Should I Buy a Gas or Electric Fire?

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Should I Buy a Gas or Electric Fire?

A well-made, contemporary gas or electric fire can become a stylish focal point in any room. They provide a source of high speed heat and are extremely user friendly. Using a gas or electric fire means only one room is heated, rather than centrally heating the entire house. The range of designs, encompassing traditional right through to modern, is wide enough that each buyer will find a fire to suit their needs and taste. Use the search tools available on eBay to consider the various brands available, then research particular fires, to make the right choice.

About Gas and Electric Fires

Gas and electric fires have been in domestic use since the early 1900s. They both work by transforming energy into heat, with very little noise or by-products. Electric fires initially used wire-wound bars or large bulbs to emit heat, some even included a flat area to heat a kettle, on top of the device. Historically, gas was used for lighting, but the advent of electric lighting compelled gas suppliers and industrial manufacturers to evolve. They needed to find a new way of marketing their product to the public. At the same time, more affluent homeowners had begun to tire of maintaining coal fires, they wished to keep their living space warm with minimal fuss. The gas fire was introduced as a cleaner, odourless, more efficient alternative. Since these humble beginnings, both gas and electric fires have progressed rapidly. They became a staple source of heat in many homes during the mid to late 20th century. Modern gas and electric fires are cost efficient, environmentally friendly and make an attractive addition to any home. Although both will perform to a high standard, the differing characteristics of each will mean that either a gas fire or an electric fire, may be better suited to individual homes and personal tastes.

Choosing a Gas Fire

Gas fires can add character to a room, providing the cosy effect of a flickering coal fire without the mess. A gas fire uses a living flame, which is far more realistic than a flame effect facade. They also have a reputation for being warmer and the unit will run more quietly than its electric counterpart, as it does not have a fan. Moreover, in the event of a power cut or a boiler breakdown, a gas fire will continue to function normally. A gas fire will need to be installed by a Corgi registered gas engineer and in addition a yearly service is needed, to ensure they are running safely and efficiently. However, it is no longer true that a chimney is needed in order to have a gas fire in the home. Flueless gas fires are a tested and safe alternative to a chimney. Instead of running upwards like a conventional chimney, a vent cut into an exterior wall funnels the combusted gases out of the house into the open air.

Types of Gas Fire Available

Gas fires are available in a range of specifications, here is a table examining the most popular designs.

Wall Mounted

A space saving option and available in an array of modern designs.


Combusted gases are drawn through a vent in an exterior wall, to the open air. The obvious choice if the house has no chimney.

Glass Fronted

Glass fronted fires have a higher efficiency rating, a sheet of glass covers the flame, however it will get hot.


Contemporary fires maybe more suited to the interior of a new build house. They come in a range of finishes. They often include a fuel bed, made up of heat resistant fuel effect pebbles or logs for example.


Traditional fires fit with period properties, cast iron and brass effects are popular finishes. Attention to detailing is most apparent around the grate, which can be very ornate.

Choosing an Electric Fire

Using the appropriate fittings, electric fires can be hung on almost any wall space, in much the same way as a flat screen television is positioned. Electric fires can also be inset, either into an existing fire place, or into a flat wall using a frame. Appliances come with a fitted plug to go directly into the mains. It is the ease of installing an electric fire that makes them a favourable option, as aside from during installation, the only equipment required is a plug socket. Electric fires have a flame effect option that can be switch on independently of the heating element. When used, it adds an ambient and warming glow to the room. The glass front panel which displays the mock flame is cool to the touch, making this a safer option for homes with children and pets. The controls are kept minimal and straight forward; they are generally positioned high on the fire so as to be more accessible. From an environmental perspective, electric fires are marginally more carbon neutral because a proportion of the power used will be from wind farms and other renewable sources.

Types of Electric Fire Available

Electric fires are designed with a range of finishes and functionality, here is a table looking at the most popular models.

Mantle Package

A fire and mantle are supplied together, in a coordinated package. Expect clean lined and stylish designs for modern living spaces.

Wall Mounted

These attractive fires can be placed on virtually any wall and moved with a minimum of fuss. They are often called ‘plasma fires’, a reference to their similarity to flat screen TVs.

Free Standing

These mobile fires require just a plug socket to begin heating. They can be moved around to suit the needs of the household.


Built in electric fires are inserted into either an existing alcove or a specially created space, becoming part of the room.

Electric Fire Safety and Maintenance

To keep the electric fire in good condition and minimise risk, ensure the power socket is positioned to the side of the fire and never above. Do not cover an electric fire and never allow it to become damp. Do not leave it switched on overnight. Keep it free from house dust by vacuuming around and underneath it regularly. Then wipe the front piece with a lint free cloth to avoid dust reaching the working parts. Electric fires are extremely safe to use, they are fitted with a cut out fuse as standard. This stops power to the heat and light element, should the circuit become over loaded. Do consult a qualified electrician if any concerns arise.

Gas Fire Safety and Maintenance

A gas fire needs to be serviced annually by a Corgi registered gas engineer, in order to ensure it is functioning correctly and is safe. If there are children or animals in the house, consider investing in a fire guard, the glass window on the front of gas fires becomes very hot. Always switch the fire out or off before going to bed for the night. Professionally installed and regularly serviced modern gas fires, present a very low risk of carbon monoxide leakage. However, if there are any concerns, a carbon monoxide alarm can be positioned in a room to warn of any leakage.

Finding a Gas Fire on eBay

To purchase a gas fire, navigate to the eBay homepage, then start the search by opening the All Categories section. Next select Home Furniture & DIY, followed by Fire Places & Accessories, next enter the term ‘gas fire’ in the search bar. Refine the results that are presented using the tools provided on the left hand side of the screen. If there is a specific product to search for, input the details into the search bar located in the top middle of any eBay page. For example, in order to find an unused flueless gas fire, use the search term ‘new flueless gas fire’ narrowing the search to just relevant items.

Finding an Electric Fire on eBay

To buy an electric fire, start from the eBay homepage and click on the All Categories tab. Next select Home Furniture & DIY, followed by Fire Places & Accessories and then enter the term ‘electric fire’ in the search bar. Again, refine these general results by using specific terms in the search field. For example, to locate a second hand wall mounted electric fire, type ‘used wall mounted electric fire’ into the search bar.


Both gas fires and electric fires are available in many designs and sizes. So with similar price tags and efficiency ratings, choosing between them may be difficult. As part of the decision making process, consider the installation, the size of the room which will host the fire, its purpose and the current decor. Next, visit eBay to research brands, sellers, and individual fires, to be sure of selecting the most appropriate product at the best price.

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