GAS Fireplace Recommendation

art_sJanuary 3, 2008


I am new to this site and forum and have found many, many helpful hints on this site over the past few weeks. I am hoping to get some much needed advice on a gas fireplace.

My DW and I are in the process of rebuilding a house that was destroyed by a fire. We had a wood burning FP in that house and after the house burned down, the smell of burning wood has lost its charm on both of us.

We are in the process of selecting a gas FP and have no idea what to look for. We spent some time in a showroom and were more confused afterwards than before. Choice such as non-vented and direct vented, style etc. are all getting very complicated. Which brand to choose and which venting style are uppermost in our minds. Why would we vent rather than not? What product delivers the best bang for our buck?

Please, please help!!

Happy New Year and many thanks.

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I'm sorry to learn of you loss by fire. That must have been aweful. Asn I'm glad to see you're moving ahead.

We just had a direct vent gas insert installed into our prefab wood burning FP, and are very pleased. After researching this issue in detail, in Consumer Reports and elsewhere, we decided that direct vent is the way to go. The firebox is a sealed system that does not affect indoor air quality because it has 2 vents that go up the chimney, one to exhaust the fumes and the other to bring fresh air into the fire box to feed the combustion. So you do not bring fumes into your house and do not deplete you indoors of oxygen. The direct vent is the only system considered safe enough to allow in a sleeping room by our local building codes and, I believe, by many others as well.

Since you are building a fireplace from scratch, not installing an insert like we did, you have a bit more flexibility. There are many brands out there. We went with Jotul for our insert, a highly respected Norwegian company that has been in the business for a long time. Their products are of the highest quality, are built in Norway and assembled in the US. Like most older companies in this business, they started out in the wood-burning business and that may still be their main emphasis. But they have aggressively entered the gas business with top quality products that match the reputation they earned earlier in wood. I would check out their website (just Google "Jotul gas fireplace") and look around. Check other brands. Have fun.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 11:33AM
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I too am sorry to hear of your fire. I used to live with a wood burning stove and just got tired of the work, the smell, and the dirt. I now have a gas burning insert in an old fireplace that once had a chimney fire. The gas insert is a much safer alternative to open fireplace and burns with no fumes. Mine is a Jotul Series 8 from about 10 years ago. It works very well. My understanding of new installations, though, is that you sacrifice air quality with a nonvented gas stove, and that direct venting, although more expensive, is far preferable for good air quality in the room.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 6:12PM
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I built a house in 1999 and have a gas fireplace in the master bath. Code at that time was no non-vented gas fireplaces in baths or bedrooms. Non-vented can be used in living areas, but just like the other posters said above, you sacrifice air quality because the combustion is not vented. I can see using a non vented fireplace on an interior wall when used as a decorative element, but if you have the ability to vent it and you will be using it a lot, I would think that vented would be something you might consider.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 10:47AM
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Thank you for all the information. The house that was destroyed was not our permanent residence, fortunately and we were not there when it happened. No one was injured so we feel very fortunate.

I have decided to go with a direct vent unit. I know the Jotul brand well. In my fulltime home we have a Jotul wood stove inserted into a stone fireplace. It has been here from the time we built the house in '84. It has served us very well. I am a bit concerned about the price of the Jotul line and will have to sharpen my pencil when I get around to that decision.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

Thanks also to senecastren and green_zeus for your responses.


    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 1:17PM
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