5 Stacked Firebox Units – Case Study

VGF has designed and installed many custom projects over the years, indoor, outdoor, large, and small. Here you’ll find a collection a few favourite projects, some straight-forward, some filled with challenges, and others that are just plain ‘ole fun. We put them together to form the Vancouver Gas Fireplaces Custom Case Studies.



Last spring the Vancouver Gas Fireplace Custom Fireplace Team took on a project that was very unique in its scope. The design, for the main lounge of a downtown Vancouver restaurant, called for five identical linear fire features with glass fronts approximately five feet wide by fourteen inches high. These boxes were stacked above each other with about two feet between them, creating a wall of fire stretching up for two stories. The five stacked firebox units were finished with white marble which was heavily veined in black and gold.

The lounge area is open to a second floor level of the restaurant and the fire units create a mesmerizing effect while providing an inviting, dramatic feeling to the space.

This design is entirely original in its nature. The look of the burners and the interior of the fireboxes were chosen specifically for the project by the designer from an amalgam of styles we showed her. The burners were set up with flames coming through a bed of black crushed glass that covered the bases of the units. The flame effect was enhanced by the installation of one-foot stainless panels into the backs and sides of the fireboxes.

There is a common thread to many of the custom installation projects we do, providing us with certain expectations around setting up and balancing units. Stacking five units like this provided us with a new set of challenges in terms of venting and heat issues.

Interestingly enough, we discovered a fairly significant variation in the venting characteristics from the bottom to the top units. The heat build-up in the lower units affected the flame more than it did in the upper units. This heat build-up eventually affected the wiring to the ignition modules, requiring us to relocate them.

The VGF Custom Fireplace Team fine-tuned airflow balance in the individual units by varying the fan speed of the vent-top draft inducers and working with the adjustable dampers that we designed into the fireboxes.

Another challenge was the increasing negative pressure build-up in the space as the day and night wore on (the units are on for over twelve hours a day). To achieve the cleanest finish possible, the glass had been just loose-fit into the fireboxes, leaving small 1/16- to just under ¼-inch gaps at the sides of the glass.

As the day progressed, these small gaps affected the air pressure in the units. The negative pressure in the building increased with the use of kitchen equipment, causing the flames on some of the units to get flattened out and, in some cases, actually go out as combustion air (which was being brought into the units separately) was being pulled out of the units through the firebox. To counteract this effect we designed discrete strips to be installed at the sides of the glass panels, sealing the fireboxes off from the atmospheric effects of the restaurant.

This project, with its short lead time and unique installation and operational challenges, has provided the VGF Custom Fireplace Team with valuable knowledge which we can apply to future projects. It has also given us a final result which we are very proud of.

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Vancouver Gas Fireplaces’ custom fabrications and installations are designed and tested to exceed UL/ULC standards and associated sections pertaining to the harmonized North American Gas Code.
In British Columbia our custom projects are subject to an
independent preliminary review by the Equipment Approvals Manager of the Gas Safety Authority of British Columbia and a subsequent field review and inspection by Independent Arms Length Government Inspectors.
Our installations and fabrications outside of British Columbia have been independently tested and approved by ULC, Inreteck and other certified and recognized independent testing agencies through out North America as specifically required by local jurisdictions.