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Gas Fireplaces Buyer's Guide

Gas Fireplaces Buyer's Guide

Are you in the market for a new gas fireplace? You may be tired of the cleaning and maintenance of your old wood-burning unit. Or, maybe you just want to add a new fireplace to your home and desire a certain look. Either way, gas fireplaces make a compelling option. It's time to move on to a cleaner and greener fireplace with better venting and heating efficiency.

If you're like millions of other people, you see the value fireplaces add to a home. But, it's hard to know which type of gas fireplace will best meet your needs. With all the information out there, it's not easy figuring out which ones have the most benefits.

No need to worry. The information in this article will help clear up a lot of the uncertainty. You will learn about the various types of gas fireplaces. We will also provide information to help you shop for and install your new unit.

No matter what question you may have, we have you covered! This article will address your concerns about costs and quality. It will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each type of gas fireplace.

Why You Should Consider a Gas Fireplace

By definition, a gas fireplace is designed to burn natural or propane gas only and cannot burn wood. Many people directly associate gas fireplaces with what is actually a set of gas logs or gas fireplace inserts. These are used to convert existing wood burning fireplaces to gas-burning applications only. But, purpose-built prefabricated gas fireplaces offer so much more.

Sure, you can opt for gas inserts or gas logs to retrofit an existing wood-burning unit if you have a chimney. What if you don't have an existing fireplace or chimney system? A prefabricated fireplace is a perfect solution! It comes with its own firebox and gas burner assembly as an integral part of the package.

Unlike wood burning fireplaces, gas fireplaces cannot be converted to burn solid fuels. They have built-in burners that are engineered for use with each specific model. So, they lack the provision or insulation to be backward compatible with wood-burning applications. This is not a bad thing. Statistically, it's very rare for a customer to go back to a wood burning fireplace after switching to gas. Whether it be lack of available fuel logs or just the amount of labor required to maintain wood fireplaces, a gas fireplace is a natural transition.

Gas Fireplaces

Plus, gas inserts or logs are restricted by the location of your existing fireplace. Prefabricated gas fireplaces do not need a masonry chimney. And, they can be installed almost anywhere in your home — the living room, bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen!

Gas models range from 12 to 72 inches in size and have a range of installation options! You can't find this level of versatility with a wood fireplace. Whether you want your fireplace built into a corner or peninsula or mounted on a wall, you can do it. Choose from contemporary linear designs, see-through models, or standard constructions. All are possibilities with a gas fireplace.

They also offer better heating efficiency and a cleaner burn. This means more heat and better air quality for your home.

No more lifting heavy wood or wasting toasty heat up your chimney. Most importantly, no more having to worry with sourcing enough wood fuel for the winter! As available fuel reserves continue to dwindle, many will find that it can be difficult to continue using a wood burning fireplace as a primary heat source.

Gas appliances make life so much easier and cost-effective. This is especially true with the right venting system. Think about the ignition difference between a gas fireplace and a wood-burning one. The processes are like night and day.

To ignite your wood fireplace, the process is longer. It's also more strenuous and labor-intensive. Plus, it requires ongoing work. Gas units need a spark from a lighter or match, a flick of a switch, or a push of a button to produce beautiful flames.

This is not to diminish the rustic charm of wood burning fireplaces. We'll admit that it's hard to compete with the crackling sounds of real tinder. But, for working adults, these units may not be the most practical or convenient options. Why not experience a more trouble-free option offered with a gas fireplace?

Gas Fireplaces

Why Choosing the Right Venting System is So Important

At this point, you probably agree that gas units have more convenient venting options. So, how do you decide which venting method is best for your home? In this section, we cover the three venting methods available to you. These include natural vent or B-vent, direct vent, and vent-free or ventless systems. You'll learn the advantages and disadvantages of each. No matter which option you choose, proper venting makes all the difference. It impacts expenses, efficiency, and Eco-friendliness.

Natural Vent or B-Vent

Although called by many names such as standard venting, chimney venting, or type-B venting, this system is the most familiar. Think about it. Most people associate a fireplace with a chimney and wood logs.

This idea is singed into the fabric of American culture. It is reinforced by holidays and popular images of iconic figures like Santa Claus. The real question speaks to the heating effectiveness of this venting method. After all, isn't the real purpose of a fireplace to keep you warm?

