Gas Fire Fuel
Over the past decade or so, many refinements and innovations have been made to gas burning hearth products. This, along with low gas prices, has resulted in these devices becoming increasingly popular. Now, over 70% of hearth products use either natural gas or propane as their fuel of choice.
One reason for this is that gas hearth products are easy to use. You can start a fire with the flip of a switch. You don't even have to get up to do so. Many gas hearths come with a remote control that allows you to start the fire from the comfort of your living room sofa. Others come with a thermostat so that you can use your gas hearth the way you would other home heating systems. Just set the temperature at which you want the fire to come on and let the system do the rest.
To be used with a thermostat, a gas fire has to be safe, and it is. You wouldn't think of having a wood fire suddenly come on with no one there to tend it. But gas hearths produce a clean burning fire that won't throw sparks or have a semi-charred log rolling into your home. These devices come with Oxygen Depletion Sensors (ODP) as well, to make sure they stay safe. They shouldn't produce an appreciable amount of carbon monoxide; but if they do, the ODP will turn the gas fire off.
Gas fires are efficient. They burn the gas cleanly so that there's little to no by-product in the way of soot or creosote.
Gas hearth devices are divided into two categories, depending on how they are vented-natural draft and direct vent. Natural draft products draw air from your home to fuel the combustion, but they vent the products of that combustion-fumes, soot, etc.-into the air outside your home using an inexpensive pipe. Like a regular chimney, this pipe goes through the roof. You can get a natural draft stove, fireplace, or insert that is rated as either decorative or heat-producing.
Direct vent devices do not use a chimney that goes through the roof. This means that you don't have to spend as much on insulation to get them up and running. Rather, direct vent stoves, fireplaces, and inserts use a dual vent system-usually a pipe within a pipe-that goes directly through the wall to the outside. One of the pipes draws air in from the outside to fuel combustion. The other vents the products of combustion back to the outside air.
Direct vent devices are a natural choice for apartments and condominiums where a chimney isn't an option. They also work well in tightly insulated homes. With a natural draft device, an airtight home may not be able to spare the air to fuel a gas fire. The flames may be weak and may even die out. You end up having to open a window slightly. But a direct vent appliance has its own pipeline to the great outdoors. It can draw in all the air it needs. This also means that you don't have to worry about fans or other draft-producing mechanisms will affect your gas appliance.
Most direct vent units are rated as "heaters" and make very efficient use of the gas.