About Gas Fireplaces
Space heating (heating uo a cordoned off space) is an area where gas truly shines as a fuel source, especially in a domestic setting.
There are a few factors that combine to make gas such an awesome solution for space heating.
- Speed - probably the most significant advantage when the winter chill is nesting deeply in your bones is the blistering speed that a gas fireplace can heat a space up in. By far the fastest (and most convenient) heating option available in the SA context. (it burns hotter than wood and to try get the same instant heat out of an electric element requires obscene amounts of power)
- Convenience - The next obvious "big win" is the ease of use that a gas fireplace allows. Modern fireplaces, whether built-in or free standing, all come with ignition options that make lighting as simple as clicking a button (in some high-end cases on a remote control). This combination of simplicity and instant heat delivers a very hard to beat solution
- Safety - All domestic space heating appliances brought in to SA are required to have flame failure devices (ffd) as part of the manifold (the internal piping). These clever devices do only one thing (well). They monitor to make sure that if gas is being supplied to the burner, then the burner is burning. If this condition is not met for some reason (the flame was blown out by a strong wind say) the ffd immediately shuts off the gas supply. Also bear in mind that gas is tainted with a nasty smelling agent which ensure that if there is a gas leak - you will know about it.
- Green - No commercially available fossil fuel on earth burns cleaner than gas, the main by product of gas combustion is H20 (see humidity) along with small amounts of carbon dioxide. It really is an earth friendly form of heating. Do bear in mind that oxygen is required for gas combustion, so ventilation is really NB
- Humidity - Have you ever noticed how electric heaters seem to make the air feel "dry" (not that we need any more humidity extracted from our already barren highveld winter air). Well gas humidifies while it heats. It's true, water is the major by product of the gas combustion process.
- Convenience two - Gas is a store-able, transportable energy source. No big brother supplying you with a black box solution that you have no input into and that occasionally is subject to rolling-black-outs or "routine maintenance" or "unexpected failures". With gas you are the architect of your own destiny, always keep a spare bottle handy for unforeseen circumstances and then give MzansiGas a call to replenish what you have used. This system will ensure that you should never run out of gas - or hot water, or warm winter rooms or home cooked meals etc :-)
Types Of Gas Fireplaces
Over the years a number of different functional gas space heating lifestyle solutions have sprung up. There are a number of factors that determine the best fit for your specific needs. These include portability, aesthetics, price, size, convenience factors like remote controls and more. As a result the options available on the market can be a little intimidating to the new gas fireplace consumer.
For simplicity sake, I have attempted to structure the options into categories to give a little more clarity, of course at it's very simplest we need to differentiate between fireplaces and heaters. Fireplaces we consider anything that is located on a permanent basis in the same location. Heaters are more moveable in nature
Because they are permanent (or sometimes semi-permanent) fixtures, fireplace aesthetics are a serious consideration for homeowners. As a result a large range of possible solutions have become popular. We like to categorise them into four distinct classifications.
- Drop In - heating grates that fit into a cavity dug-out. The grates are usually flush with the surface they are dropped into.
- Built in - Traditional fireplace solution to replace the old wooden hearth. These units are built into a cavity that is constructed for them during the building stage. These units are a most popular option during the design phase of home construction as retro-fitting these units is not terribly easy. Available also in a dual stylus option so the fireplace can be shared between two adjacent rooms in the house.
- Free Standing - The most popular option for retrofitting into a room that does not have a dedicated cavity for a built-in heater. Free standing units have their own fire-box which contains the gas heating grate. Options are available both for vented units where the exhaust fumes are piped to outside as well as vent free units where the box can stand anywhere without the need for fluing.
- Radiant Style - Similar to the old European central heating radiant heaters of years gone by these modern replacements actually deliver the most convenient domestic space heating solution. They are fan assisted so they provide phenomenal space heating power, they are easily stowable so they can packed up after the winter in safe storage, they can also be moved relatively easily from room to room while still being plumbed into the gas reticulation.
- Roll about - or 3 panel heaters are the most popular indoor gas heaters. They are built on casters, the bottle fits inside the belly of the unit, and the whole unit can be rolled about from room to room inside the house. Each of the panels work independently allowing 3 different heating modes.
- Patio - Outdoor heaters have become hugely popular in South Africa both at home and in many restaurants and pups. Originally restricted to the "mushroom heater" today there is a massive range available suited to any purpose you could imagine for space heating.
- On Bottle - or camping heaters. These units are generally used for heating smaller areas or where portability is a significant constraint.
- Piping Usually copper is used to pipe the gas from the bottles located outside to the location where the fireplace is installed. This can be hidden inside the wall (by griding a new cavity and plastering closed) without any problems.
- Bottles We always suggest two bottles are kept outside in a formation where one bottle is always on and the other bottle is ready in standby mode. When the active bottles is empty you flick a switch to convert over to the other bottle and then log on to our MzansiGas service to order another bottle.
- Cage The bottles should preferably be stores outside the house in an area designated to this purpose. When bottles are stored outside they must be enclosed in a gas cage for safety's sake and general peace of mind.
- Gas Obviously quite an important component in the bigger scheme of things
- Certificate of compliance Before actually commissioning a gas installation the installer is required to check the installation for regulatory compliance (make sure it's safe) and issue a COC to confirm that this procedure was done. Once that's completed you are good to go.
In essence there are only three distinct types of gas heaters
Installing a Gas Fireplace
Gas fireplace installation is, for the most part, a quick and painless operation. A domestic gas installation usually takes about a half a day to complete. A gas installation consists of the following distinct elements
Of course, there are also incidentals such as elbows, joiners, soldering etc that are required to ensure that the piping reaches from the bottles to where the fireplace is located.
Piping can be above the surface if it's not going to be an eyesore, or alternatively, we can chase into the masonry and brickwork to hide the piping away from site.
The final component is the labour required to assemble the installation.
offers a complete turnkey solution. You can buy the fireplace, arrange the installation, supply of bottles delivery and all other aspects of getting your fireplace working directly from us. Have a consultant contact you if you are interested.