The Natural Gas Advantage | Fireplace Inserts | Gas Logs | Code Issues
The realism and warmth provided by today's natural gas fireplaces have contributed to their increasing popularity with homeowners. They are now among the leading optional features in new homes. The industry sells over 1 million units each year and has experienced 30 percent sales increases for the past three years.
The convenience and safety of gas fireplaces make them good choice for any room in your home or apartment. Buying, splitting and storing wood, and hauling ashes has lost its appeal for many. Clean, convenient, cost-effective and easy-to-use natural gas ends the work and the mess of a fireplace.Because of growing concern for the environment in recent years, restrictions have been placed on wood-burning fireplaces and wood stoves in selected communities throughout the U.S. These restrictions ban wood-burning on days with poor air quality, limit sales of stoves or restrict installation of stoves and fireplaces in new construction. However, as consumers have become aware that gas-fired hearth products provide many of the same benefits as wood-burning productswith greater convenience, heating efficiency and benefit to the environment, sales of gas units have increased dramatically, even in areas of the country without wood-burning restrictions.
There's natural gas equipment to fit almost any room. Natural gas fireplaces are structurally similar to wood-buring fireplaces. They are complete units that include a ceramic log set contained in a combustion chamber with a glass front. Their venting system eliminates the need for a traditional masonry chimney.
Complete fireplace inserts can be retrofitted into existing wood-buring fireplaces. Usually they require no additions, such as glass doors, screens or other decorative accessories. They consist of a closed combustion chamber with ceramic logs and a glass front. A 3- or 4-inch liner is attached to the insert and run up the existing chimney and vented to the outside for efficient and safe operation. Inserts offer the same conveniences and safety features as complete gas fireplaces, with gas logs, warm air circulation, remote controls and other features. As with nearly all gas-fired appliances, most gas fireplaces and inserts undergo rigorous safety testing by American National Standards Institute before they are certified.
Many homeowners enjoy the peaceful charm of their wood-burning fireplace, but they don't enjoy the inconvenience of handling the wood and the clean-up. Numerous gas log options are now available for upgrading wood-burning fireplaces while maintaining the beauty and realism of a wood fire. Recently, sales of gas log sets have exceeded 700,000 units per year.
Simulated to look like real wood logs, natural gas logs are made of ceramic material and are mounted on a metal rack similar to those in wood-burning fireplaces. When burning, the logs resemble a stack of flaming wood, except they don't change position or disintegrate.
Gas logs are chosen most often when the homeowner is most concerned about aesthetics. If efficiency and heat are priorities, an insert is a better option.
Controls: Many of the same control options are available for operating gas logs as for gas fireplaces and inserts. Choices range from the basic manual gas valve to a piezo ignitor safety system that requires neither matches nor electricity. Other gas log models use wall switches or remote controls for ON/OFF operation.
Gas-fired hearth products sold and used in the U.S. are covered by a variety of certification standards, building codes and local requirements. Some states, including Minnesota, prohibit the sale or use of unvented fuel-burning heaters, so be sure to check the codes in your area before purchasing a gas fireplace.
Call your local natural gas utility company or the Minnesota Blue Flame
Gas Association at (763) 424-1841.
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