Electric / Gas Fires & Fireplaces - Frequently Asked Questions
Fires and Fireplaces:
Q. Do all high efficiency gas fires need to be glass fronted?
A. No, we have a range of open gas fires that are almost as efficient but with a much enhanced view of the flame effect.
Q. What will it cost me to run a Low Energy electric fire on light only?
A. As an example, a Dimplex Low Energy bulb will cost 1p per hour.
Q. What kind of gas fire will suit my home?
A. If you have a built-in chimney or flue, you should check if it is a ‘Class 1’ or ‘Class 2’ flue:
Class 1 Flues are typically traditional brick built chimneys – often found in houses originally built with coal fires (before 1970) and some newer houses.
Class 2 Flues come in two main types:
- A flue Box/chamber connected to a 5” internal diameter pipe or flexible flue liner.
- A ‘Pre-Cast’ flue – these are made from concrete pre-cast sections which are built into the inner leaf of the house wall and connect to a ‘Ridge Vent’ on the roof via a 5” pipe (in the loft space). These are found typically in houses built in the 1970’s and 1980’s and usually only take a very shallow inset gas fire.
If you have no flue, you have a choice of:
Balanced Flue gas fires – these are always behind glass and usually the flue goes straight out of the back of the fire through the outside wall (there are some which can have a longer flue). Balanced flue fires are ‘room sealed’ and draw their combustion air from outside the house, they are quite quiet in operation.
Power Flue gas fires are usually open fronted and have a fan to draw the flue gasses from the fire through the wall (the fan is fitted with a safety interlock to ensure that the fire can only be lit if the fan is working correctly). Rear and side flue versions are available – the side flue is in the form of a duct which runs along the wall at skirting board level. The open coal effect power-flue fires generally look more realistic than the balanced flue versions, but have the disadvantage that the fan makes some noise (this is a very subjective thing and people who are easily upset by extraneous noises should think twice before buying a fan flued fire).
Flueless gas fires are a relatively new idea and they use a catalytic converter to ‘clean’ the flue gasses, which are discharged into the room. There are strict specifications for the minimum size of room which can accommodate a flueless fire and they also need a dedicated wall vent to combat any potential condensation problems. Flueless fires are 100% efficient.
Q. Are electric fires available with alternative fuel effect beds?
A. Yes, they are, if you do not like the fuel effect that comes as standard we can supply alternatives.
Q. What power of fire do I need for my room?
A. A rough guide to the heat requirements of a room can be calculated by measuring the volume of the room (length x width x height) in feet and multiply by 0.0015 – this gives the approximate heat requirement for a room in kilowatts:
Example: Room size 15’ x 12’ x 8’ = 1,440 cubic feet
x 0.0015 = 2.16 kW
Over-sizing a fire (particularly a gas fire) in a house may mean that you will hardy ever turn it on! A correctly sized fire is more effective in use and with the increasing use of central heating, the new generation of electric fires are becoming more popular.
Q. My gas fire coals (or pebbles) are sooty – is there something wrong?
A. Probably not! Most
modern open-fronted gas fires burn with
a slightly luminous flame (for good visual
effect) – this contains unburned carbon
particles, some of which are deposited as
soot on the coals, pebbles, etc. A lot of
this soot will burn off as the fire is used,
but some may remain. You can clean the coals
by brushing carefully with a soft paintbrush,
or similar, and be careful to put the coals
back in the correct positions – check
the manufacturers instructions – as
this can be very important on some fires!
We can also supply special paint for gas
coals, etc., to restore their appearance,
BUT, DO NOT use normal paints – they
may be flammable and hence very dangerous!
P.S. Don’t try to wash or scrub coals / pebbles – it will ruin them!
Q. I want a ‘Hole in the Wall’ Gas Fire – Do I need a Hearth?
A. The rules which required a hearth for all open-fronted gas fires have been relaxed, BUT, it is now up to the manufacturers to specify if a fire is suitable to be installed without a hearth. Many manufacturers recommend using a hearth to protect carpets and flooring from soot and other material falling out of the fire. If in doubt, as for advice, but consider any possible problems which may arise by not having a hearth!