Turn your hearth into a hub of high-efficiency comfort.
The glow and warmth of a natural gas fireplace makes any room inviting. And the beauty of it is, you can install one practically anywhere.
Every natural gas fireplace in Canada carries an EnerGuide label between 20 and 70 per cent. The higher the number, the greater its efficiency.
Unlike natural draft venting, today’s direct and power venting options use no air from your home, adding to energy efficiency.
EnerGuide & EnerChoice
Natural Resources Canada's EnerGuide program helps buyers choose the most energy-efficient appliances. Every gas fireplace sold in Canada has an EnerGuide rating. The number shown on the EnerGuide label tells you the energy efficiency of the unit. The higher the percentage, the better the heat value for your energy dollars.
For the highest efficiency gas fireplaces, look for the EnerChoice logo. EnerChoice only applies to:
- gas fireplaces that are 62.4 per cent efficient or higher
- freestanding stoves that are 66 per cent efficient or higher
- inserts that are 61 per cent efficient and higher
Gas log sets do not qualify for EnerChoice.
Waste no time getting warm when you get home. Your gas fireplace turns on and off instantly through either a wall switch, a thermostat connected to the fireplace or a remote control.
No more buying or chopping and stacking wood. No more setting and lighting the fire and no messy fireplace cleaning. Natural gas fireplaces are safe and easy for almost anyone to use.
Warms just the room you’re in
Your gas fireplace puts warmth where you need it, when you need it. By heating the zone you’re in, you can turn down the central heating in the rest of the house, and reduce your energy costs.
Looks as good as the real thing
It has a real flame, and even if those aren’t real wood logs burning in the fireplace, you also never have to stoke them or add more wood. Or clean up the ashes the next morning to prepare a new fire.
Safe reliable heat
A gas fireplace doesn’t need electricity to keep you warm, (unless it has electronic ignition or electric power venting). Reliable natural gas is always there when you need it. Learn more about fireplace safety.
Features to look for
Many models are available with remote controlled on/off, flame height control, or thermostatically controlled room heat.
You can also a set a timer to turn on your fireplace in advance of getting home or before getting up in the morning.
Ceramic glass front panel / door
Ceramic glass withstands higher temperatures and radiates more heat than tempered glass. It’s usually found on higher end models or those with higher heat output.
Automatic pilot light shut-off
If for any reason—such as a carbon deposit blocking the valve—the pilot light flame goes out, the gas supply is immediately and automatically shut off. This is standard safety equipment on all gas fireplaces with a standing pilot light.
Types of gas fireplaces
Gas fireplace inserts go where there's an existing fireplace, hearth and cavity. Inserts have a metal housing with a glass front and realistic looking ceramic logs that help add ambiance and décor.
Better energy efficiency
A fireplace insert transforms a wood-burning fireplace into a cleaner burning, more convenient, and more efficient heat source.
Easy to install and vent
Most fireplace inserts will fit into a fireplace cavity. They connect to either a vent in the chimney or through an outside wall.
Freestanding gas fireplaces often resemble traditional wood burning or solid fuel stoves. They fit perfectly in the corner of a room. They're also a good choice when replacing an inefficient wood stove.
Heat big spaces
Freestanding fireplaces radiate heat from all sides and efficiently warm a large area around them. They're an ideal heating solution in basements, holiday homes or cabins.
Easy to vent
They can be gravity-vented through a roof, or direct-vented to an outside wall. Hearth-mounted models can be vented into an existing fireplace.
Bold styling for any décor
Freestanding gas fireplaces make a bold statement with any room décor. They come in many styles, from traditional pot-belly design to modern, sleek tower models.
Zero-clearance gas fireplaces can be installed in virtually any room on any floor of the house. These units can be vented through the nearest outside wall and don't require an existing fireplace cavity or chimney.
Fit into smaller size rooms and spaces
You can install a zero-clearance fireplace where room space may be limited and where there's no existing fireplace.
Add an instant fireplace
Zero-clearance units are ideal for adding a fireplace quickly and easily during renovations or new construction.
Real looking, not real expensive
The look and feel without the expense. These units can create the look and warmth of a traditional fireplace, yet they don't require the expense and effort of building a masonry fireplace structure.
Natural gas log sets create the look and feel of an open wood-burning fireplace. Chosen mostly for decoration, log sets are less energy efficient than sealed combustion gas fireplaces. Without a glass-fronted enclosure, log sets lose some of the warm air from the room up the chimney.
A simple alternative to real logs
Log sets come in different sizes and shapes to simulate various types of wood.
No special venting required
Log sets are typically installed in existing fireplace openings, and vented up the chimney with the flue dampers open.
A choice of styles and models
Log sets come in an assortment of configurations and can be operated manually or by a wall-mounted switch or remote control.
Fireplace buying tips
There are thousands of gas fireplaces available today, offering infinite designs and styles from high-heat functional to low-heat decorative models. Before choosing your gas fireplace, consider these points:
Location: where is the fireplace going to go?
- If it’s going in an existing fireplace, you should limit your search to an insert model fireplace.
- If the fireplace is to be vented up an existing chimney, ask your contractor about a suitable approved gravity-venting chimney liner.
- If it’s a direct vent, make sure there is adequate clearance on the exterior wall.
Size: how much heat output do you need?
- You may not need a powerful gas fireplace if you also have natural gas space heating. A contractor can advise you on the Btu needed to complement your current heating equipment.
- Consider whether looks are more important than heating performance.
- Measure the space you’re filling and decide what physical dimensions will be right for the room size and layout.
Style: what will complement the space?
- Consider what kind of style, colour and trim will work best with the room décor.
