Buying Advice For Gas Fireplaces Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the differences between a zero clearance (ZC) gas fireplace, a fireplace insert and a gas log set. In this article, we’ll focus on specific questions regarding ZC gas fireplaces and practical tips along with solid suggestions when shopping for one.

Both the National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Real Estate Appraisers say that the addition of a quality gas fireplace in a home can increase the price of the home by several thousands of dollars. This number will vary regionally of course, but these opinions are really nothing new. Findings indicate that a gas fireplace is very desirable amenity that is practical and functional. Many people realize that a gas fireplace creates the ambiance and feel of a cozy, warm and safe place.

When it comes to resale value, studies have shown that half of the people buying a home are willing to pay more, if the home has at least one fireplace!

The fact of the matter is: there really isn’t a “best”! Yes, there are some significant differences between one manufacturer and another. But there are lots of solid fireplace companies out there that make some very impressive equipment. Many say that they have the best flame pattern or log design or the coolest options. But as the old saying goes, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. So, look on-line and visit a couple of hearth specialty stores and you will soon get a sense of what appeals to your style. Make sure you see the equipment burning because there are still lots of mediocre looking units on the market, too.

Your WE LOVE FIRE® dealer has strong opinions about the brands they carry and why they feel that the way they do. They will be glad to show you the gas fireplaces they feel are the “best”!

Your WE LOVE FIRE® expert feels very strong about the Ambiance® line of gas fireplaces. Ambiance has committed to considerable research and development into their gas fireplace designs. Before starting a fireplace project, nearly 300 fireplace experts and retailers throughout the USA and Canada are asked to contribute their thoughts and ideas. These fireplace pros enthusiastically contribute their comments about design features they know their customers want in a fireplace. Ambiance has successfully incorporated the insight from these industry experts into all the fireplace designs. So, when you purchase an Ambiance gas fireplace, you’ll be getting:

– Innovative burner design that gives an extremely realistic bed of glowing embers and stunning flames.
Logs are carved and painted by hand and look entirely natural and well balanced within the fire box.
Creative fire management technology that means you choose between an “intermittent pilot light” or a “standing pilot light” on your fireplace.
– An easy to use, cleverly designed remote gives you complete control of all the functions on the fireplace. This includes the on/off task, fan speed, heat output, adjusting lighting effects and maintaining consistent room temperatures.
– Realistic accent lighting that adds a warm and original glow to your fireplace.
– BURNING QUESTIONS_ _ Gas Fireplace _ Buying Advice Part 2 – Gas Fireplace Illusion Ambiance
– Gas Fireplace Illusion by Ambiance

At your WE LOVE FIRE® dealership, of course! And consider these important points regarding why the purchase should be from them: When you buy something, especially bigger ticket items, do you buy only on price? It’s very unlikely that you do. With enough time and if you keep looking long enough, you can always find the same product, less expensive, someplace else.

Odds are very high that you buy a product where; 1) you are listened to, 2) your wants and needs are understood, and 3) where product expertise, service and a safe track record are evident. All this translates to a good rapport and solid relationship with the sales person. Do you trust the company you are doing business with? Do you get that feeling that they have your best interest in mind?

We’re certainly not downplaying the importance of price. But if that trust and rapport have been established, you will have the confidence in the company you’re doing business with, to treat you fairly and with respect. You can trust that your WE LOVE FIRE® dealers pricing is a fair value for the goods and services you’re purchasing from them.

Like most things, there is a wide range of prices for a zero clearance, gas fireplace. Small basic models will start around $3000.00. While larger, fancier models can approach $7000.00. Additionally, the installation and finishing costs will need to be added. You can figure on spending anywhere from a few hundred to several thousands of dollars for this part of the fireplace project, depending on the complexity of the final look you’re after.

Remember that your WE LOVE FIRE® dealer is happy to provide detailed pricing and specific costs on any fireplace project you may have in mind.

A gas fireplace does not need to be replaced on a regular basis. But this question often comes up when equipment starts aging out at 20 years or more. Perhaps a customer sees how impressive the newer styles and technology is and simply wants to update.

Replacing an old gas fireplace with an upgraded model is often done as part of a remodeling or home improvement project. A replacement project of this scope is one that your WE LOVE FIRE® dealer will want to evaluate.

The short answer to this is: No! Cooking is not an option on a direct vented gas fireplace. The sealed combustion process means the glass must be in place for the equipment to operate safely. Always operate a gas fireplace with the gasketed glass in its correct position.

