Gas fireplaces have become increasingly popular throughout the U.S. over the past few decades. Far from the unconvincing fake log products of the past, today’s gas fireplaces create a hearty-looking fire with glowing embers, tall yellow-orange flames, and ceramic-fiber logs molded to look just like natural wood.
In this article, we discuss the benefits and drawbacks of gas fireplaces, how they work, and a few design ideas to spark your imagination. Learn more to find out whether a gas fireplace is right for you!
The Benefits of Gas Fireplaces
A gas fireplace provides all the benefits of a contained fire without the fuss of wood. There are many reasons why homeowners today often choose to install a gas fireplace:
- You don’t have to chop, buy, or season wood.
- The fire doesn’t need any tending and can be adjusted with a remote control.
- There are no ashes.
- You can avoid smoky smells, which may not always be pleasant in a contained space.
- There’s no chimney, which means more flexibility on where you can put your fireplace and no chimney cleaning.
- You can use some types of gas fireplaces as a backup heat source if your power goes out.
- Gas fireplaces can be more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly than wood-burning fireplaces.
The main drawback of choosing gas is that you will need to have or build a gas line wherever you install your fireplace. This project aspect can add to the installation cost, although generally not as much as adding a chimney.
How Gas Fireplaces Work
Gas fireplaces work much like any other gas appliance in your home. You can use an external control such as a remote or wall thermostat to adjust the heat output, flame size, and other features of your fire.
Gas fireplaces do not produce smoke, but they do emit gases such as carbon monoxide and sulfur oxide. Different types of fireplaces will send these emissions outside in different ways. When choosing a gas fireplace, be sure to talk to the contractor about which model makes the most sense for your home and design intentions.
Types of Gas Fireplaces
Direct vent gas fireplaces are generally considered to be the safest and most efficient venting method. They use a two-pipe venting system in which one pipe brings in fresh air for combustion and the other pushes the combustion fumes outside. These pipes can go either straight through an opening in an exterior wall or up a flue.
B-vent gas fireplaces get their combustion air from the inside and have a single pipe to carry the fumes away. These fireplaces are less common and usually less efficient than direct vent fireplaces.
Ventless gas fireplaces have no flue and can be installed anywhere. They’re extremely efficient, but they also keep pollutants in the room and can lower your indoor air quality if used a lot. Today’s ventless gas fireplaces have been fine-tuned to burn extra cleanly, but they are still banned in some parts of the U.S.
Do you need a chimney?
You do not need a chimney for your gas fireplace. However, you may need a pipe for venting, depending on the type of gas fireplace.
Do gas fireplaces give off heat?
Yes, gas fireplaces can provide a great deal of heat, although it depends on the room size and how well insulated your home is. Heat outputs generally range from 7,000 to 60,000 BTUs, depending on the model you choose.
Where to Place a Gas Fireplace
You can install a gas fireplace anywhere as long as you can run a gas line to the firebox. Here are a few suggestions to give you some interior design inspiration:
Create a living room statement wall
Most homeowners imagine their fireplace on a wall in the living room, where families and friends can gather around and make memories. Your gas fireplace can be designed as a beautiful centerpiece and the focal point of your living room wall.
Cozy up the bedroom with a gas fireplace
There’s nothing more romantic than a fireplace, making it the perfect addition to your bedroom. Best of all, you can use a remote to adjust the flames and room temperature without even getting out of bed.
Warm up the basement with a direct-vent gas fireplace
While a wood-burning fireplace might smoke up your basement due to poor draft, you don’t have to worry about that with a direct-vent gas fireplace. Many homeowners enjoy finishing off their basement home theater or rec room with a fireplace to complete their vision of a cozy, welcoming space.
Enjoy relaxing under the flames with a bathroom fireplace
You can put a gas fireplace just about anywhere, including on the wall above your gorgeous freestanding tub. It might sound odd at first, but just picture yourself enjoying a glass of wine in the tub beneath crackling flames, and you’ll see why bathroom fireplaces are increasingly popular in high-end homes.
