A gas stove is a highly efficient and easy to control heat source with the charm, ambiance, and comfort of a real wood stove, but with no mess!
In choosing a gas stove, be aware that there can be significant differences in the level of efficiency between one unit and another. Be sure to check the Canadian Energuide rating – anything over 60% is good. The top 25% on the market for energy efficiency will be designated as being Enerchoice.
Next, consider the maximum and minimum BTU (British Thermal Units), which measures how much heat the stove will deliver. A high of 24,000 – 30,000 BTU would be considered average, with some fireplaces going as high as 40,000 BTU or even higher. Many stoves will turn down to only 50% of their high BTU rating, despite the fact that many people would like to be able to operate their fireplace on “low”. Try to find a fireplace which is certified to operate on the lowest BTU possible.
Look at the flame pattern to make sure it is realistic and to your liking. In our experience this is a very personal choice so make sure you see the stove burning and don’t trust the pictures in the brochures! Consider also how the stove is controlled. Most are operated using some variety of a thermostatic remote control, which may or may not be offered as part of the purchase price. Some will only turn the unit on and off, others will modulate the flame up and down at a few discrete levels, while still others will provide a continuous up and down flame pattern. Increasingly remote controls will also operate the 110 volt fan, which will be offered as an option, as well as lighting and extinguishing the pilot light, should that feature be available on the unit in question.
No matter how you choose to control your unit, and whether or not you choose to add an electric fan, your gas stove will continue to be fully operational in the event of a power failure, providing a convenient and comforting source of heat where most other heating options have stopped operating.
Finally, consider whether you want a stove made of steel, cast iron, or soapstone. Steel delivers high amounts of heat in a short period of time but it also cools quite quickly when you stop supplying it with fuel. Cast iron and soapstone provide more comfortable, even heat over much longer periods of time – they are also significantly more expensive than steel to produce, meaning that cast iron and soapstone stoves will tend to cost more.
A gas stove can be installed practically anywhere you like in your home, does not require any framing or finishing, and it can often sit right on your existing floor. In choosing the best location, you will need to consider how the unit will be vented. The vast majority of today’s gas stoves are direct vent, which is really a pipe within a pipe, serving the needs both of combustion air and exhaust. Unlike a wood stove, gas stove venting does not need to extend above the roof line. This means that a gas stoves can be vented out a side wall or up through the roof. If you already have a masonry chimney, it is possible to use this to vent your gas stove through the installation of a liner.
Still have questions? Stop by the Comox Fireplace & Patio showroom to learn more about gas stoves! Our experienced staff are here to answer your questions.
Comox Fireplace & Patio also offers gas stove installation to customers in the Comox Valley, Campbell River, and Vancouver Island.
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