Last Updated on by Jay Green
As recently as a few short years ago, only a limited selection of Gas Stoves and Fireplaces were available. Now literally hundreds of sizes and sizes are made, and there is something to fit every decor and budget.
Gas Stoves and Fireplaces are designed to look like their wood burning counterparts, and modern design advancements have created simulated logs and flames that can’t be distinguished from the real thing!
Gas Fireplaces are not only pretty to look at – they can also provide an increased sense of heating security since they don’t need electricity to operate. You might not have to abandon your home the next time the power goes out during a winter storm.
- Top Vented – These units need a chimney or vent exiting the roof
- Direct Vented– Can be vented straight out through the wall
- Ventless– Need no Vent or Chimney
Top Vented Gas Fireplaces and Stoves are designed to vent through the roof, similar to the way woodstoves and wood fireplaces do. This chimney can be an existing masonry or metal chimney, or a newly installed B-Vent (special aluminum gas pipe).
Most units require a 4″ or 5″ diameter piping to properly vent the leftover combustion products. When installing one of these units into an existing chimney, the chimney should be downsized by lining it with an approved flexible connector equal in size to the exhaust pipe of the appliance.
Many different finishes, including marble, brick, and mantels can be installed to dress up the installation. Remote controls, wall thermostats, blowers, and wall switches are just some of the popular options.
Top vented units are a popular choice in new construction, single story homes and as a retrofit into existing chimneys. For two story or more difficult installations, a direct vent or ventless may serve you better (see below).
Top Vented Fireplaces sell for $600 to $2500 – Installation prices will vary due to the many venting and decoration options.
Direct Vented Fireplaces and stoves offer a convenient option – No chimney is needed – just a hole through the wall behind or right above the appliance. This gives quite a bit of installation flexibility, such as locating the unit below a big picture window.
This direct vent pipe is really two pipes, one inside the other. The outer wall sucks in air from outside to be used in burning the Gas. The inner pipe then returns the flue gases back outside. This “sealed” system is very safe and efficient because no air from inside the home is being used for combustion.
Direct-Vent Side View
As with the Top Vented units, the installation finishes and options are many.
Direct Vent Fireplaces and Stoves sell for $1000 to $2500, including the venting pipe. Installation can run $600 for the basic Gas Hookup and Venting – plus the cost of Hearth, Mantels and finish work.
Ventless Stoves and Fireplaces have become very popular in the last few years. No chimney or vent is needed with these appliances, so the installation costs are minimal. The units are “zero clearance” (right against a wall) or close clearance (a few inches away) allowing great flexibility in the placement.
These Ventless Products pass all current safety and emission standards. They are equipped with an ODS (oxygen depletion sensor) pilot light system that has been almost flawless in its safety record, even with millions of these appliances installed.
Still, some states, such as California, Mass., and others do not allow the use of ventless products. Many hearth experts and even some of the Ventless manufacturers state that these units are for occasional, attended and supplementary use. Being an open fire (no glass), it is probably prudent to use your Ventless Fireplace only when you are in the room with it.
Ventless Stoves operate at 99% efficiency and are available in sizes from 10,000 to 40,000 BTU/Hr output. Prices start at $400 and run up to $1500, with the finish (marble, mantels, etc) adding to the installed cost.