hearth & Home Technologies, the world’s largest fireplace manufacturer and leading provider of hearth products, reminds homeowners that wise use of gas fireplaces can significantly reduce their monthly heating bill. While higher natural gas and liquid propane prices may tempt cost-conscious homeowners to limit their gas fireplace use, gas fireplaces can actually reduce dependence on a central furnace—providing immediate cost savings.

Zone Heating with Gas Fireplaces
By practicing zone heating with gas fireplaces, homeowners heat the room or living area where people spend the most time. This allows them to turn down the thermostat on their central furnace and use the gas fireplace as a supplemental heat source. As the central heating supply, furnaces distribute heat across the entire house including rooms that are not in use. Operating a furnace for one hour at 75,000 -100,000 Btu cost a homeowner $1.12 - $1.49 based on last month’s national average natural gas rate. By comparison, a natural gas fireplace running at 30,000 Btu per hour cost only 45 cents. From a financial standpoint, it makes sense to limit the furnace output whenever possible and heat the most frequently used rooms with a gas fireplace.

“Homeowners spend the majority of their time usually in the family room and kitchen,” said Trisha Gregory, retail channel marketing manager, Hearth & Home Technologies. “By adding a gas fireplace to the family room, homeowners can the heat the space they spend the most time in. And if the family room is in the lower level of the home, homeowners gain the advantage of the natural heat rising to other levels of the home.”

What to Look For
Homeowners considering buying a gas fireplace should first look for units that are A.F.U.E. (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rated. A.F.U.E. gas fireplaces are tested to the same standard used to rate today’s energy efficient furnaces. The second thing to look for is direct vent gas fireplaces. Direct vent gas fireplaces burn efficiently with up to 70 percent of the heat they generate remaining in the house.

Direct vent gas technology allows gas fireplaces to install in virtually any room of the home at a fraction of the cost of a masonry fireplace. This makes them an ideal choice for zone heating. They are particularly effective for zone heating because people absorb the radiant heat from the glass front while the firebox also heats the air in the room. Masonry woodburning fireplaces in comparison can lose up 85 percent of the fire’s heat through the chimney. Direct vent gas fireplaces also conveniently operate at the push of a button via a wall control or remote control. And they do not require any ash clean up after use.

Unlike unvented or vent free gas fireplaces, direct vent gas fireplaces also ensure a healthy breathing environment by expelling 100 percent of the unwanted combustion gases and moisture directly outside the home.

Latest Cost-Saving Technology
In addition to zone heating savings, homeowners can save up to $12 each month on their gas bill by selecting a direct vent gas fireplace with an intermittent pilot ignition (IPI) system. For example, Heat & Glo™, Heatilator® and Quadra-Fire® brand direct vent gas fireplaces feature a patented IPI system known as Intellifire®. This electric ignition system eliminates to keep the pilot light always lit to use the fireplace. The IPI system automatically turns on the pilot when the homeowner turns on the fireplace. An IPI system can reduce as much as half the gas used by a fireplace, over nine million Btu per year, by turning on and off the pilot light.

Heat & Glo, Heatilator and Quadra-Fire also offer Heat-Zone™ technology to further reduce heating costs. Different from zone heating, Heat-Zone allows homeowners to disperse heat from the fireplace up to two other rooms in their home. With a Heat-Zone option turned on, the fireplace directs heat to another location through flexible ducting that’s finished off with a standard floor grate. A fan system draws the air from around the firebox and pushes it into an area where warmth is more desirable at the time. It’s the perfect answer for those wanting a flexible heat source for more than one room without maintaining a higher setting on their furnace.

Another heat enhancing feature available only on Heat & Glo, Heatilator and Quadra-Fire brand gas fireplaces and fireplace inserts is Firebrick™ technology. FireBrick is a patented technology that replaces the fireplace’s metal firebox with a molded ceramic material. This creates a seamless firebox that generates up to 15 percent more radiant heat than its metal counterparts. Instead of losing heat due to convection through the sides and back of a metal firebox, Firebrick technology directs the additional heat into the room. In fact, Firebrick fireboxes generate so much radiant heat they don’t require a fan to disperse heat into the room.

Some new direct vent gas fireplaces are even programmable enabling a homeowner to program the unit to light or shut off at anytime. For example, the Heat & Glo Soulstice™ direct vent gas fireplace is a stylish fireplace that’s ideal for intimate spaces such as the master suite. It comes standard with a sleep timer so homeowners can fall to sleep to the warmth and beauty of a fire or wake up to one. As a result, homeowners can limit their furnace use earlier in the evening and delay its use in the morning.

Homeowners concerned about reducing their heating bill can look to gas fireplaces as a viable solution. By using the appliances properly and employing the latest technology available, they can obtain a functional supplemental heat source while also reaping the lifestyle benefits that come from spending time in front of the hearth.