One fuel is not better or worse than the other. Our suggestion is to first decide which fuel fits your lifestyle best and which fuel you would prefer to use.

If you have a nearby source for wood and have the equipment and time to cut, split, haul, stack and dry wood, lots of money can be saved by heating with wood. Wood requires regular and routine maintenance.

If you’re not the type who wants to get your hands dirty and are looking for heat, a gas fireplace will be a much better decision than wood. The size of gas fireplaces and their heat output, varies considerably from model to model.

If just a little supplemental heat is needed in a room and/or you want to use a fireplace year-round, an electric unit might be your best bet.

Two other very important considerations are the location of the fireplace in your home and the venting (for gas) or chimney (for wood) requirements for the appliance.

Gas fireplaces are extremely versatile and can be installed nearly anywhere in the house. Living rooms and family rooms are the most common, but consider a gas fireplace in the dining room, bedroom, office, kitchen or an outdoor model on the deck or patio. The physical sizes and shapes of fireplaces vary tremendously, so use your imagination and ask yourself where you would enjoy a bit more heat and a whole lot more ambiance!

Remember that venting a gas fireplace is required. Most units can be venting directly out a sidewall, so if you’re planning to install the fireplace on an exterior wall, you should be in good shape. Vertical installations through the roof are also a popular option.

Buying Advice For Gas Fireplaces, Gas Inserts & Gas Logs

This is the first in a series of articles that will provide sound advice if you are planning a building or remodeling project and have plans to include a gas hearth product. To begin with, it’s important to know and understand the differences between a gas fireplace, a gas fireplace insert and a gas log set. These are three distinct products, for three distinct types of applications. These articles will explain the differences in each of these products and important points to consider before making a purchase. But first, let’s start with a thorough definition of each.


A gas fireplace consists of a steel firebox that contains a burner. This burner could be a ceramic or stainless steel tube that has many ports or holes in it to allow the flames to be seen. The burner is designed to accommodate a specific set of logs or other media, such as colored glass beads or stones.

Gas fireplaces are built into a framed 2×4 or 2×6 stud wall. The firebox, described above, is surrounded by an insulated housing or shell that protects the stud wall from excessive heat. The term “zero clearance” (ZC) means the fireplace, thanks to the insulated shell, can actually be in contact with combustible framing members and will prevent the wall from getting too hot. See the sketch and note how a typical ZC fireplace can be easily built into a wall in your home.

Gas fireplaces have a large piece of sealed, ceramic glass that enables a splendid view of the fire. These fireplaces are “direct vented”. That means the combustion process is sealed and air for the fire comes from the outside, via a special co-axial pipe. Room air is not used for combustion, but rather is heated as it circulates around the hot, steel firebox. Then the warm air is returned to the room with the assistance of a small, variable speed fan.

There are dozens of techniques to provide that personalized, finished look around a zero clearance gas fireplace. Cultured stone, brick, steel, ceramic tile, granite and marble are all popular and common options. A gas fireplace is typically controlled with a remote or activated with an on/off wall switch.

Gas Fireplace Intrigue Ambiance


A gas fireplace insert is designed to be slid into (or inserted) into an existing wood burning fireplace. A gas insert will convert your old wood burning fireplace into an efficient and reliable form of heat and enjoyment for your family. Commonly called just an “insert”, these units also consist of a steel firebox that contains a burner. The burner can be a ceramic material or a stainless steel tube. Either will allow the gas flames to be enjoyed with logs, colored glass beads or stones.

An electric and gas supply line will need to be installed into the existing wood burning fireplace. Two flexible aluminum pipes are installed up the chimney. One brings combustion air into the firebox, the other vents combustion by-products, out.

Inserts are never to be built into a framed wall. An insert does not have any type of insulated housing around the firebox.


The ceramic glass on an insert is sealed. Gas inserts are also “direct vented”. Outside combustion air is funneled to the firebox with a flexible aluminum pipe installed through the chimney. Like its ZC gas fireplace cousin, air from the room is heated as it circulates around the steel firebox. Then, this warm air is returned to the room with the aid of a small quiet fan.

The finished look of an insert includes surround panels that are used to cover up the rest of the wood fireplaces’ opening. Older, outdated fireplaces are often updated with a new mantel and/or cultured stone or brick.

