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Gas fireplaces

A gas fireplace is a feature that is meant to be installed in a wood framed enclosure and often is designed to resemble wood burning fireplace. It consists of a sealed firebox with gas burner covered with a set of wood look-a-like logs or coals and fake ash. It can be fueled by natural gas or propane. The heat output of gas fireplaces typically ranges from 20,000 to 70,000 BTUs. There are vent-free fireplaces (no venting system required) or vented ones that require special vent (B-vent or direct vent) Gas fireplace can be controlled with a thermostat and/or remote control.

Pellet Stoves / Inserts

A pellet stove is a feature that is specifically designed to burn pellets - a biofuel made from saw dust or corn. Pellet stoves can be free-standing or insert type units that are meant to be installed in masonry fireplaces. They can be vented with chimneys or special vents called pellet vents which may give the homeowner certain flexibility to where to install the unit, however because the stove create positive pressure on the exhaust the venting system must be sealed to prevent potential leak of fumes. Typical heat output of a pellet stove ranges from 30,000 to 70,000 BTUs, and can be regulated manually by setting the stove’s controls or automatically with help of a low voltage thermostat. Pellet stoves require electricity to run.

Gas Inserts

A gas insert is a stove designed to be installed in the firebox of wood burning fireplace. The unit will usually have fake firewood logs, coals or some modern design of the firebox enclosed behind fixed glass doors, and is often equipped with convection fan for more efficient heat distribution. In most cases the insert will require designated flue lining installed in the fireplace venting system to vent the fumes, or two liners (direct vent): one for exhaust and the second to bring combustion air from outside.

Electric Fireplaces/Stoves

An electric fireplace is an electric heater that mimics a fireplace burning coal, wood, or natural gas. Electric fireplaces are individual devices that can be free standing, hanged on the wall, or placed in conventional fireplaces, which can then no longer be used for conventional fires. They plug into the wall electrical outlet, and can run on a "flame only" setting, or can be used as a heater, typically consuming 1.4-1.6 kW that can heat a 400 sq ft (37 m2) room.

Gas Stoves

Gas stoves are usually free standing units fueled by natural gas or propane. They often have an appearance of a traditional wood or coal stove (artificial wood logs or coals enclosed behind glass door) or recently gaining more momentum a modern look (featuring fireboxes with pebbles, stones, etc.) Gas stoves can be categorized according to their venting system as vent less or vented and further the vented ones according to the type of venting system: direct vent or b-vent. Vent-less or vent free gas stoves are very efficient, since the combustion of gas is more complete, yielding only water on the exhaust, and there is no loss of heat to outside environment. However prolonged usage of the stove may lead to depletion of oxygen prompting for cracking a window to let more air in, and introduce excess moisture into your home which can result in mold or mildew. These issues may disqualify such stove from usage in certain areas like bedrooms. Always check with your local jurisdiction for rules regarding vent-less gas stoves installation. Vented gas stoves require to be vented outside with either direct vent – a coaxial pipe capable of bringing combustion air from the outside and exhausting the fumes out, or a special double pipe called a b-vent. Also note that the installation of gas line and connection of the stove must be done by licensed gas company.


A fireplace mantel refers to a decorative framework around the fireplace, which can include fixtures from a simple shelf above the fireplace opening to elaborate designs extending to the ceiling and it can be made of variety of different materials such as marble, limestone, granite, or fine woods. It can consist of elements such as capitals, moldings, brackets, figurines, animals, fruits and vegetation that are commonly used to decorate a mantel.

Glass Doors and Screens

A Fireplace Glass Door assists in reducing heat loss or cool air loss up the chimney by as much as 90 percent. That equals a year round energy savings when fireplace is not in use. The Fireplace Glass Doors are made with tempered safety glass, come with cabinet or bi-fold styles of the door and often are equipped with mesh screen. The enclosure is made with high-temperature powder-coated steel, and usually feature easy grip handles, hidden damper control knobs for air flow control and heat resistant thick insulation. They may be installed inside or on the surface of fireplace opening. Glass doors are made for masonry fireplaces only - not for prefabricated ones which require doors made by their respective manufacturers. Always keep mesh panels closed and glass doors open when fire is burning in fireplace. Before you buy, measure the front opening width and height to choose the correct size.

Wood fireplaces

Wood fireplaces are prefabricated features meant to be installed in framed enclosures which are finished and accessorized to resemble masonry fireplaces. A typical wood fireplace usually consists of a metal firebox lined with firebrick panels inside, a damper located at the top, and a glass door with a screen. Some models have fireboxes enveloped with another boxes on the outside that create a gap through which air heats up and is circulated often with a help of convection fan. The firebox unit must be connected to a listed prefabricated chimney (usually installed on top of the unit) designed for that fireplace. The completely assembled system usually is enclosed within framed walls with proper clearances to combustibles and fire-stops installed where necessary. The fireplaces then can be accessorized with variety of facings and/or mantels to add the style and beauty to its look. A fireplace by definition is a feature in which fires must be burnt with the doors open. There are, however, wood fireplaces that will allow you to have fires either with the doors open or closed. These types of fireplace/ wood stove hybrids will combine the beauty of a fireplace with the efficiency of a wood stove.

