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Thursday, 23 August 2012 15:55:38 Europe/London
It's easy to get excited about the idea of buying a new wall fire with so many stunning designs to choose from. However, it's a good idea to think carefully about the practical aspects first to make sure your new fire really suits your needs. Hopefully this post will help you narrow down your options and quickly home in on something that's a great fit for you and your home.
Gas or Electric?
If you need a fire which can give out a substantial amount of heat you are probably best off looking at gas. Electric wall fires with fan heaters generally have a 2kW maximum output, while the convector types can be as little as 600W. In contrast gas wall fires typically have a heat output between 3-4kW, with a few models in the 5-6kW range. The construction of the wall is also important - a plasterboard stud wall may be fine with an electric wall fire but pose a real fire risk with a gas fire. Remember that your new fire will need either a gas or electricity supply, and your fitting costs will increase if there isn't already a power point or gas outlet in a suitable position. Take professional advice from a Gas Safe engineer if you are considering the gas option.
Inset or Wall-hung?
This question can either be practical or aesthetic. An inset wall fire takes up little or no room space, but may require a deep chimney cavity for installation. Hang on the wall fires are ideal for flat walls, but they do stick out into the room. Usually this isn't very noticeable in larger rooms, but it could be a problem in a smaller space. Inset gas wall fires generally require a working chimney, but many wall-hung flueless gas fires are available if you don't have a functioning flue.
An important practical issue for flued gas wall fires is whether you have a working chimney and a chimney recess large enough to house the body of an inset wall fire. Nearly all flued gas wall fires are designed for inset installation, and if there isn't already a builders opening at the right height one will have to be knocked out. Most wall-hung gas fires are flueless, which makes them ideal for people without a chimney.
With electric wall fires you have a wide choice of both inset and wall-hung models to choose from, although convection models tend to be wall-mounted as they usually conceal the warm air vents behind the frame of the fire. Some wall-hung electric fires come with a coloured backlighting facility which can really make an impact as a decorative feature.
Open or Closed Front?
If you have children in the house a sealed unit is the safer option, but this is about fuel economy as well as safety. The most efficient gas fires are sealed, and this translates into long term savings on running costs. Sealed gas fires are also more environmentally friendly - their emissions are cleaner and they use less fossil fuel per kW of heat output than less efficient models. The downside is that purchase costs tend to be higher. Open fronted fires give a feeling of a more direct connection between the fire and the user, but dust can easily settle on the decorative fire bed making maintenance a little harder. With gas fires it is important that the fuel bed is positioned correctly to ensure the gas jets function properly and prevent discolouration, and it is easy to dislodge the fuel bed of an open gas fire when trying to clear it of dust.
Gas wall fires may need a hearth, depending how high they are off the ground, and may also need an air vent. Your fitter will be able to advise whether this applies in your case. It's important to confirm that the wall can safely take the weight of the fire, and that there is no fire risk from combustible materials close to heat sources. We strongly advise you to get an installation survey from a qualified fitter before committing to any particular wall fire to ensure it is suitable for your requirements. Fireplaces Are Us offer installation surveys in many areas of England and Wales - visit our fireplace installation page for more information.