Different Types of Gas Fireplaces & Our Favourite Brands
There are many reasons you may decide upon a gas fireplace. You can avoid the mess and labor required of maintaining a wood-burning fireplace, run a safe and clean burn, save money on bills, ensure heat in a power-outage and heat your space efficiently.
Not all gas fireplaces are created equal, and it’s important to know what to prioritize when beginning your search for a gas fireplace and be informed about what different brands can offer. To help you out, we’ve outlined what we love most about some of our favourite brands. First, here’s a primer on how zero clearance gas fireplaces work.
The Bentley 48 gas fireplace by Marquis
Gas Fireplace vs. Insert
When most people speak of a gas fireplace, they are referring to a zero clearance gas fireplace, which is a prefabricated firebox that will be installed into an area where there is no existing fireplace. Otherwise, they mean a gas insert, which is installed into an existing masonry fireplace. For this blog we will discuss zero-clearance gas fireplaces, which means that the fireplace can be installed with almost no distance between the fireplace and combustible materials. As opposed to traditional fireplaces, zero clearance means a chimney and a hearth is not required.
Gas Insert Diagram (credit – Fireplace Xtrordinair)
Gas fireplaces are perfect for new constructions or for people who want to add a fireplace into a space. Thanks to direct-venting, there’s no need to have an existing chimney to be able to install a fireplace.
Gas inserts are typically for home renovations or people who want to bring modernity and efficiency to their traditional fireplace. Old masonry fireplaces combust by taking inside air and losing it up the chimney – a highly inefficient heating mechanism.
The Q1 Gas Insert by Enviro
Most modern fireplaces use direct venting. Rather than taking air from the room, a direct vent system uses two pipes -one brings in air from inside through one pipe, the other releases combustion fumes back outside. This dual system keeps a steady distribution of air, minimising heat loss. No heat is lost into the room as the fireplace or insert is sealed with a glass front. You don’t need to vent upwards, so there is no need for a chimney. You can either use an existing chimney or vent straight out horizontally through a wall.
Diagram of a direct vent system (credit – Fireplace Xtrordinair)
B-Venting was the system used in older condos and homes. It is inefficient as it takes air from the inside of your home (whether it is heated or not), to ignite the flame and combusts via a single pipe, losing heat up the chimney and requiring replacement air to come from outside of the home as a result. If there is existing b-venting in place, there are a few options to continue using the existing venting. A small handful of gas fireplaces that are set up for b-venting are produced today, and there are also inserts that can adapt to this venting style. One company that does this well, the first of our favourite brands, is Valor Fireplaces.
The H3 gas fireplace by Valor can be adapted to b-venting
Valor, also known as Miles Industries is a superb manufacturer of fireplaces, located locally in North Vancouver, BC. They specialize in gas fireplaces, offering a range of sizes, styles and capabilities. In addition to their gas fireplaces, they have an impressive line of gas inserts, and a couple of gas stoves.
Many of their fireplaces can be equipped with HeatShift technology, which is a system that redirects heat away from the wall and enables you to hang art or a tv above the fireplace without worrying about damage. Another standout option with Valor is their B-Vent adaptor kit for enabling installation in an older, B-Vented system.
Valor builds stylish fireplaces and inserts for the modern home, allowing you to customize the appearance of the fireplace to suit your styling. You can choose different fireplace media (logs and rocks), liners (the back panel of the fireplace) and trims (the front of the fireplace).
|Example of customization options – Valor G3.5 Insert|
Birch Logs, Reflective Glass Liner, Craftsman Pewter front and Backing Plate.
Pebble Beach Driftwood, Fluted Black liner, and Edgemont front Brushed Nickel with a 3-sided Black trim.
If you’re looking for a high quality, high powered and efficient gas fireplace, FireplaceX is sure to have a suitable option. Based out of Washington, USA, Fireplace Xtrordinair is one of the fireplace lines underneath Travis Industries.
The innovative GreenSmart® system is included in all of FPX’s deluxe fireplaces and inserts and allows you to adjust the flame height, accent lighting, thermostat and fan speed. You can switch the pilot mode or turn the rear burner off to lower gas usage when heat is not the priority.
Just as high quality but more budget-friendly is their Probuilder line, featuring traditional clean face gas fireplaces and linear gas fireplaces. Pairing well with their linear fireplaces (but can be used in most) is their CoolSmart TV wall kit, which allows you to safely mount a TV above the fireplace.
As the largest privately owned hearth manufacturer in North America they can be trusted for their innovation and expertise in building smart and efficient fireplaces.
The Probuilder 72 Linear Deluxe Gas Fireplace by Fireplace Xtrordinair
Started on Vancouver Island in ‘89, Enviro also known as Sherwood industries has grown to become a trusted manufacturer of gas fireplaces, inserts and stoves.
With a range of stoves, inserts and fireplaces you can find the perfect unit for your space. They heat areas from 1100 sq ft. to 2300 sq ft.. All of Enviro’s fireplaces have customizable liners, trims and burner media to match the aesthetic of your space to your fireplace. The C and G series fireplaces are able to be installed outdoors as well.
Whether you are after a modern or more traditional look, Enviro has plenty of options of the highest standard.
The C34 Gas Fireplace by Enviro
Based out of Winnipeg, Marquis fireplaces are crafted entirely in Canada. Whilst the brands listed above also dabble in wood, pellet or electric products, Marquis exclusively manufactures gas fireplaces and has a wide selection of products.
As well as quality traditional and linear gas fireplace and inserts, they produce a number of multi-sided fireplaces as well as a few stoves, a specific outdoor fireplace and a firebowl. Their impressive selection will offer solutions for a number of projects, from a straightforward condo changeout, to a major renovation or a luxury design.
The Enclave multi-sided gas fireplace by Marquis
How to Choose
Acquiring awareness of high quality manufacturers is an excellent way to prepare for your fireplace search. These top manufacturers only deal to high quality fireplace retailers, so you can use their dealer locators to find your nearest one and explore further.
Beyond knowing about the best brands, finding the right gas fireplace for you will mean looking at a myriad of factors such as venting, costs, available add-ons, liner/media/trim options, efficiency ratings, local by-laws, automation settings and the list goes on. These factors often vary more within the product lines of a single manufacturer than between manufacturers, so it will come down to looking at the viable options for your space.
A fireplace is a big purchase, so the decision can take some time and you want to be educated on the best options. You’re now familiar with some superb brands, so don’t hesitate to start the conversation with a service-oriented retailer to delve deeper into the specific options for your space.
The Probuilder 36 Clean Face by Fireplace Xtrordinair
Contact Vancouver Gas Fireplaces today to find the fireplace that exceeds your expectations.