Make your home office feel luxurious with a gas fireplace
Nothing says luxury like a beautiful home office with a fireplace. Imagine how much happier and more comfortable you’ll feel at work when you’re sitting next to warm, flickering flames with a stunning mantel and surround — not to mention the Zoom background potential.
Double-sided units to enjoy flames in multiple rooms
Fireplaces don’t always have to be in a single room or on an exterior wall. With the right gas fireplace unit, you can enjoy the flames from two adjacent rooms by designing a double-sided fireplace for the wall in between.
Reshape a room with a corner gas fireplace
You can create visual interest in any room by installing a corner gas fireplace, which adds new angles to the room’s overall shape. This design option works exceptionally well in small or tight spaces, but it can also free up space for artwork, entertainment units, bookshelves, and other furnishings in larger rooms.
Off-the-wall options: Freestanding gas fireplaces
Your gas fireplace doesn’t have to be attached to a wall. With the right firebox, you can design a freestanding gas fireplace that rests in the middle of a seating area, takes up its own majestic corner, or serves as a visual divider between spaces.
Gas Fireplace Design Considerations
There are thousands of possible gas fireplace designs, from midcentury modern to rustic traditional to cutting-edge contemporary. At Four Day Fireplace, we offer a variety of gas fireplace models that can be customized with any materials, colors, masonry options, mantel styles, and technology features you like.
The fireplace you buy will largely depend on your interior design vision. Not every gas fireplace will allow you to safely place a TV directly overhead, for example. Similarly, you will need a special type of gas fireplace if you want to use shiplap nearby, as the material is highly flammable.
Here are a few things to consider as you plan your fireplace project:
- What is your vision for the room as a whole? Your fireplace will be the centerpiece (or at least a significant feature) of the room, so the firebox and mantel should project your aesthetic vision and fit well with the wall colors and interior design style.
- If you intend to place any technology (such as a TV) or flammable materials near your fireplace, you may need a special gas fireplace model designed to make that safe.
- Gas fireplaces come with a variety of faux log and flame designs that can be as realistic (or not) as you like. You can choose a gas fireplace with “logs” that look like driftwood for a coastal aesthetic, use a colored glass or stone bed for a cutting-edge vibe, or choose a bark-covered forest log style for a more traditional appearance.
In 2021, linear fireplaces are becoming increasingly popular in all kinds of homes, from contemporary townhomes to aging ranch houses. These rectangular designs can be installed both indoors and outdoors and are versatile enough to suit just about any living room.
How Much Does it Cost to Put In a Gas Fireplace?
The cost of installing a gas fireplace can vary widely depending on the unit size, features, design options, and whether or not you already have a gas line in place. The fireplace itself will usually cost anywhere from several hundred dollars to several thousand, not including expenses for labor and running a gas line. A unique design with a large mantel, additional technology features right above the firebox, and the most high-end materials may run you up to $10,000 or more.
If you are curious as to how much your ideal fireplace project will cost, talk to a fireplace dealer and contractor to get an estimate.
Is a Gas Fireplace Worth It?
Recent innovations in gas fireplace technology allow you to enjoy the comfort of a warm, realistic, and non-electricity-dependent fire without the hassle of wood. With all of the different fireplace brands and models available today, you can make almost any design vision a reality with a gas fireplace.
Most gas fireplace owners love their fireplace, and any future home buyers are likely to appreciate the feature as well. A 2015 Realtor.com report ranked fireplaces as the #1 must-have home feature based on the language used in home listings, with gas fireplaces as the leading type of fireplace.
The Best Gas Fireplaces in 2021
The right gas fireplace for your home will ultimately depend on your vision. Different gas fireplaces not only provide different heat outputs and flame styles but are also made to work with different interior design features. If you have a specific vision, such as a see-through fireplace or a fireplace with a shelf straight across the top, you may need a more specialized model.
At Four Day Fireplace, we have one of the largest selections of fireplaces in Western Washington and can help you find out which fireplace will work best for your interior design. Reach out to us today if you are interested in exploring gas fireplaces for your home.