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Frequently Asked Questions

Please also see our Glossary of terms.  More frequently asked questions will be added as time allows and as questions are submitted.

What is a BTU? - A Btu is defined as the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Appliances are rated at BTUs per hour for both input and output.  As a benchmark, most portable electric heater product about 5,000 BTU’s per hour the highest setting.  

Which units will operate during a power failure? - A gas appliance that has a pilot flame will continue to produce heat without electricity. The blower will not work, but you will get radiant and convection heat. These gas units have been tested for safety without power. If power outages are a common occurrence in your area, it is very important to look for a stove made from heavy-gauge metal. Wood stoves, of course, require no electricity to function, so power outages will have no effect on their operation. Pellet stoves require electricity for both the fans and the auger, so they will not run during an outage. Battery back-ups are available, or you can run one with a generator.

Which manufacturer makes the best products? - Unfortunately, there is no black-and-white answer to this question. All of the manufacturers we do business with are highly reputable and stand behind their products. There are so many variables that will affect your stove choice, including the style you like, the amount of space you're heating, whether you are looking for primary or supplementary heat, what your venting requirements are, etc.

Is it legal to operate my stove if there is a burn ban? - Modern gas stoves burn so cleanly and efficiently that they are exempt from EPA emissions standards. The EPA requirement for wood stoves is 4.5 grams of particulate matter per hour. All of the units we handle fall far below that mark.  They are all certified EPA Phase II, which is the newest and strictest standard.

What is the difference between catalytic and non-catalytic woodstoves? - Both of these terms refer to the method used to reduce emissions and increase efficiency. Catalytic combustion has been used for years. It is very similar to what has been put on car exhaust systems to help them meet emissions standards. It is a chemical reaction that makes the combustor ignite the gases that would have gone up the chimney as smoke. The gases are burned, creating more heat, as well as a cleaner burn and higher efficiency. A non-catalytic combustion system includes tubes or plates that inject air into the firebox at strategic places and times to encourage more complete combustion. This system keeps the door glass clean, by injecting air to keep the smoke off the window, making it much more enjoyable to watch the fire. Non-catalytic is the newest technology in wood stoves.

Can a new unit be installed using my existing chimney? - Although this is a common question it is very difficult to answer generically.  You may or may not be able to. In order to pass inspection, and meet the current NFPA 211 code the venting has to be the same system all the way up, and has to be U.L. listed for the stove you are installing.  There are also considerations for lining type, condition and size…. Bigger is not always better.

Why is there film on the glass of my gas fireplace? - This is a normal result of the curing process of the paint and logs. Glass should be cleaned within 4-6 hours of initial burning to remove deposits left by oils from the manufacturing process. A non-abrasive cleanser such as Brasso may be necessary, but not usually.  FlameWorks also stocks 3 different kind of ceramic glass cleaners made just for stoves and fireplaces. 

If I install the optional doors or fronts on a gas fireplaces, do I have to leave the glass panel in place? - The glass panel must remain in place, but on many models the appearance of the glass is masked by the optional fronts.

What is the difference between a Direct Vent unit and a B-Vent unit? - A direct vent fireplace is a sealed unit that gets its combustion air from outside of the home. The direct vent pipe can vent either vertical or horizontal and can use elbows to go around obstructions. B-Vent units use combustion air from the home but can be enhanced with an outside air kit. B-Vent pipe must terminate vertically and you must follow the installation instructions of the B-Vent manufacturer.

Is it okay to burn wood or other materials inside a gas fireplace? - No other materials may be burned inside a gas fireplace. The gas fireplace is designed and certified by UL specifically to burn only LP or Natural Gas. Burning wood has a much higher peak temperature that can not only permanently impair the fireplace itself, but also provide a real fire danger to your home and occupants. Even something as simple as burning paper can harm the fireplace's internal controls and possibly overheat and break the glass.

How do your gas fireplaces vent? - The majority of FlameWorks gas fireplaces and inserts are direct vent (DV). This means they have a fixed glass front which seals the gas burner and combustion firebox off from your home. 100% of the combustion air used by the fireplace comes from outside the home through a coaxial pipe. A smaller pipe inside the larger pipe eliminates all combustible gases, maintaining indoor air quality. The vent can be run horizontally through an outside wall, or vertically through the roof, depending on your preference.

What is the cost to operate? - This varies by region, by gas utility and by fuel type. Based on national averages, a gas fireplace consuming 27,000 BTU's per hour will cost from 12-15 cents/hour to operate. LP units are slightly higher to operate. Your monthly gas bill should include your exact cost per therm (100,000 BTU's). Based on this rate, and the BTU input listed on the rating plate on your fireplace, you can calculate the cost for your area.

