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Choosing a gas fireplace or stove for home heating

Gas fireplaces are a popular alternative to traditional wood-burning models. Natural gas is an efficient and affordable energy source that can help you save on the cost of heating your home. You will also save time on cleaning soot and chopping wood. Because it is much easier to control the heat output of a gas fire-place, you can ensure a comfortable home environment all season long.

Types of gas fireplaces and stoves

The two main options for supplemental gas heating in the home are gas fireplaces and gas stoves. Like traditional wood fireplaces and stoves, gas fireplaces are typically built into the wall while gas stoves have a freestanding design. However, modern gas fireplaces can come in peninsula (three-sided) and island (four-sided) designs as well. Gas stoves are also evolving from the traditional stove design into more streamlined and contemporary styles.

The choice between a stove and a fireplace will likely come down to a matter of aesthetics and personal preference. Make sure to choose a model that you and your family can enjoy for many years to come.

Pro tip

Another factor to consider when shopping for a new gas stove or fireplace is the BTU rating. "BTU" stands for British Thermal Unit, and it is a measure of how much heat energy the appliance cre-ates. A stove or fireplace with a higher BTU is capable of heating a larger area.

Gas fireplace and stove installation

One of the main advantages that gas fireplaces and gas stoves share is how easy they are to install. You generally have more versatility than if installing a wood-burning fireplace. Because of the clean-burning nature of natural gas, there are several flexible venting options that make it possible to incorporate your new heating appliance into just about any layout. A gas fireplace or stove can also be installed in any room of your home as long as there is a gas line hook-up and all safety requirements are observed.

Due to their shape and design, gas fireplaces have a number of different installation options. In addition to being recessed into a wall, they can be installed into the corner of the room, into a cabinet mantel, or even into the middle of the room. Gas stoves, because of their freestanding design, may be even easier to incorporate into your home. Almost any spot can work as long as the stove can be properly vented.

Gas fireplace and stove maintenance

Another reason why many homeowners choose gas over wood fireplaces is how easy they are to maintain. Because burning gas doesn't leave behind any soot or debris, gas fireplaces do not require daily cleaning.

Though day-to-day maintenance may not be a concern, gas fireplaces do still need some regular upkeep to ensure proper operation and safety. Routine cleaning is fairly straightforward and can be done on your own, just make sure the fireplace is completely off (including the pilot light) and completely cooled down before you start.

Use a soft, microfibre cloth and specially formulated fireplace cleaner to clean both sides of the glass front. A small, handheld vacuum is a great tool for picking up dirt and dust from the inside of the fireplace. You can also use a soft, damp cloth to wipe down the louvres and make sure they are clear of dust and debris, as well as to clean the outside of the unit.

Your fireplace should be inspected at least once a year by a heating professional who can ensure that all of its components are in good working condition. Always add an annual fireplace inspection to your to-do list before the heating season begins.

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