You’ve all heard the predictions about home heating costs going up this winter. Combined with the current state of our economy, the idea of paying more to heat your home might be enough to send some people over the edge. As a result, people are looking into alternative home heating solutions like space heaters, pellet stoves and yes – fireplaces. Not only can many of the home heating options available today save you money, but many of them are significantly better for the environment. Gel fuel fireplaces are one area of the market that has been growing in recently months, and for good reason! Let me break down some of the benefits to using gel fireplaces to heat your home this winter.
- Save Money Up-front: Not only are most gel fuel fireplaces inexpensive to purchase, but they are also extremely easy to maintain, which translates into less money spent on repairs. Gel fireplaces are perfect if your home isn’t already equipped with a traditional fire place, or if you are looking for a much less expensive, lower maintenance home heating option. Free-standing gel fireplaces are also super easy to install yourself, with most taking no more than an hour or so. While you can purchase a recessed gel fuel fireplace insert to replace an existing fireplace, these free standing units are just as attractive and a lot easier to deal with.
- Breathe Easier: Not only are gel fuel fireplaces easy to install and maintain, but they are vent-less and do not emit smoke, toxic fumes or odor. Highly heat and energy-efficient, gel fuel fireplaces comply with all of the industry’s safety standards; gel fuel itself is a cleaner burning fuel than traditional wood and gas stoves. Gelled alcohol fuel burns clear, smoke-free and a can last anywhere from 2.5 to 3 hours. And for added peace of mind, gel fireplaces are free of the dangers of harmful combustion of toxic products.
- Stay Cozy and Warm: A majority of gel fireplaces produce an average heat output of about 3,000 BTU (British Thermal Units) which is actually comparable to many electric fireplaces on the market, perfect for heating a modestly sized room.
- Complement your Home Decor: Available in a variety of finishes and styles, gel fuel fireplaces can blend in with any home decor. From modern to traditional, black, white or natural hardwood – you’re sure to find the gel fireplace that suits your style. For even more versatility, opt for a portable fireplace.
- Alternatives to Gel Fuel Fireplaces: As far as frugal home-heating options go, gel fuel fireplaces aren’t an end-all-be-all. Another viable option for you to consider is a pellet stove. If you’re dead set on having some kind of a fireplace, there are some recessed pellet fireplace inserts available, however pellet stoves are more commonly used. Instead of using gel fuel, gas or wood – pellet stoves burn pellets made from recycled sawdust, wood chips, bark, agricultural crop waste, recycled paper or other organic materials. Pellet stoves have a much higher combustion rate than wood stoves or gas fireplaces and are the cleanest of all solid fuel-burning heating appliances. Most pellet stoves have an average heat output of between 8,000 to 90,000 BTUs and are suitable for homes, apartments and condos. Unlike gel fuel fireplaces, however, most pellet stoves require electricity to power several internal fans. Pellet stoves may also cost more for you to in maintenance and repairs.
However you decide to heat your home this winter, just make sure that you read all of the installation instructions carefully and try and purchase a product with a good warranty. The last thing you want is to be stuck without heat when it’s cold outside!
Photo courtesy of CSN Fireplaces