Gel Fireplaces

A gel fireplace can provide a beautiful home fire for even the most timid do-it-yourselfer. There's no chimney or venting to install, no need to open a wall to insert it, no need to hook it up to the gas line. You don't even have to plug it in. Gel fireplaces are ventless and free standing. You just bring one home and put it wherever you think it might look nice. That's the entire installation process.

This makes a gel fireplace an ideal solution for apartment dwellers and people with mobile homes. You can even put one in the office! If you want to change the location, simply let it cool down and then move it. When it comes time to move, your fireplace comes with you.

A gel fireplace doesn't burn wood or gas. There are no fumes. It produces no soot, smoke, or creosote to clean up. A gel fireplace burns gel form of grain alcohol that is colorless, odorless, and non-toxic. The result is a fire that can put out 3,000 to 9,000 BTUs per hour. In other words, these appliances aren't just for decoration. They provide heat to nearby areas as well.

A 13 ounce can of gel can burn for up to 3 hours and will cost between $2.50 and $3.50, depending on the volume you buy at one time. That gives the fireplace an operating cost of about a dollar an hour, little more than you'd pay for a propane fueled fireplace.

The appliance itself is relatively inexpensive. A simple but elegant model can be had for under $300. Even the fancy models come for under $700. And if you do move on up to a home with a masonry fireplace, or if you just want to change your living style, a gel fireplace is easy to sell. It's complete portability means the buyer just has to hand you the money and toss the fireplace in a friend's truck.

Gel fireplaces range in height from 24 to 42 inches and in width from 29 to 43 inches. They sit relatively flat against the wall. The average gel fireplace will be between 11 and 15 inches deep. If space is really tight, you can get one that is a mere 7 inches deep. Or you can get a corner model that is 19 inches at its deepest yet seems to take up hardly any space at all. It just rounds off the edge of a room a bit. You weren't using that space for anything anyway.

A greater depth will also provide you with more mantle space on top. A gel fireplace is a great way to get a little extra space to put up some pictures of the family, a few vases with flowers, candles, figurines, or other knick-knacks. Hang a mirror, picture, or wreath above it to complete the effect.

With a little addition, a gel fireplace can even bring the smell of a wood fire into your home. Simple incense cones can be had in a variety of wood scents. Have a pine or fir fire one day, switch to juniper, cedar, or hickory the next. You can even get a mesquite scent to bring out the cowboy in you. For those effects, you add a cost of perhaps 25 cents to the fire.

When you're done enjoying your gel fire, flip the manual shut off switch and leave the room. You can be secure in the knowledge that the fire can't accidentally be fanned back to life.