Shopping for gas fireplaces... tips?

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Old 09-15-08, 08:03 AM
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Shopping for gas fireplaces... tips?

My wife and I want to purchase gas firelace inserts for our home.

The first one will be put in our living room. The primary reason will be for ambiance. Heating is the room is fine but I am concerned to find a unit that is variable enough BTU-wise so as not to roast us out.

The second unit will go in our family room in the basement. It is colder down there so ambiance and to a lesser extent heating are the concerns.

Are there pros and cons to fan forced vs. radiant?

Options worth getting, options best to stay away from?

Brands. Which are better?

Logs. Type best to get?

I know a lot of this is relative but I wanted to get some opinions. Our house although built in the early 60s, is tight and draft-free with new doors, insulation and triple pane windows (6" thick frames).

We plan on having them professionally installed amd plumbed. Anything to watch out for here?

Thanks.
 
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Old 09-15-08, 08:34 PM
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I replaced a set last year. They were begining to have problems, mainly with the pilot. I could have fixed the problem but I hated the logs. They were of the older type that had blue flames. True enough, their carbon monoxide emission was very low but fire should be yellow and orange. I think they are 8000-24000 BTU. On low with a ceiling fan running most of the house is very comfortable. Central heat never comes on while the logs are burning.

Gas appliances are required to meet federal safety standards. I don't think you can go wrong with any sold at the major retailers. You mentioned ambiance. I suggest manual logs for the upstairs room. My old set was thermostat controlled and the off/on cycle drove me nuts. To me that defeats one of the purposes of the logs. If the heat is distributed your room should not get too warm. As to types, there are vented and vent-free. You should be able to install either. The vent-free is very efficient. With your damper closed all the heat stays in along with the moisture from the gas. You didn't say if you had natural gas or LP. I have no experience with LP, sorry. Whatever you decide on, a carbon monoxide detector in each room is a must.
 
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Old 09-16-08, 05:39 AM
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A ceiling fan was suggested but we do not plan on one in either room. Since heat is not a major concern, I would imagine a simple on/off would be all we would need.
We have natural gas, currently firing both a furnace and hot water tank.
We plan on going with a vented gas fireplace and plan to go toa few showrooms but thought I would arm myself with a few opinions first.
 
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Old 09-16-08, 04:40 PM
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Peterson makes some very good looking vented logsets. I prefer to install the Charred series. Having serviced several thousand gas logs, I have seen a few. There may also be others that look as good as Peterson, but that is mainly what is sold in my area.

Vented gas logs are very realistic looking, but you lose most of their heat as well as your alread heated household air up the chimney. Vented logs are only about 15% efficient. Since you are in a cold area of the country, check into direct-vent fireplace inserts. There are some out there that look pretty nice and have efficiencies aproaching that of newer gas furnaces. Heat-N-Glo has some good looking and well built direct-vent gas fireplaces.
 
 

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