Believe it or not, heating efficiency is not a deal breaker for everyone. Choosing the right venting greatly depends on the intended uses for your fireplace. If you're seeking an alternative heating source, an open-face, chimney-vented appliance will not get the job done. Here's why.

First, a gas fireplace with a Type B vent has the same operation of a wood-burning fireplace. In fact, the basic premise of this type of venting mirrors the venting system used in a wood-burning unit. The only difference lies in the materials used to produce the vent and the integral gas burner and valve system found in gas models. With B-venting, the chimney provides a means for the flue gases to exit the home. But, that's not all that escapes.

Advantages: B-vent models use natural vent piping instead of an air-cooled chimney system. This venting is smaller in overall diameter and can fit into closer quarters. Some models of B-vent fireplace generate up to 40k BTUs of sizzling heat. Their double-walled venting pipes are made from aluminum and galvanized steel. These pipes work well to suction exhaust from the home through the chimney chase.

However, this method for expelling unwanted pollutants also expels much of the heat. Because of this, naturally-vented units only produce direct, radiant heat. This explains why most people have to sit near an open-faced fireplace for warmth.

With this in mind, chimney-vented appliances are perfect for homes located in warmer climates where aesthetics take precedence over efficiency. No other hearth appliance can match the coziness that an open-faced fireplace brings.

Disadvantages: Home efficiency and heat retention now rank high on many homeowners' checklists. Thus, B-vent hearth appliances are becoming less prevalent. Despite the large amounts of heat produced within the firebox, appliances vented in this fashion lose most of their heat to the vent.

The remaining heat fails to warm areas outside of the immediate perimeter of the unit. The lost heat poses issues with heating efficiency and fueling expenses. Yes, that's right. Type B vented appliances need more fuel to keep up with heating demands for the home. So, unless you intend to use your fireplace primarily for aesthetics, this venting option is not right for you.

In addition, these units require an entirely vertical chimney system. This means they are not practical unless you have the ability to install a venting system up through the roof of your home. A more versatile venting option is direct-venting.


One of the most versatile and efficient venting methods available is direct-venting. Direct vent fireplace models use either a coaxial or colinear piping system. These can be vented directly through an exterior wall, the ceiling, or an existing prefabricated chimney within your home. So, how does it work?

It's really quite simple. The co-axial vent system consists of two pipes — a small pipe within a larger outer pipe. The small pipe vents exhaust gases to the outdoors. And, the outer larger pipe pulls in oxygen from outside the home to fuel the flames.

The outer pipe also acts as an insulator. It keeps the temperature of the vent system cooler to prevent the transference of heat to combustible framing and coverings. The fireplace does not use any combustion air from the room, which means better air quality and thermal efficiency for your home. It is also sealed by a solid pane of tempered or ceramic glass across the fireplace opening. This increases the heating capacity of the unit. But, that's not all.

Gas Fireplaces

Advantages: Other important advantages of direct-vent models include their safety features. Most direct vent fireplaces include a barrier screen as a standard feature. It overlays the glass to prevent burns via accidental contact. The screen can be removed if desired and reinstalled as needed, such as if there will be small children in the room when the fireplace is being used. These models are also extremely versatile when it comes to installation. They are usually accepted for all applications without bathroom or bedroom limitations!

Now, you can enjoy the cozy, romantic ambiance of a flickering flame while you soak in your bathtub or take a shower. This is because direct-vent models are manufactured in a large range of sizes. Small ones generate as little as 5,000 BTUs up to very large models that generate 60,000 BTUs or more.

The versatility of installation can be attributed to the venting system itself. It terminates combustion waste either vertically or horizontally. There are even some models that use a power vent, a technology that allows venting downward or over extended horizontal runs. This type of venting also has different ignition systems available.

Ignition Systems — By far, the most common type of ignition is the standing pilot or millivolt ignition system. The standing pilot generates electricity for the fireplace valve. Thus, outside power or batteries are not required for its operation!

It consists of a standing pilot light and a gas valve that may offer remote or wall switch control. Very basic models have a manual control option at the fireplace. But, the vast majority include a switch block as part of the valve. You can operate the fireplace from an on/off switch or a handheld remote.

