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13 Pros and Cons of Gel Fuel Fireplaces

navajocodetalkersadmin on May 13, 2015 - 8:59 pm in Pros and Cons

Fireplaces can be messy and difficult to install and maintain, which is why alternatives are being developed. One of these are gel fuel fireplaces. Gel fuel fireplaces use an alcohol based gel to produce the flame and heat. They are much different from traditional wood burning fire places for multiple different reasons, the first and foremost being that they are virtually mess free. While gel fuel fireplaces are becoming more and more popular as an alternative to wood burning ones, there are still some distinct disadvantages that should be considered. If you are considering purchasing one of these fire places, it is best to educated yourself about all they have to offer and the obstacles you may face.

Pros of Gel Fuel Fireplaces

1. Clean Burning Fuel
The gel that is burned does not produce any fumes or smoke, making it very a very safe and clean way to enjoy the warmth of a fire place. This also means that it doesn’t add to pollution in our climate like other traditional fireplaces.

2. No Location Restrictions
Gel fuel fireplaces do not require any type of ventilation, meaning they can be put anywhere. You can get them as installed, permanent units, or freestanding ones that can be moved anywhere you’d like, whenever you’d like.

3. Produces Real Flames
Fireplace-esque heaters are not the same as gel fuel fireplaces. Instead of using electrical heating mechanisms to produce the heat, they use real flames.

4. Long Burning
The cans of fuel that are used in these types of fireplaces can burn for a very long time and are no fuss. You do not have to continuously tend to the fire to keep it blazing. A typical can of gel fuel will burn for up to 4 hours.

5. Decorative Value
Gel fuel fireplaces where originally designed to serve as a decorating piece in high end homes and businesses. They are still very aesthetically pleasing, but nothing can beat the amazing look and light that is given off from the flames.

6. Cost Efficient
While the fireplace itself may be a little costly, the fuel and maintenance is certainly the opposite. The cans of fuel used in gel fuel fireplaces are very cheap, and can be found even cheaper in bulk amounts. Also, little to no maintenance is every needed.

7. No Heat Is Lost
During the cold winter months, gel fuel fireplaces can help to warm up you and your family without letting any of the warmth escape. They do not require any form of ventilation, so you can have them in closed rooms. With wood burning fireplaces heat is constantly being lost through the flue.

Cons of Gel Fuel Fireplaces

1. No Flame Regulation
There is no way to monitor or regulate the amount of flames that the gel fuel ignites. It is also much more difficult to extinguish the fire with gel fuel.

2. Not Much Heat
The actual amount of heat that gel fuel fireplaces emit is pretty low, especially when compared to traditional wood burning fire places. A typical gel fireplace gives off 2-3 kw of heat.

3. Refueling
The fuel to burn in these fireplaces is cheap, but that is because you need many of them in order to have a long burning fire. In order to burn a fire for an entire afternoon or night, you would have to go through the hassle of refueling 2 to 3 times.

4. Odorless…Kind Of
The fuel used in these fireplaces burns clean and odorless, but because they are alcohol based, they do produce a slight alcohol smell into the air. This is a con because it doesn’t allow you to enjoy the full experience of a crackling fireplace.

5. Consumes Oxygen
While the fire is burning, oxygen is being burned up from the environment. This makes gel fuel fireplaces particularly dangerous for small spaces with little ventilation.

6. No Coherent Flames
The only way to create more flames with gel fuel fireplaces is to light more cans of fuel. This makes it impossible to create a large and coherent fire.

Important Facts About Gel Fuel Fireplaces

  • The average cost of a gel fuel fireplace is 500 dollars.
  • The patent for “fireplace gel” was filed in 1986 by John M. Browning.
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