What Type of Gas Fire Is Right for You?

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What Type of Gas Fire Is Right for You?

The first successful gas fire as we know it was made by Leoni in 1882. It had a back made from firebrick embedded with asbestos tufts and used a Bunsen burner to produce a hot, bright (and noisy) flame. The use of ‘neat’ flames, which were just as hot, but a lot quieter, did not come into use until the 1930s. It was not until 1925 that gas fires recognisable to us were introduced with columnar fireclay radiants to push the heat into the room rather than allowing it to escape up the chimney.These radiants were not as effective as they sound, but for seventy-three years they continued to be used. Eventually convector fires were invented, forcing the heated air through a heat exchanger before allowing it to escape up the chimney. The exchanger would then circulate the heat out of the top of the fire and around the room, warming it faster. Despite the changes in appearance and style, nearly all gas fires are now convector fires.

Styles of Gas Fire

There are various styles of gas fire available depending on factors such as appearance, room size, room style and the type of chimney in the room.

Gas Fires Requiring a Chimney

Contemporary

This style of fire particularly suits modern houses and rooms. They come in several colours and shapes and can be either inset into an open chimney breast, hung on a wall, or put into a ‘hole-in-the-wall’ in the chimney. Finishes include chrome, antique effect, and stone, and the grates can be decorated with replica logs, coal or pebbles for added visual interest.

Suitable for most chimneys, including brick-built and prefabricated

Convection heating

Traditional

Traditional gas fires are designed to complement period and classically-designed rooms and homes. Most will fit into the standard inset hole of 22” by 16”. They commonly have black or brass finishes with magnetic trims, allowing owners to change their appearance simply by removing and replacing the trims. Some traditional fires have one-piece cast iron fascias which particularly suit black or dark mantelpiece interiors.

Suitable for most chimney types

Convection heating

Wall-mounted

These fireplaces can literally be hung on a chimney wall without the need for a hearth. These are great space savers for smaller rooms and properties, simultaneously providing heat and visual interest.

Most chimney types

Convection heating

Outset gas fires

These are traditionally styled and can be set onto a hearth or wall-hung against the chimney. They often come with wood casings which can be coordinated to match the style of furniture already within the room. Outset gas fires have impressive heat output and many have high level switches, particularly popular with the elderly.

Most chimney types

Convection heating and radiant heat

Glass-fronted gas fires

These are modern in appearance. They come as both inset fires and hole in the wall fires and with varying fuel beds. The glass fronts become extremely hot during use and appropriate care should be taken. Fire guards and fire screens would be particularly useful in properties with pets or small children.

Most chimney types

Convection heating

Gas Fires Which Don’t Require a Chimney

Balanced flue gas fires

These fires are glass-fronted and available in both outset, traditional styles and inset, modern styles. These fires vent directly through an external wall using a coaxial pipe, which is one pipe inside another. Air is drawn in through the outer pipe and the gases are expelled through the inner pipe. Balanced flue gas fires do not require electricity to run.

No chimney

Convection heating

Powerflue and fan flue gas fires

Available as both inset fires and outset fires, powerflue fires do not need a glass front. The flue gases are vented through an external wall by means of an electrically-driven fan. Consequently they require an electricity supply.

No chimney

Convection heatin

Choosing a Gas Fire to Suit Your Home

When deciding to purchase a new gas fire, take account of the space in which it is to be set and the function it will serve. New build houses with efficient cavity wall insulation and central heating may not require a gas fire as the main heat source in a room and, therefore, the fire may serve more of a visual function than a practical heating function.Purchasers should take into account the size of the room and the amount of space a gas fire is likely to take up when deciding between wall-mounted, inset and outset fires.A room with modern furnishings and bright colours will be complemented by a modern hole in the wall fireplace with chrome finishing rather than a traditional cast iron outset fireplace needing a hearth. Conversely, an exposed-timber cottage or farmhouse would benefit from a traditional gas fire stove or outset black-trimmed gas fire.A house full of small children will need the room provided by an inset fireplace, but beware of purchasing one with a glass front unless it comes equipped with a fire guard or screen, which would then eliminate some of the space saved.Care should also be taken with the style of mantelpiece surrounding the new fire. Traditional Edwardian mantelpieces will not suit – or even fit – a wall-mounted modern fireplace.

The Gas-Fired Stove

There is something about a black stove with a long chimney pipe disappearing up and out of a wall that is classic and very English. These gas fires are free-standing and usually come in cast iron or coloured enamel. Some can use natural or propane gas and most are suitable for most chimney types. They can vary from medium to high output dependent upon their necessity as the primary room heater.Gas-fired stoves are particularly suited to traditional houses and larger rooms which have enough space to allow the stove room to be the focal point. They sit particularly well against stone or river-stone walls with natural wood or reclaimed timber mantel-shelves over.

The Glass-Fronted Gas Fire

These fires are growing in popularity due to their innovative ‘green’ credentials. The glass front radiates the heat even as the air is convected into the room so that the twin heating approaches offer a much higher fuel efficiency, making them ecologically friendly and helping reduce gas bills.These fires are ideal for the modern eco-friendly household and come in a range of styles and colours to suit every room.As already mentioned, the glass fronts become very hot during use and the appropriate care should be taken. The glass can be removed easily and should be cleaned annually in order to show the fire off to its best advantage.

The Wall-Mounted Gas Fire

These gas fires are quickly growing in popularity in modern homes, and are now a staple feature of many new build properties. Slimline and sleek, with living flame effect and variable fuel beds, wall-hung fires are the epitome of modern chic.Some are flueless and can be hung on any external wall, while others vent directly into the chimney breast.They generally come in chrome or black glass and often feature open fuel beds for added realism. If considering a wall-hung gas fire, over mantels can detract from the modern sleekness of the design. Instead, consider a low shelf underneath the fireplace. This not only highlights the fire’s position ‘floating’ on the wall, but a complementary glass shelf below a glass fireplace can enhance the space as a focal point of the room.

The Traditional Gas Fire

Despite the craze for the modern fireplace, something must be said for the traditional gas fire. They are still sleek and well-made, but there is often a comforting ambience to a room where a living flame fire sits upon a traditional hearth within a period mantelpiece.Traditional gas fires complement rooms that are comfortable and lived-in, that are tastefully decorated with period touches. They look best set within a wooden mantelpiece and surround, perhaps with some Edwardian tiles framing the fire itself.

Find Gas Fires on eBay

All types of gas fire and gas fire accessories can be found on eBay. Head to the homepage and then select Home, Furniture & DIY from the All Categories drop down list. On the left hand side of the page, select Living Room from the Room list and then filter the search by either Fireplaces & Accessories or Heating/Cooling/Air. Or simply type in a more specific search into the top search bar.

Conclusion

Fireplaces were, and still are, an integral part of a room and a gathering place for families. Choosing the right gas fire to complement a room and enhance a property as a whole is important and will impact on a house's saleability. A smart choice will bring years of warmth and style to a property and be a focal point to discuss with visitors and potential buyers.

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