Another type of ignition system that is gaining ground is called the intermittent pilot or IPI ignition system. This fuel-saving model uses a spark igniter, an electronic valve, and a control module. The control module sends an electric signal to the spark igniter only when the unit is turned on to spark and light the pilot.

Gas Fireplaces

When the system is turned off, the burner and the pilot assembly shut down. This saves gas by not keeping a pilot light burning at all times. This type of ignition system does usually come with a switch that allows a unit to go between the continuous pilot or intermittent pilot operation as well. During very cold spells during the winter, the pilot assembly can be switched to remain lit when the unit is shut down. This keeps the unit warmer while the main burner is not in use, preventing cold drafts around the fireplace. Many of these systems come with a remote control as an included bonus part of the package.

These systems need electricity to operate the electronic components. So, it is wise to install a 120-volt power supply when framing this unit for installation. Most systems offer a battery backup system as well for use during power outages, and a few models can utilize the battery system as the primary power source as well.

Efficiency Rating — If you've made it this far within the article, you've heard the term efficiency used regularly. In this section, we'll explain what that means. You'll also learn why direct-vent units are regarded as some of the most efficient units. You may see words like AFUE or thermal efficiency as you search for a gas fireplace. There is much confusion between these two types of efficiency, simply because not all fireplace manufacturers use the same ratings system.

Gas Fireplaces

AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, and it appears as a percentage number. This number identifies the number of BTUs remaining in the firebox after the initial combustion phase.

For example, if a fireplace has a 10,000 BTU input of natural gas, some of the heat output will be lost to the vent as the fuel burns. Let's say 8,600 BTUs are retained in the firebox for heating the home.

The number of BTUs retained in the firebox during the combustion cycle gives you the AFUE percentage. In this case, 8,600 of 10,000 BTUs gives you an AFUE rating of 86 percent. It's worth noting, however, that AFUE numbers are often lower than thermal efficiency ratings. So, it's important to know which efficiency rating is being used when comparing units. We'll explain more in the next section.

Thermal efficiency ratings take the remaining BTUs number after AFUE is factored. It calculates how much of the retained heat transfers into the home. In other words, the thermal efficiency rating lets you know how well your unit will heat your home.

Let's continue with our previous example. Assume that researchers determined that 7,500 BTUs of the remaining 8,600 BTUs in the firebox pass through the glass to heat your home. The rest is either lost to a natural cooling action or absorbed by the chassis of the unit or some other parasitic means.

The point is that 87 percent of the heat transfers from your fireplace into the home. This means the appliance has an 87% thermal efficiency rating. Seeing these clear differences in efficiency ratings, it is understandable how and why people are so confused. Hopefully, the information presented here cleared up a lot of that confusion for you.

Disadvantages: Although difficult to believe, direct vent fireplaces also come with some drawbacks. They do require a fair amount of labor and materials for venting. So, these applications can yield the most upfront cost in comparison to other installation options.

Labor costs largely depend on the availability or presence of an existing gas line. We recommend that you have space where you'd like to install inspected by a professional installer. They can also give you upfront quotes to help with budgeting.

If you decide that a direct-vent model is not right for you, your final option is a vent free gas fireplace. With a nearly perfect thermal efficiency rating, these models offer a cheaper avenue for heating your home.


Also called ventless gas fireplaces, these are the most thermal efficient units on the market. But, they get a bad reputation due to misinformation on the web and a gross lack of understanding.

Some models feature a decorative glass pane in front of their opening. But most vent-free systems, similar to traditional units, are open to the room. As mentioned above, they have no venting system at all. Instead, they use a highly engineered gas burner, an oxygen depletion sensor, and a purpose-built log set or glass media.

These components allow vent free gas fireplaces to burn fuel cleanly and effectively. These gas fireplaces only release heat, carbon dioxide, and water vapor into the room. The systems are limited to 40,000 BTUs of heat output to prevent issues with oxygen depletion.

How Does a Ventless Gas Fireplace Work?

Like all hearth appliances, vent-free units must adhere to environmental protection standards. These standards are put in place to protect both people and the environment in general. To meet this standard, hearth manufacturers build these units with oxygen depletion sensors (ODS). The ODS detect and maintain oxygen levels at 20 to 22 percent for breathing.