Gas Insert Ambiance


Gas logs are used to update an existing wood burning fireplace. They are normally purchased for decorative reasons, rather than for heating purposes.

Basically, a gas log set is several attractive logs, designed with a burner, on a grate. Gas logs will modernize an old wood burning fireplace, but will not provide the efficiencies or heat output that many people want. Gas logs do not come in a steel firebox. They are simply installed into an existing wood burning fireplace.

The amount of natural gas or LP a log set uses is often 2½ or 3 times more than the fuel consumption of a gas insert. A gas supply line will need to be installed into the fireplace. No electrical connection is necessary, as gas logs do not have fans to circulate warm air.

Gas logs use room air for combustion.

The damper on the chimney needs to be fully open when burning a vented gas log set. Unvented gas logs do not need the damper open. However, unvented gas logs are not permitted in some areas, so be sure to check with your WE LOVE FIRE® expert regarding specific code requirements in your locale.

The chart below will summarize the differences between a zero clearance gas fireplace, a fireplace insert and a gas log set. And now hopefully, you have a better understanding of what product will work best for you!


Is built into a framed wall: Yes No No
Must be installed into an existing fireplace: No Yes Yes
Operated with a remote control: Yes Yes Yes
Vertically or horizontally venting options: Yes No No
Vented through an existing chimney w/flex pipe: No Yes Yes
Steel firebox with integrated burner: Yes Yes Yes
Available in natural and LP gas: Yes Yes Yes
Quiet, variable speed fan: Yes Yes No
Typical amount of gas used per hour: 20-40,000 BTU’s 15-35,000 BTU’s 60-80,000 BTU’s
Easy and convenient to operate: Yes Yes Yes
Several sizes, styles and options available: Yes Yes Yes
Rated for energy efficient: Yes Yes No


Future articles will discuss more details of these three categories of hearth products.


How do i get rid of rust on my wood stove?

The first step is to move the stove to a work space or thoroughly protect the area around the stove with drop cloths. Things may get a wee bit dirty!

If possible, remove the door from the stove and the glass from the door frame. Plan to replace both the door gasket and the glass gasket.

Any peeling, blistering or chalking of rusty old paint must be removed. Do this by aggressively scrubbing the top and sides of the stove with a stiff bristled wire brush. Coarse steel wool or even sand paper may work well, too. Using a shop vac, clean up all the dust and flakes of rust. If you’re doing this project outside and you have access to an air compressor, blow off all the dust.

This is also the time to remove any old gasketing by thoroughly scraping the door and glass channels. Inspect and if necessary, remove and replace any loose refractory cement from the interior of the stove. Any crumbling or broken firebrick should be replaced.


The next order of business is to remove all signs of rust. Using a rust remover from your WE LOVE FIRE® dealer or the hardware stove, spread it generously on the stove’s top and sides, and on the door. Most rust removers need a heavy application and need to soak for several minutes before scrubbing with steel wool. Follow the directions on the bottle.

Depending on the severity of the rust, some people formulate their own rust remover by mixing a smooth paste of baking soda and water. Naval jelly can be another option. Leave either mixture on the stove, liberally applied, for an hour before scrubbing with steel wool.

The key to this step is to be patient. Surface preparation is very important! Don’t rush it! Try to completely clean any signs of rust from the surface by wiping with dry cloths until no rust residue is seen. You may have to repeat this process.

In addition to all the rust, make sure that any other contaminants, like oil and grease, have been removed from the stove. Do not use mineral spirits or a paint thinner on the appliance. These leave a residue that will affect the adhesion of the paint.

Once you’re satisfied with the condition of the stove, let it thoroughly dry for several hours or better yet, overnight.


There are three key elements when you get to this point in the project:

1) Take your time, do not rush.

2) Three thinner coats of paint are much better than one heavier coat.

3) Make sure you use the correct type of paint. It needs to be a high temperature, stove paint.

The two primary manufacturers of high temp stove paint are Stove Bright and Thurmalox. Your WE LOVE FIRE® expert will have paint on the shelf. Buy one of these brands and simply follow the instructions on the can. Don’t try to cover everything with one coat; think three lighter, thinner coats instead of trying to cover everything with the first coat of paint.

If the stove is down to the bare, shiny metal and you want to use a primer coat, be sure it’s compatible with the high temperature aerosol stove paint. Both manufacturers make a high temp primer paint.

