Nothing warms up a room like a crackling fire in the fireplace—both in heat and ambiance, Gas has replaced the wood-burning fireplace mode in new homes, and for good reason. A gas fireplace is easy to maintain. You turn the fire off and on with a switch, instead of messing with kindling and babysitting the flames. Plus, you have no wood to buy and stack. With gas, you also avoid messy ashes to clean up, glowing embers to worry about when you leave, and the cost of a chimney sweep. In addition to the convenience, a gas fireplace is more energy-efficient than the wood-burning alternative. Only 15% of wood’s energy is converted into useful heat when logs burn in a fireplace; the rest goes up the chimney. Compare that figure to today’s gas fireplaces, which generate up to 85% heating efficiency. One gas fireplace can efficiently and effectively heat up to 1,000 square feet of space. When shopping for a gas fireplace, consider the efficiency rating. A 70 rating means that 70 percent of the gas consumed is converted into heat and the remaining 30 percent is used for combustion and ventilation. The higher the rating, the better the heating efficiency. What are your options for harnessing the value and comfort of a gas fireplace in your home? If you already have a fireplace, consider a gas fireplace insert. The insert fits into your existing firebox. It can be connected to your home’s gas lines or, if you don’t currently use propane, to a propane tank located outside. Gas log sets are also placed inside an existing fireplace. These ceramic logs are available in vented and unvented. The vented log set ventilates through the chimney, but doesn’t produce significant heat. The unvented gas log set provides more efficiency but poses a risk of combustion leftovers (water vapor, particulates, carbon monoxide) when run for a long period of time. Gas log sets are more for appearance than warmth. A built-in gas fireplace is ideal when you’re building a new home. Installation is easily handled during construction, allowing you to create the hearth style you prefer—from traditional stone to sleeker contemporary design. A ventless fireplace doesn’t need a chimney, making it an easier installation. The system uses sensors to monitor the oxygen levels in your home. A direct-vented unit uses a chimney or a venting pipe that goes through your home’s roof. This roof-venting option allows you to install a gas fireplace in any room. The most efficient of the gas fireplaces, the direct-vented unit offers up to an 85% efficiency rating! With any type of gas fireplace unit, you have the option of choosing from a variety of styles and options, like a circulation fan to distribute the heat better. A remote control is a convenient option for controlling the fireplace operation. Plan now to cozy up to the fire this winter, and start shopping for the gas fireplace that fits your home and your lifestyle.