To do this, there are small holes in line with the pilot tube that inject a metered level of oxygen to the pilot flame. If oxygen levels begin to drop, the calibration of the pilot flame will be effected, causing it to lift further away from the thermocouple or flame sensor that it is heating. Should the flame drift far enough away due to low oxygen levels, the flame will go out completely, causing the unit to lose voltage and shut down.

Advantages: Since they do not need venting, vent free fireplace models may be installed virtually anywhere in your home, with a couple of restrictions. There just needs to be enough ventilation.

Gas Fireplaces

As mentioned earlier, vent-free models are highly efficient. They generate the most heat transference into your home. Not only do they come in various sizes and configurations, but they also offer a realistic-looking flame.

They are ideal heating sources for larger homes or homes with open floor plans. This is because the distribution of by-products from the fireplace can be dispersed effectively. Despite these highly sought-after features, many people are still skeptical about ventless units.

Disadvantages: Due to the nature of their burn, ventless gas fireplaces cannot be used as a primary heating source for your home. First, the lack of ventilation causes airborne particles to float around in the room. These particles can irritate symptoms associated with allergies or upper respiratory conditions. If you suffer from any of these, we recommend you select a different venting method.

Second, these units tend to seep a mildly unpleasant smell during combustion that is intensified in smaller spaces. They also emit significant amounts of water vapor. This results in a bit of condensation on the walls and windows of the room.

Last, vent-free gas units have the most installation limitations of any other gas fireplace. Most regulations protect people from exposure to harmful pollutants, which pose health risks. Others pertain to elevation criteria to ensure the optimal performance of the unit. We provide more details about installation and elevation restrictions in the next sections.

Installation Restrictions: For clarity, it's important to help you understand why the EPA developed restrictions for these appliances in the first place. Vent free gas fireplaces pull oxygen from the room with no means to expel combustion by-products outside of the room, so they threaten air quality.

This results in less breathing air and higher concentrations of toxins. You can imagine how this affects smaller rooms such as bedrooms and bathrooms. Because of this, smaller spaces have installation restrictions and BTU caps. Bedrooms are limited to vent-free appliances with a maximum output of 10,000 BTUs. Bathrooms are bound to units with a cap of 6,000 BTUs.

So, how did they come up with these figures? The calculations are based on a room's ability to support the BTU output of a vent-free appliance. You can determine this yourself, too. Start by calculating the volume of space in a room. To do this, you need to measure the length, width, and height of the room and multiply these figures together.

Gas Fireplaces

Next, multiply the volume (W x L x H) of this space by 20 to determine the maximum BTU output the room can handle.

For example, a room with dimensions of 10 feet wide by 12 feet long has 120 square feet. If the room has 9-foot ceilings, the room has 1,080 cubic feet (10' W x 12' L x 9' H = 1,080 cubic feet). To determine the maximum BTUs per hour this space can support, you multiply 1,080 by 20. This equals 21,600 BTUs of output. So, you could buy a vent-free gas fireplace with a maximum of 22,000 BTUs.

Rooms with less than 50 cubic feet of space have what's called confined space restrictions. This is because these spaces support less than 1,000 BTUs of output per hour. A room this size is equivalent to 4 feet wide by 4 feet long and 3' 1/8" tall. It's pretty difficult to find vent free gas fireplaces that emit low enough BTUs for these spaces.

Elevation Restrictions: Ventless gas fireplaces have an oxygen depletion system to detect safe levels of oxygen in a room. However, this detection system is based on oxygen percentages produced at sea level. Areas situated above 4,500 feet of elevation have lower oxygen levels.

As such, vent-free appliances will deplete the oxygen levels in the room faster and fail to keep the pilot lit for ongoing heating. This results in poor efficiency. For this reason, vent free fireplaces must not be installed in areas over 4,500 feet of elevation. To ensure compliance, many countries, states, and municipalities have outlawed ventless fireplaces.

Some of these places include Canada, California, Denver, and New York, to name a few. Other states enforce scenario-based restrictions on homes built before a certain year. Be sure to check with your local municipality to see which restrictions, if any, apply to your area.

How To Use A Gas Fireplace

The procedures for using lighting a gas fireplace are simple, but each fireplace model is different. For this reason, it's essential to review the owner's manual for specific instructions for your appliance. However, there are some universal operation guidelines customary to all gas fireplaces you should know. Instructions largely depend on the type of ignition system housed in the unit.

