Components of A Gas Installation

Fireplaces consist of a fire surround, a mantel (or mantelpiece), a back panel, the hearth and the fire or basket fire itself.  A wide selection of materials is now available for each element.  Gas fires come in two broad categories:

  • Traditional – Combining the fire itself with mantels, hearths and back panels in a range of natural stone, slate, tiles or marble finishes
  • Contemporary – Often ‘Hole in the Wall’ gas fires that fit into your chimney breast, with many modern designs actually being free-standing.  This allows them to be larger and either fitted into the chimney breast or free-standing.

Traditional Gas Fires

Traditional gas fires are designed to suit period and classically designed interiors. Most traditional inset gas fires fit into a standard size opening (height 22″, width 16″). The most common finishes are black and brass and many of these fires have magnetic trims, allowing easy maintenance and to change the fire appearance you can simply change the trims. Some traditional gas fires have one-piece fascia frames, usually made of cast iron, which suit cast iron back panels, or dark marble interiors.

  • Wall mounted gas fires, also known as ‘hang-on-the-wall‘ gas fires, are increasingly popular in modern homes. They are available in a large range of sizes and styles, and can usually be installed without a hearth (subject to manufacturers’ guidance) – a huge space saver in smaller rooms.  Open fronted wall fires lose heat up the chimney and for this reason they are usually bought as decorative features rather than as a main heat source. Glass fronted wall fires generally give out more heat because the combustion products circulate the fire bed for longer.
  • Outset gas fires offer impressive heat outputs, and are suitable for most chimney or flue types. Installation can be performed within a fireplace, standing on a hearth, or wall hung without a surround.  Outset fires tend to be traditionally styled and some have wood casings that match your furniture. Common options include high level switches (popular with elderly people) and radiant and convector models.
  • Glass fronted gas fires offer higher efficiency, meaning they are eco-friendly and reduce home fuel bills. They are available in many styles including inset and hole-in-the-wall, often with a choice of fuel bed. The glass panels are easy to remove for annual maintenance. Families with small children often opt for this type of fire, but please note the glass front will get very hot when in use. Care should be taken to prevent children getting too close, for example use of a suitable fire guard.
  • Balanced flue gas fires are glass fronted and available as both inset and outset models. Balanced flue gas fires vent directly through an external wall by means of a horizontal co-axial pipe (one pipe within another). Air is drawn in through the outer pipe, and combustion gases are expelled through the inner pipe. Balanced flue fires do not require an electricity supply.
  • Powerflue gas fires are available as both inset and outset models and do not require a glass front. Flue gases are vented through an external wall, drawn out by an electronically driven fan unit. The fan unit is controlled by a sophisticated microprocessor which monitors performance and shuts off the fire in the unlikely event of an operation failure. Powerflue fires require an electricity supply.
  • Flueless gas fires work without any kind of chimney or flue, and don’t need to be installed on an external wall. As the fire burns, combustion gases pass through a catalytic converter within the appliance. This converts poisonous carbon monoxide into harmless carbon dioxide and water vapour, which can safely be released back into the room. Flueless gas fires do require a minimum room size and fixed ventilation, please consult your qualified gas fitter before purchase.

Contemporary Gas Fires

Contemporary gas fires offer a huge range of options to suit modern interiors.   Contemporary gas fires are often ‘Hole in the Wall’ gas fires, but many modern designs are very large stand alone gas fires, either inserted into the chimney breast or free standing, using conventional flues or balanced flues.

As well as inset fires to go into a fireplace, there are ‘hang-on-the-wall’ and ‘hole-in-the-wall’ fires which can be installed without a hearth. Trims and fascias are available in a wide range of finishes including chrome, brushed steel, stainless steel and stone.  It is also common to have a choice of fuel effect, such as pebbles, logs, charcoal and coal. With such a wide variety of options you are sure to find the ideal modern gas fire for your home.