Wood Stoves

When you purchase wood stoves, there are a number of elements to take into consideration: size, BTU, area where the wood stove will be located, venting options, freestanding vs. insert, style, etc., just to name a few. One other important factor which only a few realizes is whether or not to go with Non-catalytic wood stoves or Catalytic wood stoves. There are both unique advantages and disadvantages with either option.
Non-catalytic wood stoves utilize a secondary combustion air (or air injection) brought out from the top of the stove via a stainless steel tube to burn the gas emitted from the wood. For the most part, these wood stoves achieve a great reduction in terms of emission. However, due to the introduction of the secondary air, the downside of Non-catalytic wood stoves is they do not achieve “overnight burn”.
Catalytic wood stoves also achieve emission reduction via smoke passing through a catalytic converter or combustor. The purpose of the catalyst is to lower the heating temperature so the smoke will not turn into flame which is usually at 1100 degrees. The catalyst lowers the temperature to approximately 500-550 degrees while the smoke passes through a ceramic honeycomb and burn at half the temperature safely. Essentially what this means is Catalytic wood stoves will burn in an air-tight condition allowing longer burn time, achieving almost-ideal overnight burn. Even as the fire slows down and temperature reaches 400-450 degrees, it will still utilize the smoke and retain the heat.
Finally, the choice between Non-Catalytic wood stoves or Catalytic wood stoves ultimately depends on the buyer’s preference. There are pros and cons for either one. Research and understanding the difference is the key. Just remember both Non-Catalytic wood stoves and Catalytic wood stoves will only achieve highest performance with correct operation and regular maintenance including annual professional chimney sweeps.

Wood Inserts

Wood inserts are wood stoves designed to be installed in masonry fireplaces. Inserts are used to convert fireplaces, which are inefficient and polluting, into effective heating systems. An insert consists of a firebox surrounded by a steel shell. Air from the room flows between the firebox and the shell, to be warmed. The outer shell ensures that most of the heat from the firebox is delivered to the room instead of being released into the masonry structure. A decorative faceplate covers the space between the insert body and the fireplace opening. Back in the early 1980s when fireplace inserts were first installed, they had a bad reputation for being unsafe, inefficient and expensive to maintain. Most inserts were not connected directly to the fireplace chimney and, in fact, many older insert installations allowed the exhaust gases to exit the flue collar and find their way up the chimney. Later, a short length of stainless steel liner was installed up into the chimney of the original fireplace. This short length was called a 'direct connect', but there was not really a connection to the base of the fireplace chimney. Inserts installed this way were fussy to light, smoky to use and costly to maintain because the insert had to be removed to clean the chimney. Since 1991, the Canadian wood burning installation code has required that a stainless steel chimney liner be installed from the insert flue collar to the top of the chimney. (Direct connects are still permitted in the United States) The code permits alterations to the fireplace to let the installer create a clear route for liner as it passes through the throat and smoke chamber of the original fireplace. For this reason, a good insert installation should be considered permanent. Installed correctly, the insert should not need to be removed from the fireplace for many years because the liner and all the hardware supporting it is corrosion-resistant stainless steel.
Where the liner passes through the fireplace throat (the damper, smoke shelf area), it should be sealed to the masonry, either stuffed with mineral wool (rockwool) or with a sheet metal plate. A good seal in this location prevents cold, smelly air around the liner from migrating into the room. This improvement in the design of insert installations has improved their performance to the extent that today's best fireplace inserts can be almost as efficient as free-standing wood stoves. If you already have an insert installed in a masonry fireplace, the addition of a stainless steel chimney liner can improve performance.
In the twenty years since the Canadian code changed to mandate full liners for inserts and hearth mounts, they have become among the most trouble-free of all wood heating installations. This is because the liner runs almost straight up from the insert flue collar, which is the most desirable arrangement for reliable draft. Cleaning the flue is a simple matter of removing the cap and running a brush down to the insert. Any deposits are cleaned from the firebox by removing the baffle. The reliability of an insert installation depends on a perfect installation. If the liner connection at the insert flue collar is faulty causing the liner to fail, the results can be very messy. Knowing all the ins and outs and pitfalls of insert installations is a job for professionals. Don't make the mistake of thinking that installing an insert is a simple matter of running a liner up the chimney. Contract with the most experienced insert installer you can find. You won't regret the small additional cost. A hearthmount stove is an option to an insert for upgrading the performance of a masonry fireplace. Hearthmounts are wood stoves mounted in front of or inside the fireplace and vented through the fireplace throat. They should also be vented through a full liner that is continuous to the top of the chimney. Only certain wood stoves can be used as hearthmounts. The certification label and installation instructions indicate if the unit can be vented through a fireplace.There are special inserts that can be installed in factory-built fireplaces. If you want to improve the performance of your conventional factory-built fireplace, ask your stove dealer if the insert you are considering is certified for this use.

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