Remote choices for gas fp

californiagirlFebruary 11, 2010

I'm trying to summarize the gas fireplace bids and choices for my husband and realize that I don't understand the variations in remote and thermostat choices. What are the differences? What do these terms mean?

These terms come up:


programmable thermostat




Is some of this about whether you can use the fireplace in the event of an electrical outage?

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We have a remoted thermostat. It's battery operated. There's a battery in the remote control and one in the receiver which is located just below the firebox. It does not depend on house elctricity, and will work when there is a power outtage.

We like the remote because it gives us flexibility in location. We keep ours on the coffee table, about 8 feet from the fireplace. We came to that location after some trial and error when we first got the system.

Since the fireplace generates radiant heat, the area will around the fireplace will be warmer than, say, the area at the far end of the room. So you want the thermostat to respond to the heat that the system is generating. That's the advantage of the remote, because you can play around with it until you figure out the optimal location and the optimal temperature setting.

You will not get evenly distriubted heat throughout the room with a fireplace. You can distribute the heat to some extent by turning on the blower that most of them come with. We rarely use ours. They make too much noise at high speed, and are not that effective in distributing the warmed air at low speed. But a lot depends on your own individual conditions and preferances.

If even distribution of warm air is important to you, there is one thing you can do with a direct vent system that you cannot do with a traditional fireplace: You can use a ceiling fan that runs in the reverse direction from the summer direction. What that will do is gently make the air around the fan flow up toward the ceiling, and then it will flow around the room after it bounces off the ceiling. You can do that will a direct vent system because it is completely sealed from the interior of the house. You cannot do that with a traditional fireplace becuase the fan would work against the updraft up the chimney, and you would get smoke coming in the room.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 5:57PM
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Millivolt - You will have a continuious standing pilot light on at all times (during the summer if you don't turn it off). Think of it like a pilot light on a hot water heater.

Programmable Thermostat - Thermostats are pretty basic, when the demand hits a certian temp. it opens the current and the furnace or fireplace will come on. The programable ones you can set to come on at a specific time.

Hi/Lo - This gives you a high low flame adjustment on the fireplace. IMO, it's overated and seldom used. Hi / Lo feature is not available on B-Vent fireplaces.

On/Off - Can be a light switch or unit mounted or part of a remote control. You want the wall switch or basic on/ off style remote.

Wall-Mount - Wall switch - simple on/ off.

In terms of remote control features. The more options you have to more frustrated you are likely to be. For example if you purchase a remote control with a thermostat built into it and you forget to adjust the on/ off demand temperature setting, your fireplace is very likely to be coming off and on while you are at work. IMO. The basic "on off" remote is best.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 11:24PM
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I think a remote with a temperature thermostat control is very useful. If the unit is left on for too long it will definitely get too hot -- like a blast furnace, in my opinion. Unless you have an automatic thermostat you will be turning the thing on and off again and again. Most remotes with a temp control also give the option of a simple on-off switch. But we always use the temp control on our unit.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2010 at 4:53PM
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