How much gas does the pilot light use? - This will vary by model, by gas utility and by fuel type. The pilot is consuming 600 to 900 BTU's an hour. Your monthly gas bill should include your exact cost per therm (100,000 BTU's). Based on this rate, you can calculate the cost for your area.

Can I shut the pilot off in the summer? - Yes, or you can safely leave it burning. The pilot helps keep the moisture from inside the firebox, which is caused from the humidity in the air. It also will extend the life of the thermopile and thermocouple when the pilot is left on.

Is “direct vent” the same thing as Unvented or ventless? - No. Direct vent fireplaces use a sealed glass front to completely isolate combustion gasses and moisture from your home. This is especially important in new construction homes that are built very tightly to comply with today’s energy codes. Un-vented fireplaces are designed to expel combustion gases and moisture directly back into the room. Ventless or unvented are illegal in some states and municipalities.

Does a direct vent need to be on an outside wall? - No, with today’s venting options, hearth products can be installed very economically almost anywhere in the home.

What are the advantages of the direct vent fireplace? - Direct vent technology is available in single-sided or multi-sided fireplaces, as well as freestanding and insert models. They use a sealed combustion chamber that vents out the back or top, to the outside. This allows easy installation of a beautiful and realistic fireplace without the expense of a traditional chimney system. Because no room air is used for combustion, direct vents are especially efficient (up to 92%) and will not alter the quality of your room air. All combustion air is drawn from outside the home and 100% of the combustion by-products are exhausted to the outside.

Can a blower be added to my fireplace, gas or wood? - Blowers are optional on most heat circulating (grilles on top and bottom of fireplace) units, and some hearth products the blower is standard. Adding a blower is easily accomplished if power (110 VAC) was provided to the electrical junction box of the fireplace at the time of initial installation. If power was not provided, a fan option is still possible, but installation is complicated and therefore more costly. Contact your local dealer to determine if your particular fireplace model and installation will accept an optional blower.

Who would install the gas line? - A licensed contractor or plumber can install your gas line. Check the yellow pages or contact your nearest dealer for a recommendation.

What are my options for gas fireplaces besides direct vents? - Non-sealed combustion models are also available (B Vents) when a direct vent installation is impractical. Direct vent models are the preferred system for the benefits of greater efficiencies and the sealed combustion chamber.

Does the fireplace come in LP gas? - Yes. Some models can be ordered as either a natural gas or LP unit, or an LP conversion kit can be ordered with the fireplace.

What happens if I lose my electricity? - As long as your gas fireplace has a standing pilot ignition system, it will still operate during a power outage. (Some electronic ignition fireplaces will not operate without electricity.) Since the fan requires 110VAC to function, it will not be operable in an outage. NOTE: If you have a remote control on your fireplace, you most likely will need to turn your fireplace on manually during a power outage. This is done by locating the ON/OFF rocker switch located behind the lower grille of your fireplace, and turning it to the ON position.

Can the gas fireplace be installed in a bedroom? - Yes. Most building codes allow the installation of a gas fireplace in a sleeping room as long as it is a sealed combustion, direct vent model.

If I want to convert my woodburning fireplace to gas, is a set of gas logs or a gas insert going to be my best option? - Your decision really comes down to whether heat or aesthetics is your number one priority. If heat is your first concern, or the existing wood fireplace has had a history of down drafting (smoking), you should purchase a gas insert. If your wood fireplace vents properly, and you’re not really looking for additional heat into the room, gas logs would be the logical choice. From an initial cost standpoint, an insert will cost 4 to 5 times more than a set of gas logs. However; since decorative gas logs are inefficient and a direct vent insert has an operating efficiency in the 70% range, your payback on the fuel you will save is about five years. After that the insert begins saving you money.

I live in a warm climate and I don’t want heat. What are my options? - Too much heat can sometimes be an issue even in colder climates. There are several fireplace models which allow you to control the amount of heat coming into the room. These units have a simple control which sends more or less heat out the venting system. Some models also have the option to duct heat to a different room (heat-zone) or into the home's heat circulation system (heat-duct). Electric fireplaces are also available which have the option to provide heat or the heat can be turned off.

How often do I have to clean the gas fireplace and vent? - Although the frequency of your fireplace servicing and maintenance will depend on use and the type of installation, you should have a qualified service technician perform an appliance check-up at the beginning of each heating season.