Installing a Gas Fireplace

Old 11-12-02, 09:58 PM
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Question Installing a Gas Fireplace

We want to purchase a gas fireplace as our wood fireplace just blows the heat up the chimney.
What are some of the things we should be researching, i.e output efficiency, safety, cost, venting etc.
Old 11-17-02, 10:27 PM
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FAQs about Gas Fireplaces

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use an existing chimney?
A free-standing gas stove can use the existing chimney but it must be relined with a listed aluminum chimney liner. Direct-vent free-standing gas stoves can be vented vertically, using an existing chimney as long as the direct-vent pipe system fits through the existing damper and flue, and as long as the pipes extend to the top of the flue.

When should I consider a Gas Fireplace insert?
A Gas Fireplace insert is needed for converting from a wood-burning fireplace to a Gas Fireplace. If you are looking for a unit to provide supplemental heating, as well as the beauty of a flickering fire with the flick of a switch or the turn of a thermostat with no mess or fuss, then an insert is the answer.

Can Inserts by installed into factory-built fireplaces, or just masonry fireplaces?
Both. A Gas Fireplace insert can be installed in an existing masonry fireplace or in a factory-built metal fireplace.

Am I limited to a certain size of Gas Fireplace insert?
Yes. There are two sizes available in natural vent models. The dimensions of the existing fireplace to be converted must be considered to make sure a specific insert will fit. The Btu output should also be considered when selecting a Gas Fireplace insert.

If I am not going to use an existing masonry fireplace, where else can a Gas Fireplace insert be installed?
A roughed in frame can be built around a zero clearance kit and the respective Gas Fireplace insert inserted into this kit. This kit will allow the framing and insert to have minimum clearances to combustibles for the top and sides of the insert.

Do I need insulation around the Gas Fireplace insert?
No. The inserts are designed to have adequate space on the sides for air exchange. Correct measurement of the existing masonry fireplace is important. The insert should never be forced into a space that is too small.

Can I vent the Gas Fireplace insert into an existing chimney?
Yes. Gas inserts are available in natural vent and direct vent units. The existing masonry clay liner or the factory-built chimney would have to be relined with a listed flexible aluminum liner or B-Vent pipe to assure a good updraft for the chimney to exhaust flue gases. Gas inserts have either a 4" or 3" flue outlet depending on the insert model. Your dealer will be able to assist and advise you which insert and vent application is required. Venting requirements differ for direct vent inserts.

Can I hook up a Gas Fireplace to a wall thermostat or use a remote control?
Yes. Most millivolt powered Gas Fireplaces are available in models that can include a wall-mounted millivolt thermostat or a remote control.

What is the advantage to a "Direct Vent" Fireplace?
A Direct Vent Gas Fireplace or Insert is the best hearth choice when it comes to protecting the air inside your home that your family and friends breathe. A Direct Vent design hearth product is engineered to include a sealed glass front that keeps gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide and excess moisture from entering your home. This glass front provides you with a full, clear view of a beautiful fire. This design uses air from outside your home to fuel the gas fire rather than pulling air from inside.

Are Gas Fireplaces safe?
Yes. All Gas Fireplaces are equipped with safety features such as a 100% fail-safe shut-off valve. If the pilot flame goes out, the gas flow will automatically turn off. In addition, all models must meet strict safety certification requirements.

How do I clean my fireplace glass?
It is recommended that fireplace glass cleaners be used. Using a glass cleaner not recommended for fireplace glass could cause "rainbowing" of the glass. Do not use harsh chemicals (Windex), oven cleaners or scouring powders as these can scratch and damage the glass. For the correct type of fireplace glass cleaner visit your local hearth specialty retailers.

How often should I have my fireplace serviced or inspected?
Service your fireplace annually. Vacuum out fireplace cavities and heat exchange area annually to improve the heating efficiency and air quality.

How often do I have to clean the Gas Fireplace and vent?
Although the frequency of your fireplace servicing and maintenance will depend on use and the type of installation, you should have a qualified service technician perform an appliance check-up at the beginning of each heating season.

What fuels are available to operate my fireplace?
All Gas Fireplaces are equipped to burn either Natural Gas or Liquid Propane. When you order a fireplace, you and your hearth retailer must determine which fuel you will need. If, after the fireplace is installed, you want to convert from one fuel to the other, this can be easily done (for most models) using a conversion kit. Your local hearth retailer can tell you whether your fireplace can be converted. Some models are approved for use with Natural Gas only.

Do I need a permit to have a fireplace installed?
Check with your local heath retailer to ensure that any necessary permits that may be required by your local enforcing authority are obtained.

Is "Direct Vent" the same thing as "vent free"?
No. Direct Vent Fireplaces use a sealed glass front to completely isolate combustion gasses and moisture from your home. This is especially important in new construction homes that are built very tightly. Vent free or unvented fireplaces are not approved for use in Canada.

Does a Direct Vent need to be on an outside wall?
No, with today's venting options, hearth products can be installed very economically almost anywhere in the home.

Will a fan increase the heat output of a Gas Fireplace?
Yes, aside from the fact that fireplaces radiate heat from their fronts, there is still heat that can be withdrawn from the parts of the fireplace body that are closed in behind the wall. While there is an air channel that allows airflow around the firebox, allowing it to absorb the heat via conduction, this channel is somewhat restrictive by its size. Using a fan increases the airflow through this channel, thereby maximizing the heat being conducted from the back and sides of the fireplace.

Can a fan be added to my Gas Fireplace?
Fans are optional on most heat circulating (grilles on top and bottom of fireplace) units, and on some hearth products the fan is standard. Adding a fan is easily accomplished if power (110v AC) was provided to the electrical junction box of the fireplace at the time of initial installation. If power was not provided, a fan option is still possible, but installation is complicated and therefore more costly. Contact your local hearth retailer to determine if your particular fireplace model and installation will accept an optional fan.

Who would install the gas line?
A licensed gas fitter is required to install your gas line. Check the yellow pages or contact your nearest hearth retailer for a recommendation.

Consumer Information About Gas Fireplaces. Copyright 2002 Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada
Last Update: October 17, 2002

Check with your local building inspector regarding permits. Some will not issue a permit unless fireplace is installed by qualified, licensed installer.

You should have your chimney cleaned and inspected. Go to to locate a Certified Chimney Specialist in your area.

Remember gas fireplace manufacturers recommend annual inspection and servicing.

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