For most stoves, two cans of paint should be sufficient. If you’re repainting the top only, one will suffice. Incidentally, your black stove does not have to stay black any longer! There are over 30 colors of high temperature paint for wood-burning stoves!


High temperature stove paint dries quickly. Allow 15 – 30 minutes between thin coats. The paint will be dry enough to touch in about 2 hours. You’ll need to wait several hours, though before the “curing process” for your stove. This is probably a good time to replace the door gasket and the gasket material for the glass.

The paint will give off fumes and smoke during the first few initial burns. Again, follow the instructions on the can, but two or three small and quick fires will properly cure the new paint to the stove.

During these brief fires, there might be some visible smoke near the surface of the stove along with an unpleasant odor. This is normal. If you are indoors, keep the area well ventilated. Those with health issues or sensitivities should avoid the area until the curing process is completed. The fumes should not continue after three short burns.

Interior of a rustic style large living room in the forest.

A couple other quick points worth mentioning. A spray trigger, attached to the nozzle of the paint can is a good idea. It’s inexpensive and easy to use. It will help to insure a smooth application of the paint. Also, think about painting the connector pipe (or the vent pipe on your gas model) the same color to match the new color of the stove! It’s a nice, finishing touch for the room.

Products like refractory cement, silicone sealant, rope and tape gasket, high temperature paint, paint sample cards, replacement firebrick, glass cleaner, etc. are available at your nearby WE LOVE FIRE® dealer. If they don’t have it in stock, they’ll be glad to order it!

Keep in mind that the extra time and effort in surface preparation and applying three thin coats of paint will lead to the best results for a beautiful and long-lasting finish for your stove.

Electric Fireplace : How They Work

Electric fireplaces are more popular than ever. Their beauty, versatility, cleanliness, and performance are truly impressive.

In this article, we’ll discuss several frequent questions that often arise when the subject of electric fireplaces comes up.

How does an electric fireplace work?
Do electric fireplace really heat?
How to operate an electric fireplace?
How long can you leave any electric fireplace turned on?

Electric fireplaces are extremely easy and convenient to use. There are two main adjustments to turn on and off with an electric fireplace. One is the lights and “flames” with the fireplace; the other is the heat. Both functions operate with a remote control. Most remotes have a manual and an automatic mode.

The lighting effects and flames can be operated with or without the heat on. A series of LED lights can be adjusted to the colors and brightness you prefer. Lighting effects are combined with many optional log styles, pebbles, clear and colored fire glass, rocks and glowing embers for the “media” inside your fireplace. It’s truly an impressive look that you’ll be proud to show family and friends.

The heat from an electric fireplace is much like the heat from an electric baseboard unit you might find in a bedroom or bathroom. Typically, the heating element on high will produce 1500 watts of power and half of that on low.

Yes, they do! But, if you’re hoping that an electric fireplace will heat the majority of your house, you’ll need to adjust your expectations. Think “supplemental heat”, particularly in the area within 10 – 15 feet of the fireplace.

The heating element on many electrics is 1500 watts. This translates to about 5100 BTU’s of heat. For comparison, a gas fireplace might have a burner capable of 20-40,000 BTU’s and wood fireplaces and stoves will range from 15-60,000 BTU’s per hour. A forced air furnace in an 1800-2000 square foot home is probably 80-100,000 BTU’s per hour.

So, yes an electric fireplace, stove or insert will heat, just don’t expect too much from it.

Most electric fireplaces can be operated manually by a touch panel or switches, located on the bottom of the unit, or with a convenient remote control. Settings include:

1) the fireplace on, the heater off.

2) Fireplace on, heater on high.

3) Fireplace on, heater on low.

Adjustments for the flame, mood lighting and color effects are typically done with the remote. Be sure to read and understand the owner’s manual, as details for adjustments will vary from model to model.

An electric fireplace can be left on for an indefinite period of time. However, with the heating element on 24/7, you will notice a difference in your electric bill.

That being said, many people leave their electric fireplace operating for extended periods of time, with the heat turned off. Much has been said about the spectacular effects of today’s electric fireplaces. The colors, media options and the inexpensive costs to enjoy the light show are reasons enough to keep your fireplace on all the time! Some folks use electric fireplaces as subdued lighting, left on overnight. Many design the media in an electric fireplace to complement their lifestyle! Some use the fire and ice effects as a subliminal cooling effect in the summertime! But one thing for sure, everyone will have their favorite settings and effects and will find a way to enjoy the fireplace!