FIREPLACES - gas
Gas Fireplaces – have increased in popularity over the past few years. For many homeowners, the attraction of owning a gas fireplace lies in the following:
The convenience of an on/off switch and an ever-present fuel supply
The cleanliness factor (gas fireplaces generate no mess in terms of ashes, wood chips, bark, etc.)
The elimination of chimney cleaning
The safety of sealed combustion units, which offer little chance for toxic combustion gases to spill into the room
The environmental benefits as compared with those of a conventional wood fireplace.
Although gas fireplaces have been around for a few years, many homeowners disliked their “fake-looking,”uninteresting flames. To counteract this negative perception of gas fireplaces, manufacturers have devoted much effort to producing a yellow flame that more closely resembles the flame of a wood-burning fireplace, yet it’s still clean-burning.
Other aesthetic improvements have made gas fireplaces much more appealing to homeowners. However, not all gas fireplaces are created equal. Some designs are extremely efficient, safe to operate and provide a lot of heat. Others can be very inefficient, and vent-free technology can cause indoor air-quality problems.
It pays to be an informed consumer. By knowing what to look for and what to avoid, you can select a gas fireplace that will suit your home’s decor, contribute to its heating needs and give you peace of mind. NRC – Fireplaces can provide more information.
Gas Insert – Sometimes it might make sense to replace an existing wood burning fireplace with a gas insert. This can reduce the work required to buy and store wood. Gas inserts may cost approx $2000-$4000 depending on the type. Newer models come with a remote that actually do everything from starting the pilot light to turning on the unit. Blower motors are also available which can blow warm air into the room.
Word of Caution – The glass on the outside may get very hot, sometimes so hot it can burn skin. I usually recommend a protective cover, such as a glass screen, wire mesh type is the most popular.
FIREPLACES - WOOD
Wood Burning Fireplaces – can give you a warm inviting feeling, it can provide heat and a nice ambiance type feeling, but a wood burning fireplace can also be a health and or safety hazard if not well taken care of. The Wood Heat Organizations website has more information.
A WETT inspection, which stands for Wood Energy Technology Transfer, includes a thorough inspection of all wood burning appliances such as stoves and open fireplaces, by a Certified WETT inspector.
An inspection for the wood burning technologies in your home is important for a number of reasons. With wood burning appliances, the potential for harmful pollutants to be released into your home as well as combustible materials to ignite is increased, so it is important that these appliances are regularly inspected and properly maintained. If you have a home that already includes one of these features, or you would like to purchase one and have it installed in your home, having a WETT certified inspector or technician involved is a necessity.
WETT specialty inspections are also now being required as a part of the home insuring process. In fact, many homeowners first hear about WETT specialty inspections because an insurance company asks that their appliances be examined by a WETT certified inspector or during an Home Inspection. The inspector will probably indicate that ALL wood burning devices should be W.E.T.T. Inspected.
In Canada, insurance companies may require homes using wood burning appliances to be thoroughly inspected by a professional and cleared/approved before the home can be insured.