How To Light A Gas Fireplace: All Models

  • Step 1 — If the fireplace is new to you or you have never used it previously, determine the model of the fireplace. Almost all gas fireplaces have a model number printed on a build sticker or tag within the base of the fireplace. Having this model number will allow you to check against the instructions in your owner's manual for what to expect during the lighting procedure.

  • Step 2 — Review the lighting procedure for your fireplace in the owner's manual. Because some owner's manuals cover several different fireplace versions, be sure you are reviewing the information specific to your model. If you do not have an owner's manual, downloadable versions are usually available via a quick online search.

  • Step 3 — Locate the gas control valve(s) for your fireplace. A properly installed gas fireplace should have a key-operated gas valve located within three feet of the fireplace. These are usually mounted in the wall or floor. Using the gas key, verify if the valve is in the open or closed position. The faceplate will have a label indicating which way is open or closed. For now, place the keyed valve in the closed position.

  • Step 4 — Check for a secondary control valve inside the fireplace. If equipped, this valve will be located in the bottom of the fireplace behind a control panel cover. The bottom control cover will usually hinge downward or will pop loose when pulled on lightly. The gas control valve will usually be a brass valve with a red, yellow, or blue handle. The valve will be attached to the end of the gas feed pipe and the other side will usually have a flexible gas line leading further into the fireplace. If you are able to locate a gas control valve in the bottom of the unit, turn the handle so that it is perpendicular to the gas line.

Millivolt (Standing Pilot) Gas Fireplace Models

  • Step 5 — If you have determined that your fireplace is a model that uses a standing pilot (small pilot flame that burns all the time), you will need to light the pilot before the fireplace can operate. To do this, locate your fireplace control valve in the base of the unit. This will be near the gas line valve in the base of the unit mentioned in the previous step. The gas control valve will usually have control knobs reading "Off" "Pilot" and "On" and possibly a "high" "low" labeled knob. Once you have located the control know, ensure that it is in the "Off" position.

  • Step 6 — With the gas control valve still in the "Off" position, turn both the keyed gas valve and the second gas line valve (if equipped) to the "On" position. Before proceeding further, pause for about 30 seconds to determine if the odor of leaking gas can be detected. If you smell gas, turn both valves back off and contact a plumber to repair the leak.

  • Step 7 — With both the keyed and secondary gas valves open, locate the push-button piezo ignitor for lighting the pilot. This is usually a small black or red push-button control, very similar to what some barbeque grilles use. With the ignitor button located, turn the gas control valve to the "pilot" position. For reference, there is usually a white indicator on both the gas valve and whichever word on the knob aligns with the white indicator signifies the position of the valve. With the gas control valve "pilot" position lined up with the white indicator mark, you can now push in on the control knob.
    While pressing the knob, start pushing the ignitor button once every 3 seconds. As you are doing this, look into the opening of the fireplace and observe the pilot assembly. The pilot assembly will usually be toward the back of the burner and somewhat near the center. Each time you push the ignitor button, you should be able to see a small blue spark. When the system is fully primed with gas, a pilot flame should appear when the ignitor button is pushed.

  • Step 8 — With the pilot flame present, continue holding the gas control knob in for approximately 30 seconds. This allows time for the thermocouple to heat up and create the voltage needed to hold the gas valve open. If the pilot light goes out when the control valve knob is released, repeat Step 7 again, but hold the knob for 60 seconds. If the pilot still goes out after 60 seconds, the thermocouple is likely defective and will need replacement.

  • Step 9 — With the pilot light burning and control knob released, you can now rotate the control valve to the "On" position. Some fireplaces will have no toggle switches or any other controls to activate them and will light immediately. Some models will have a toggle switch labeled "off," "on" and "remote." If your fireplace does not have a remote control, you should be able to turn the switch to the "on" position and the burner will light. If you know your fireplace is controlled by a wall switch or remote, you can now use those controls to operate the fireplace.

IPI (Electronic Ignition) Gas Fireplace Models

  • Step 5 — If your fireplace is an electronic ignition model that does not use a standing pilot, you will need to verify that the fireplace electronics have power before proceeding. Many models will have a transformer that plugs into an outlet within the base of the fireplace, but some models use a 9 volt or 4 "AA" batteries for power. Double-check that any batteries are replaced before starting.

