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Old 10-19-2016, 04:07 PM
 
1,353 posts, read 1,264,463 times
Reputation: 1957

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Looking to add a fireplace to our home in the future. Wood is illegal, plumbing for natural gas might get pricey and electric fireplaces look silly.

I like what I am seeing for the newer gel fuel technology, it doesn't need to be vented or anything. Anyone have any experience with these? I have never seen them in a store or in person, just online https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...WDYDG33HTZSBHH
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Old 10-20-2016, 04:22 AM
 
39,189 posts, read 40,571,673 times
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Other than for aesthetics forget it. They don't put out a lot of heat and the cost for the heat they do put out is astronomical, when I say that it's not an exaggeration. For some perspective and off the top of my head if it costs you something like $2K to heat your house for the seaso it would coast you $20K if you tried to do it gel. It's a very costly heat source so it should not even be a consideration in your decision making process if that is what you want it for.
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Old 10-20-2016, 10:56 AM
 
1,353 posts, read 1,264,463 times
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Thanks for the feedback. The room heats ok, so its really more of an ambience thing anyway. I have heard natural gas doesn't heat all that well either and wood isn't an option and electric looks to phony. So I might bite the bullet and give it a shot!
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Old 10-20-2016, 11:37 AM
 
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I have had a gel fireplace in my living room for the past several years.

I purchase the fuel from Amazon, about $75 for 24 cans. I burn three cans at once for what you might call 'maximum visual effect'. The cans last less than 3 hours, so for a 9 hour run, it's about 9 cans, for a cost of $30. Additionally, the manufacturer recommends not to leave the fire unattended - you'll want to stay in the room to keep an eye on it while the fire is going. So it's definitely neither practical nor cost effective; at best, it's for ambiance during social occasions.

While the fire burns, it will raise the heat in my 12x14 living room by 10 degrees F. Additionally, there can be a slight chemical odor in the air as the fuel burns. I don't really notice it, but if you're sensitive to such things, you'll probably hate that.

The flame itself is actual flames between 6 and 12 inches in height and the brand of gel fuel that I purchase has beads in it which make a crackling sound as the gel burns. This affect mimics the effects of a real fire place, but no one will ever mistake it for an actual wood fire.

If I had to rank the ambiance of fireplaces from best to worst, it would be
  1. wood burning fireplace
  2. <...big step down...>
  3. moderate to expensive natural gas fireplace (I've seen one of the expensive ones in person at a fireplace store, it was about $10K but it was amazingly realistic)
  4. alcohol fuel fireplace (but only in a modern style)
  5. gel fuel fireplace
  6. cheap natural gas fireplace (my sister has one, and its flame is kind of sad, kind of like a backyard propane grill)
  7. electric fireplace

As I rarely use it for fires, the fireplace really functions more as a tall, wide and shallow console table most of the time.
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Old 10-21-2016, 02:40 AM
 
39,189 posts, read 40,571,673 times
Reputation: 16071
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajonesaz View Post
I have heard natural gas doesn't heat all that well either
The gas will heat fine, the BTU output on them is usually not that high but it doesn't really need to be. What I can tell you is it will blow the gel away for both heating capacity and running cost. Something else to consider is you can get units that do not require power to operate, they may not operate 100% because the heat distribution fan will be non operational but it will still put heat into the house. If you live in a colder climate it can also be functional during a power outage.

Quote:
and electric looks to phony.
I'd agree, not sure why anyone would even bother. I don't even like the gas fireplaces with the fake logs. If I was going to put on in I'd probably go with a modern looking design without the fake wood.

Last edited by thecoalman; 10-21-2016 at 02:49 AM..
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