Hearth & Home Technologies is the world’s largest fireplace manufacturer and a leading provider of hearth products for the home. The Hearth & Home Technologies family includes Heat & Glo™, Heatilator® and Quadra-Fire® brand hearth products and Fireside Hearth & Home™ brand hearth retail stores. More information on Hearth & Home Technologies can be found at

Source :

Tips for Getting Your Fireplace Ready

With cooler weather upon us, Fireside Hearth & Home, the nation’s largest hearth retailer, urges homeowners to get their fireplace ready for the heating season. By having a professional service the fireplace annually and taking a few proactive steps on their own, homeowners can ensure greater heating efficiency and safety, as well as prolong the life of the unit.

Many homeowners mistakenly believe their fireplace does not require any maintenance. The fact is all fireplace types from wood to gas to electric should undergo annual maintenance. For example, gas fireplaces need the fan, pilots and burners checked each year. And wood fireplaces require an inspection and chimney cleaning to remove creosote, which can build up and cause chimney fires. Homeowners should also check the chimney or vent before the season’s first fire to see if birds or animals have built nests in it, or if leaves or other debris have accumulated. At a minimum, homeowners should also install a carbon-monoxide alarm in the same room as the fireplace and another one near the bedrooms.

Homeowners can handle much of the day-to-day maintenance; however, most tasks are better left to a professional. Here are some tips for getting the fireplace ready and keeping it in tip top shape this winter:

Woodburning fireplaces
  • Clean out the firebox at least every week when using the fireplace regularly, but leave an inch of ash in the bottom to act as insulation. NOTE: Never use a vacuum to clean out the firebox as coals can stay hot for several days after extinguishing a fire.
  • Before removing ash, open the damper so loose ash is drawn up the chimney rather than out into the room.
  • Remove all ash during the months the fireplace is not in use.
  • Burn only seasoned or hard wood in the fireplace. This will help minimize creosote buildup in the chimney. Burning small, controlled, hot fires rather than smoldering fires will also help keep creosote under control.

Gas fireplaces

  • Vacuum the firebox and heat exchanger regularly (only when the fireplace is cold, of course) to keep efficiency and air quality high.
  • Consult a professional to clean the pilot assembly, purge trapped air from the gas supply line, and then test-fire the fireplace.
  • Use only a soft brush to remove dust or spider webs from gas logs since they can be fragile. Make sure to position logs properly after cleaning to avoid sooting.
  • Use glass cleaner made especially for gas fireplaces to clean the glass front – never use oven cleaner or abrasives.

Electric fireplaces

  • Clean the firebox and control compartment with a brush and vacuum.
  • Never use glass cleaner to clean the back of the glass, use only mild soap and water.
  • emove dust particles from glass by simply buffing lightly with a clean, dry cloth.
  • Replace the light bulbs about every two to three years or when the flame and/or ember bed is dark on one side.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions or consult a professional on cleaning the heater system to extend the fan’s life.

Source :

Checklist : How to Select a Fireplace Insert

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) recommends considering the following information when selecting a fireplace insert:

TYPE: Fireplace inserts are distinguished by fuel. There are six different types: natural gas, propane, electric, EPA-certified wood, pellet and coal.

SIZE: There are many sizes of fireplace inserts, from small to extremely large. The key factor in selecting the size is based on the opening of the existing fireplace. To determine the right size, measure the following: opening height; opening width; opening depth (top and bottom); rear width and the depth of the hearth (area in front of fireplace).

LOCATION: A fireplace insert needs to be placed in an existing masonry or factory-built fireplace with a working chimney.

VENTING: Fireplace inserts are either vented naturally through a working chimney, direct vented or vent-free, depending on fuel choice. In most cases, a chimney liner is required. The type and size of the liner is specific to the fuel.

FEATURES: Fireplace inserts are made from steel or cast iron and may also have optional fans to better distribute heat into a room, as well as wall thermostatic, or remote controls, to help regulate the fire automatically.

STYLE: The style of fireplace inserts varies among fuel types. But, no matter what the fuel type, all fireplace inserts come in a variety of colors, finishes and designs, from modern to traditional.

INSTALLATION: To ensure the safe and reliable installation of a fireplace insert, the HPBA recommends that people use a specialty retailer and a certified professional installer. In addition to assessing the construction of a house, the professional will obtain the necessary building permits and make sure that the installation meets all local and state codes. He or she will also ensure that the insert is as airtight as possible, using approved fireplace insulating materials, to make the fire easier to control and increase the heat output. In the case of gas, the professional installer will carefully adjust the fireplace to ensure the proper appearance of the flame.

MAINTENANCE: The level of maintenance required for fireplace inserts depends on the chosen fuel type. A fireplace insert generally needs to be removed when the appliance is being maintained. But, no matter what type of fireplace insert is selected, the HPBA suggests that the chimney be inspected on an annual basis by a chimney sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

AVERAGE COST: The price of the unit itself is only part of the total cost of owning a fireplace insert. Other requirements include installation, delivery, annual fuel costs and annual maintenance.

Source :