  • Step 6 — With the batteries replaced, turn both the keyed gas valve and the second gas line valve (if equipped) to the "On" position. Before proceeding further, pause for about 30 seconds to determine if the odor of leaking gas can be detected. If you smell gas, turn both valves back off and contact a plumber to repair the leak.

  • Step 7 — You can now attempt ignition of the fireplace via the handheld remote control or wall switch. Electronic ignition fireplaces will light their pilot light automatically, followed shortly after by the main burner. This type of fireplace usually have a specific remote system and we recommend reading the owner's manual to determine all aspects of operation it offers.

Available Style Variations

Although there is some deviation, almost every B-vent fireplace has a "traditional" style — a relatively square opening with screens and a log set. Direct-vent and vent-free versions, on the other hand, have diverged into two distinct categories. They are either traditional with a rectangular or square opening or contemporary with a linear opening.

Gas Fireplaces

Traditional models resemble wood-burning fireplaces and have a classic or timeless look to them. They may be free-standing or placed into an enclosure. Contemporary models often feature low and wide openings with the option to add decorative fire media for a more modern look. The term linear also refers to the ribbon of flame created by a very shallow and wide burner in these units. Contemporary models have grown tremendously in popularity over the years.

Crossover designs offer a blend of both traditional and contemporary elements. Models like the Superior DRC2000 series feature classic dimensions. But, they substitute glass media in place of traditional fire logs. Similarly, linear models like the Empire Boulevard linear series also offer log sets to bring them back from modern extremes.

No matter your preference, with so many gas fireplaces for sale, you are sure to find a design that matches your unique style. We've even made it a bit easier for you by providing a list of top brands and manufacturers of gas fireplaces in the industry.

Top 5 Brands and Manufacturers of Gas Fireplaces

Dimplex North America Limited — Headquartered in Cambridge, Ontario, this company is a world leader in electric heating. The company is a member of the Glen Dimplex Group. In 1995, Dimplex made history with their patented electric flame technology. Their electric hearth appliances create an authentic, wood-burning flame pattern.

Empire Comfort Systems — Family-owned for over 87 years, Empire was founded in 1911 by Henry Bauer in Belleville, Illinois. Empire manufactures its products in the United States. And, the company specializes in producing highly-efficient gas hearth appliances. Empire was the first company ever to market a vented gas fireplace with 90-percent efficiency.

Heat & Glo — Founded in a garage in 1975, Ron and Dan Shimek revolutionized the hearth industry. By 1987, the company patented direct-vent gas technology. Their innovations have transformed residential construction for years to come.

Kingsman — It started with the vision of one man, Russell Reyher, who built his first wood-burning stove in 1976. Since then, Kingsman has grown into a reputable company. The company values quality over quantity, ensuring a long-lasting product for its customers.

Majestic — Founded in 1894, the Majestic company has a long-standing history in the hearth industry. The company began by making cast iron furnaces and coal chutes. Now, Majestic produces a wide selection of quality, efficient, and stylish heating appliances.

Recommendations for Safety

We have covered a great deal of helpful information to assist you in your quest for a new gas fireplace. However, you should always follow the manufacturer's guidelines. Also, pay attention to laws pertaining to coding regulations and restrictions in different areas.

When it comes to installation, please make sure to get a qualified expert in your area to do job. If you happen to have more questions along the way, feel free to reach out to one of our NFI certified technicians. They'll be sure to assist you. For an extra piece of advice, we have provided a mini safety checklist below.

Gas Fireplaces

Care and Maintenance

The care and maintenance of your fireplace play a major role in how well it functions. We recommend having an installation expert to conduct an annual inspection. They can inspect the fireplace and the venting system for any obvious signs of damage or wear.

Regular care will extend the lifespan and efficiency of your unit. While major issues will likely be handled by a specialist, there are also a few things you should do as well.

  • Visually inspect your appliance for excessive burner or pilot assembly corrosion.
  • Remove any build up of dust or dander from the valve area.
  • Ensure that vent caps are in place and not blocked by debris.
  • Verify that any glass, screen, or door assemblies still operate and seal as they should.

How To Clean A Gas Fireplace

Routine cleaning of your gas fireplace plays a major role in keeping it looking and running like new. Also, doing so keeps the fireplace functioning as it should and helps you detect possible issues early. Before attempting to clean your fireplace, there are a few safety precautions you will need to follow.

