If you, like many homeowners, want the beauty, warmth and ambiance of a fireplace, but you don’t want the mess and bother of a wood fire, consider a natural gas or propane fireplace.

Consider a gas log fireplace for your home. Photo by BJF Richard.

Gas fireplaces can provide all of the benefits of a blazing fire with none of the drawbacks. The appearance of gas logs has come a long way in the past fifteen years. You can purchase a set of gas logs that look like real logs, whether there is a fire or not.  As is the case with most other things, the more you are willing to pay for the gas logs, the better they will look. The only things missing with gas logs are the smell of the burning wood and the sounds of the fire.

Natural gas or propane fireplaces offer a number of advantages for today’s busy lifestyles and for city living. Starting a gas fire doesn’t require bringing in wood, finding kindling, or struggling to get the fire started. With gas, you just flip a switch. Gas fires burn cleaner than wood and don’t require any work to keep them going. When you want the fire out, you just flip a switch again. Gas fireplaces also offer more consistent heat output, and the amount of heat and flame is easily controlled with a dial. In many cases, gas fireplaces can be used for extended periods of time in the event of an electrical outage.

Most of the newer models of gas fireplaces are vent-free, which means there is no need for a chimney and flue. These models are the most efficient because there is no heat escaping up the chimney and because you don’t have to worry about how tightly your flue closes. Some models are made with a blower attached to move the heat out into the room. Most models will put out enough warmth to heat several rooms, though you might find electric blowers in doorways helpful in moving the warm air from room to room.

Like a wood-burning fireplace, gas fireplaces can be surrounded with a large variety of materials, including faux stone or brick. Depending on the materials you use, you might need to install a hood to deflect the heat. This is especially important with materials that could be damaged by exposure to direct heat.

One consideration in times of high fuel costs is that a gas fireplace uses fossil fuels. You will be using either natural gas, connecting to a local gas line, or bottled propane gas. When using bottled gas, consider the exterior appearance of your home and look for an attractive, yet accessible, covering for the gas bottles.

Natural gas fires look great, they heat efficiently, and they burn clean, with little or no work after the fire is out. If this is the direction you want to go, you should explore the options available to you to remodel your fireplace to a natural gas or propane fireplace.