Traditional vs Contemporary Gas Fires

Type Advantages Disadvantages Image

Open Basket Fires

Suitable for Class 1 flues only

Beautiful decorative flame effect with either coals, logs or pebbles

Can be made to fit any size of basket or opening

Manual or remote control

20% efficiency (most heat goes up the flue)

If flue is defective, liner will be required

Regulations require a floor or wall vent to be fitted

Can be expensive to run for only 1-2kW heat output

open-basket-fire
Insert Gas Fire

Can be fitted into traditional 22″ x 16″ opening. Larger fires available

More efficient than open DFE (up to 50% efficiency)

Manual, slide or remote control

Good amount of heat output, typically 4kW

Generally, no extra ventilation required (where gas input < 7kW)

Consistent flame picture

As a rule, unsuitable for traditional cast arches, although some exist

Gas fires manufactured to suit each other?

If flue is defective, a 7″ liner will be required

insert-gas-fire
 Insert Convector

Can be fitted into traditional 22″ x 16″ opening

Good heat output – around 4kW

60% efficiency

Good heat projection around the room

Consistent flame picture

Choice of frames and front frets, or complete decorative fronts

Manual, slide or remote control

Usually has hooded convector at top of fire

Unsuitable for traditional cast arches, although some exist

Arch Gas Fires manufactured to suit each other?

insert-convector
Glass Fronted High Efficiency

Can be fitted into traditional 22″ x 16″ opening

78 – 80% efficiency

Good heat output – around 4kW

Consistent flame picture

No downdraught from flue into the room

Choice of frames and front frets, or complete decorative fronts

Manual, slide or remote control

Usually has hooded convector at top of fire

Unsuitable for traditional cast arches, although some exist

Arch Gas Fires manufactured to suit each other?

glass-fronted-high-efficiency
Open Fronted Contemporary Gas Fires

Can be fitted into traditional 22″ x 16″ opening

More efficient than open DFE (up to 50% efficiency)

Consistent flame picture

Good amount of heat

No extra ventilation where gas input < 7kW

5″ flue is less expensive

Some may need added ventilation  – if gas input exceeds 7kW

If flue is defective, a 7″ liner will be required

open-fronted-contemporary-gas-fires
Glass Fronted Insert Gas Fires

78-80% efficiency

Good heat output, can be very hot

Consistent flame picture

No downdraught from flue into the room, no heat going up the flue

Choice of frames and fronts, or complete decorative fronts

Manual, slide or remote control (usually remote)

5″ flue is less expensive

Sometimes extra ventilation required

If flue is defective, a 7″ liner will be required

glass-fronted-insert-gas-fires

Gas Stoves

Can be traditional or contemporary

High efficiency – 75-80%

Can be balanced flue or conventional flue

Can be freestanding or installed into recess

No vent required in the room if the input gas is < 7kW

5″ flue is less expensive

gas-stoves

Most gas fires are fitted with manual controls as standard. They often have the option to upgrade to either a slide control, where operation of the gas fire is controlled by a lever at the top of the appliance, which is ideal for older users, or a hand held remote control, which is optional on many gas fires, and means that the fire can be controlled from the comfort of your armchair.

Product Availability

Generally, all products have good availability throughout the year, but flues and installations can be less expensive during the summer months.  Lead time is usually 3 to 7 days.  In the run up to Christmas, we always advise pre-booking your installation slot as they can become very popular at that time of year.

Price Ranges

A typical high efficiency glass fronted gas fire to suit a 16″ x 22″ opening will cost in the range from £400 to £1,000 fully installed (including VAT). However, larger insert cassette gas fires can range from £2,000 to £6,000 (including VAT), as they generally require more building and installation work and take longer to do in creating an opening to match the size of the cassette. Also, they can require a complete rebuild of the chimney breast to suit your choice of contemporary gas fires.

You should note that all price quotations will be subject to site survey, as in particular there may be variations arising as a result of flue condition or specific installation requirements.