  • Step 1 — Make sure your gas fireplace is completely cool to the touch before proceeding with any cleaning. You'll also need to turn the gas supply off to the unit by turning your gas valve to the "off" position. Make sure there are no lingering smells of gas in the fireplace. It's recommended to wait 3-5 minutes to allow gas to exit the supply line in the fireplace. Next, remove any glass covering from the opening of the fireplace (if applicable).

  • Step 2 — If you have gas logs, you'll want to remove them from the fireplace and take them outside of the home before cleaning. It's a good idea to layer some newspapers in the designated cleaning area to prevent dirt and debris from dirtying up the surrounding area. You can use either a soft cloth or soft-bristle brush to wipe away dust, dirt, or other unwanted debris from the logs. You'll want to take your time and not apply too much pressure while cleaning the logs. After they are cleaned, this is the time to check for corrosive indicators such as splitting or charring.

  • Step 3 — Now, remove the lava rocks (if applicable) from the fireplace and place onto some newspaper near the fireplace. Using the hose component or attachment on a vacuum cleaner, suction all loose dirt or dust from the rocks. You'll want to take advantage of this opportunity to vacuum out the firebox and the heat exchanger vent.

  • Step 4 — If you have glass covering the fireplace opening, you'll want to clean it using fireplace glass cleaner before reinserting the fireplace components. Note: Do not use typical ammonia-based glass cleaners like Windex or the like for fireplace glass.

  • Step 5 — For this step, you'll need a clean cloth and a bowl of warm water. Wet the cloth and wring out until the cloth is damp to the touch. Take the cloth and wipe down the firebox for any remaining soot and dirt buildup. Make sure to rinse and wring out the cloth regularly to keep it clean throughout the process. Once the firebox is clean, inspect it for unusual wear and tear. You'll also want to clean the exterior of the fireplace in the same manner as the firebox to remove excess dirt and dust that may have accumulated.

  • Step 6 — In this final step, you'll need to place the cleaned gas logs back into the fireplace. They should be assembled exactly as they were before removing them. Place the clean lava rock around the base of the firelog grate and replace the glass covering (if applicable).

Expected Lifespan

The burner and valve assemblies of modern gas fireplaces are quite durable and can easily last for 20 years with regular maintenance. One of the biggest killers of these units is inactivity, so be sure to use your fireplace at least a few times each season to cycle moving parts and burn off dust.

Signs of wear-and-tear can emerge within 3-5 years if used frequently. You can expect to replace small ignition system parts like knobs, thermocouples, and igniters every 5-7 years.


Most models of gas fireplaces will ship via a freight carrier and arrive on a pallet. Orders consisting of both venting components and a fireplace will also ship freight. When shipped freight, the carrier will arrange a delivery date and time suitable for you. Be mindful that most freight shipments need two people to receive them.

Ventless gas fireplaces ship almost exclusively LTL. This is due to their fragility and packaging materials. Only the smallest ventless gas units ship parcel. No matter how your appliance is shipped, you should examine your packages diligently upon arrival. Doing so allows you to catch damages and return the package to the manufacturer immediately. This also prevents issues with limited warranty restrictions.


We hope you have acquired a great deal of knowledge about gas fireplaces. You've learned about the various types and styles available to you. You also learned about several venting options. By now, you can easily decide which option will work best for your home and your needs.

Try not to go over your budget. If you take our preventative suggestions, this should not be a problem. Remember, the installation location can make or break the bank. So, don't forget to have an installation expert to conduct an inspection of your home before you make a final decision. This will help you construct a realistic budget and timeline for installation.

Last, but not least, enjoy your brand new gas fireplace! We'd love to hear from you, so please send us pictures of the completed work! And as always, if you have any additional questions, our NFI Certified Technicians are always here to help.

About the Author

Collin Champagne

With over 13 years in the industry, Collin is a National Fireplace Institute (NFI) certified technician and managed content for the eFireplacestore and eCanopy brands. He has achieved the highest NFI certification possible as a Master Hearth Professional and is certified in all three hearth appliance fields: wood, gas, and pellet. With experience with sales and in-field installations, his expertise shines through his technical knowledge and way with words.

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