hoss magazine

Stay in the know

Subscribe to the HOSS newsletter today - you’ll get the inside scoop on design trends, home renos and breaking news. You’ll always have a heads up on our fantastic contests too!

10 Things You Need to Know Before Buying An Indoor Gas Fireplace

Looking to heat your home in style? Here are HGTV's Paul Lafrance's best tips.

Are you on the market to buy an indoor gas fireplace?

You are not alone. Indoor gas fireplaces are now listed as one of the top amenities for homeowners who want to give their safe havens that extra special touch – a nice blend of coziness and warmth. In fact, according to the National Association of Home Builders, indoor gas fireplaces come in second behind decks, outdoor patios and porches. They look nice, are great on the energy-efficiency front and homeowners enjoy them since they are less messy than wood fireplaces.

Sure, there was once a time when indoor gas fireplaces were expensive and a luxury only richer folks could enjoy. However, times have changed – you can now get one without breaking the bank. In fact, indoor gas fireplaces retail for as little as $400.

Paul Lafrance, CEO of Cutting Edge Construction and Design and HGTV star of Disaster Decks, Decked Out and Custom Built, gave HOSS 10 factors homeowners need to consider before purchasing an indoor gas fireplace.

Decide why you want one. “This is a very important question every homeowner needs to ask before making their purchase,” explains Lafrance. “Do you want to buy one for heating purposes? Or do you want one to enhance the look and feel of a room? Or perhaps it’s a combination of both? Once you know exactly what you want your fireplace for, then this will quickly narrow your search.”

Know it should only heat one room. “Some people who are on the hunt for a gas fireplace want one to heat more than one room in order to save on heating costs, but this is a real no-no,” says Lafrance. “When you try and save on heating costs this way, it means that the room your fireplace is in will be overheated and you will instead end up keeping it off most of the time.”

Utilize new technology. When it comes to heating efficiency, Lafrance suggests homeowners use a thermostat-controlled, self-modulated fireplace. “This technology allows your fireplace to go up and down while maintaining the right room temperature you want,” he says.

Take your time. Lafrance indicates that there are many styles of indoor gas fireplaces: standard, island, peninsula, island, see-thru, open-end/corner and contemporary. “Pick a style that suits the room you are working with,” he says. “Shop around and see what’s out there, and once you discover that perfect fireplace, then you will know that it’s just right for your space.”

Match the trim with your home decor. Once you know what kind of indoor gas fireplace you want, the next step is to select the styles of trim available. “Trim is important as it accents both your fireplace and the theme of your room,” says Lafrance.

Turn it off. It is one thing to see your fireplace turned on, and it’s another to see it when it’s off, says Lafrance. “When it’s turned off, does it still look like it brings life to your room? This is a question you need to ask yourself before selecting your indoor fireplace.”

Decide on the fan. Lafrance says that the most efficient fireplaces do not have a fan to move hot air around a room. “Fans do not really improve heating up a room, and they tend to be noisy, so keep this in mind,” he says. “If you do have a fan included with your fireplace, then make sure it has its own control (up, down and off) and use when needed.”

Give your logs room to breathe. “When picking a log set, make sure it looks right for your room, and more importantly ensure there is good enough space around the log set so that the unit’s valve won’t overheat,” says Lafrance, adding, “Log sets are not the only option for gas fireplaces anymore and there are many other different options that will also give you that contemporary look.”

Decide on switch, remote or thermostat. Knowing how you will operate your fireplace is also an important question you need to ask yourself, according to Lafrance. “Will you control it through a wall switch, a thermostat or through a remote control?” There are many options, but knowing which one to go with first will also help you in selecting the right fireplace,” he says.

Know the BTU (British Thermal Units) calculation. Lafrance indicates that anyone who wants to purchase an indoor gas fireplace needs to know how much heat it will let off. “You need to know the right BTU calculation that suits your room,” he says. “You don’t want a small room to have too much heat, and you don’t want a big room to not have enough heat. In order to know the BTU calculation for your fireplace and how energy-efficient it will be for your space, consult with a professional,” says Lafrance. “A classic mistake homeowners make is buying based on flame height impressiveness, and this is what will leave you stripped down in your ‘Underoos’ within 10 minutes of turning your fireplace on if you don’t understand BTUs.”