A gas fire is a heating device that generally uses either natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas in its operation. Wood, coal and peat are also sometimes used as fuelling agents in gas fires. Most gas fires work by generating a flame which heats the air, which is then distributed around the room by way of convection although some more recent variants work on the principle of radiant heat to heat the surrounding surfaces. The first gas fire was commercialised in 1856 and a large number of varieties are available today.
Inset Gas Fires
Gas fires can be outset or inset in nature. Inset gas fires are recessed into the wall, whereas outset gas fires are placed next to a wall. The choice of either type will depend on the layout and size of the property in which the heater is to be used, and whether or not the property is already fitted with an existing fireplace in which the gas fire could be located.
Type 1 Flue Gas Fires
Most gas fires require the presence of a chimney, or flue, in order to be fitted. This is so the emissions and waste gas generated by the gas fire can be safely directed upwards and out of the home so as not to cause harm to people and property. Houses with traditional chimney-stacks are said to possess type-1 flues, and it is the natural flow of air throughout the room that directs the gases generated by the fire up and out of the house. These gas fires resemble the typical hole in the wall gas fires that are commonly seen in older properties.
Pre-Cast Flue Gas Fires
Some newer houses are fitted with much smaller pre-cast flues, which serve as a vent atop a small column of hollow blocks that run through the cavity wall of the house. These flues mean that only small gas fires can be used.
Balanced Flue Gas Fires
Another type of gas fire available is a balanced flue gas fire. Balanced flue gas fires are used in properties that have none of the flue types described above, but instead have a flue that travels straight through the external wall. The nature of this flue type means that the gas fire must be an inset gas fire. Fans are often used in this type of gas fire in order to extract the gases that are produced, and so some noise is to be expected.
Wall Mounted Gas Fires
A more recent type of gas fire is the wall-mounted gas fire. Wall mounted gas fires require no flue at all as they employ a catalytic converter to clean up the emissions that they produce. This greatly increases the potential spaces where the fire can be placed, as it is not limited to the presence of a chimney.
Portable Gas Fires
Portable gas fires are available for home users or for use in caravans. These are generally radiant heaters and require no chimney or flue as they use a catalytic converter. Some are fitted with wheels so they can be easily moved around while others are fitted with carry-handles.
Glass Fronted Gas Fires
Glass fronted gas fires are suitable for both home and business users. These are balanced flue type fires that have a glass front to ensure that the air they use is taken from outside rather than from in the room itself, meaning that the input/output ratio of the fire is higher than standard types.
Coal Effect Gas Fires
For home or business users who want a more aesthetically pleasing option, coal effect gas fires work by creating the appearance of burning coals and flickering flames without any of the hassle associated with running a real coal fireplace.