- If there’s no existing fireplace to fill, you can choose any wall or corner you like to install your new gas fireplace.
- Look at all the available styles and consider what works best – classical, traditional, rustic, grand or modern.
- With so much choice available, you should be able to get the exact combination of style, performance, energy efficiency and price to suit your design and budget.
Features: what’s important to you?
- Clear face glass panels have become popular, and look more like a real log fire.
- Consider how much heat you need to circulate. If you’re leaning toward a model with a fan or blower, note that a built-in fan can sometimes be noisy. A ceiling fan may work better for improving heat distribution in your particular room.
- Ceramic glass is usual on higher-end models. Tougher than tempered glass, ceramic withstands higher temperatures and radiates more heat.
Controls: what will work best for you?
- Many high-end models have remote controlled on/off, timer settings and temperature settings.
- Automatic “set and forget” thermostat temperature control helps ensure the room never gets too hot or uncomfortable.
- With a wide variable-setting “turndown” range you have more control over heat levels; you can moderate your gas usage and improve energy efficiency.
Energy efficiency: what will be better long term?
- EnerChoice ratings are relative to the gas fireplace – meaning that you can still get a high-efficiency gas fireplace that is not huge, or hugely expensive.
- A direct vented unit is always going to be more energy efficient than a gravity-vented insert. Ask your contractor for guidance. Biggest is not always best.
- When considering the energy cost of your unit, an old rule of thumb was that it cost approximately 1 cent per 1,000 Btu per hour. Realistically, the Btu input of the unit and current gas cost will influence actual cost. Your gas fireplace retailer may be able to help you estimate energy consumption and operating costs.
Installation: who will install it?
- A gas fireplace must be installed by a qualified professional. Ask your fireplace retailer or look in the Yellow Pages or online under “Heating Contractors.”
- Most fireplace retailers will have a dedicated installer who can install your fireplace, or work with your builder to install it during new construction.
- Make sure the manufacturer’s warranty is to your liking and that the installer fulfills the terms and conditions and obtains the requisite permits.
Indoor fireplace venting
Gas fireplaces need to be properly vented to the outdoors. Venting choices include gravity vented, direct vented and power vented. Log set fireplaces must be gravity vented.
Gravity (natural draft) venting
A gravity-vented fireplace draws the air it needs for combustion from the room in which it is installed. As hot air rises, the gravity vent takes advantage of the natural draft caused by the flames, to expel the products of combustion to the outside.
With a gravity-vented fireplace:
- hot air rises to exhaust products of combustion out of the building
- it’s often installed in an existing chimney cavity using a flexible chimney liner
- it's sometimes installed with a sheet-metal chimney liner
- some heated room air can be lost as it draws combustion air from the room
An alternative to utilizing an existing chimney is to use a B-vent. A B-vent is also a gravity venting system, but has concentric pipes—an inner pipe, which allows hot gases to escape, and an outer pipe, which provides a buffer of cooling air. The space between the inner and outer pipes can be insulated or be a stagnant air area. Do not confuse this with direct-vent piping.
With a B-vented fireplace:
- the double wall design allows the vent to be installed close to combustible surfaces and materials
- it can be installed without masonry or a fireplace structure
- it uses the principle of “hot air rises” to exhaust products of combustion out of the building
- some heated room air can be lost with a B-vented fireplace as it draws combustion air from the room
These fireplaces don’t require a chimney and can be installed on any outside wall. Venting can then be run for a limited distance through the wall or roof.
With a direct-vented fireplace:
- the “sealed combustion” design is heat and energy efficient because the unit doesn't use room air for combustion or lose warm room air via the vent
- no products of combustion spill into the home, ensuring good indoor air quality
- direct venting offers unlimited installation options for renos and new construction
Power venting is used where the combustion by-products have farther to travel or where gravity or direct venting is impractical for structural reasons.
Indoor fireplace maintenance
A fireplace insert that draws combustion air from the room will also attract dust, carpet fibres and pet hairs over time. When these particles combust, they can leave a slight powdery residue on the inside of the glass. Periodic cleaning of the glass and light dusting of the logs is relatively simple, provided you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Before cleaning anything
- Turn your fireplace completely off, including the pilot light.
- Wait for the unit to cool down completely.
- Put down a drop sheet to protect your carpets.
- When the glass is cool, put on gloves and eye protection.
- Refer to the manufacturer's manual for instructions about opening the glass panel or removing it.
Cleaning the glass
- Ensure the glass is at room temperature. Wiping hot glass with a damp cloth can cause thermal shock that can break the glass.
- Remove the glass and its frame, remembering the position of the glass and the gasket(s), and clean the glass.
- If the glass or the gasket(s) appear to be damaged or degraded, contact a licensed gas contractor before using the fireplace again.
- Don't use abrasive cleaners on the glass - use cleaners recommended by the manufacturer.
Cleaning the inside of the firebox
- If you're attempting to clean control compartments, burners and other working parts, use a soft brush or gently vacuum with a brush attachment.
- If your fireplace is installed during construction or renovations, don't operate it until the working parts have been thoroughly cleaned of drywall dust and other contaminants.
- Moving the logs in an attempt to clean them may disturb their safe, efficient operation. It is better to consult a licensed gas contractor.
There are almost always warning signs that a fireplace isn’t working properly, including:
- pilot light outages
- "booming" noises on ignition
- delayed ignition (slow to start up)
- excessive soot or corrosion inside the fireplace or on the vent
- the smell of rotten eggs or sulphur, or a sharp odour that causes your eyes to sting
- symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: nausea, headaches, lethargy or other flu-like symptoms