Propane Gas Fireplace Inserts
Direct Vent Propane Gas Fireplace Inserts
With a direct vent propane gas fireplace insert, you can change your old masonry wood burning fireplace into something brand new. Homeowners with these old fireplaces can now enjoy an efficient, clean fireplace experience. At Kozy Heat, we provide propane gas fireplace insert options to help you achieve the indoor ambience and cozy warmth you desire any time of the year.
Propane Gas Fireplace Insert Features and Function
A direct vent gas insert is a natural gas or liquid propane fireplace that is installed into an existing masonry fireplace or factory built wood burning fireplace that uses the existing chimney as a chase to run the venting. The fireplace is a sealed combustion chamber that draws air from outside the home and exhausts the fumes out the chimney cap.
In addition, you can have your unit come with glass media, decorative logs, or rock media kits to enhance the visual appeal of your fire display.
Benefits of a Vented Propane Gas Fireplace Insert
A major benefit of having a propane gas fireplace insert installed in your home is the elimination of ash and soot produced by wood burning fireplaces. Direct vent fireplace technology provides clean, efficient and a safe way to heat your home. You can also add accessories to your unit to enhance its appearance within your living space.
At Kozy Heat, we have the professional installation experience to ensure your propane gas log fireplace inserts are installed correctly and safely.
Contact your local Kozy Heat dealer today for more information about how a propane gas fireplace insert can transform your existing fireplace unit into an amazing modern fireplace for you and your family to enjoy.
This option is for natural gas only. There is no pilot, only the logs and burner. Your fire is lighted by placing a match or lighter near the burner, then turning on the gas with your key valve. You control your flame height using your key valve which is normally located outside the fireplace either in the wall or floor.
Manual Safety Pilot
This system has a safety pilot that is manually lighted and stays lit all the time. Also called a standing pilot, it is similar to a pilot found in a water heater. You can turn the burner on and off manually by reaching inside your fireplace and turning the control knob. You cannot operate this type of system with a remote control, however, you can upgrade later.
Remote Control systems include a remote pilot valve assembly. Depending on the remote option you select, you will have the ability to control certain functions of the log set from a remote control. Remote controlled options include basic on/off control as well as variable flame height control.
Ventless Gas Fireplaces: What to Know Before You Buy
Even though few homes today rely on fireplaces as their primary heating source, many homeowners still enjoy the ambiance of a warm fireplace. Ventless gas fireplaces, in particular, are popular because they're clean and easy to use.
What Is a Ventless Gas Fireplace?
Also known as unvented or vent-free fireplaces, a ventless gas fireplace operates with natural gas or liquid propane (LP) that flows into a gas burner mounted in the fireplace. When ignited, the flames run through gaps in artificial ceramic fiber logs, giving the illusion of a real wood-burning fireplace.
The Importance of Venting
With any fireplace installation, a major issue is venting the exhaust gases, whether it is simple smoke from a wood-burning fireplace, or the exhaust fumes produced when you burn gas. Venting a fireplace is especially complicated in retrofit installations, where it can be problematic to find a route for the chimney flue. Another issue with fireplaces concerns the energy loss. Wood-burning fireplaces are inherently inefficient, since a good deal of the home's heat inevitably escapes up the flue rather than radiating into interior spaces. Vented gas fireplaces are somewhat better at retaining heat, but modern homes are now being built so airtight that even a vented gas fireplace may create negative air pressure that hinders good exhaust. Air flowing out a chimney vent flue can even prevent combustion gases from other appliances from exhausting properly.
For these reasons, both wood-burning fireplaces with traditional masonry chimneys and vented gas fireplaces are less prevalent than they once were. To solve these issues, a ventless gas fireplace might be the solution. Easier to install than vented wood or gas fireplaces and capable of warming small rooms, gas fireplaces that have no vents passing to the exterior are becoming more popular for remodeling work and even in new-construction homes. Because there is no airflow to the outdoors, they do not create the negative pressure problems that can occur with a vented fireplace. There are limitations, though.
Vented vs. Ventless Gas Fireplaces
In a traditional vented gas fireplace, there are two vents that run to the outside of the home. One is a fresh-air intake that provides combustion air help the gas burn more efficiently. The other vent safely removes any exhaust gases created by burning the natural gas or LP to the outdoors.
On the surface, a ventless gas fireplace looks quite similar to a vented fireplace. It has a control panel to operate the pilot light and flames, and holes in ceramic artificial logs for the flame jets. There is a slight difference to the flame jets between the two styles, and as a result, ventless fireplaces tend to burn somewhat less realistically than vented units. As with vented fireplace, ventless units usually have blowers that circulate air around the firebox to heat the room.
However, ventless fireplaces have neither of the two outdoor vents found in vented units. Instead, combustion air for the burner is drawn into the fireplace from the air inside the home, and exhaust fumes also remain inside the home.
This may sound dangerous, but ventless fireplaces are engineered in a manner that minimizes the exhaust fumes. A special regulator creates a fine mixture of gas and air that burns extremely cleanly, and the units are carefully tested in approved laboratories before they can be sold. Ventless gas fireplaces are deemed to operate within the range of safety for cycling these combusted gases back into the home's interior. By contrast, vented gas fireplaces create a dangerously high amount of combustion exhaust and therefore must be vented to the outdoors.
Are Ventless Gas Fireplaces Safe?
The safety of ventless gas fireplaces is a subject of debate. According to the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI), a patchwork of regulations across the United States controls the legality of ventless fireplaces. Roughly a third of states allow these units with no restrictions. California is the only state that outright bans all ventless fireplaces, and there are notable restrictions in Massachusetts. In the remaining states, a welter of regulations controls ventless fireplaces based on factors such population of the city, altitude, and surrounding geography. In many states, there are restrictions on where the home you can install a ventless fireplace—they may not be allowed in sleeping areas, for example.
Low oxygen levels can be a concern with well-insulated homes that have a slow exchange of indoor and outdoor air. Ventless gas fireplaces have a feature called an oxygen detection system (ODS), which automatically turns off the unit if oxygen levels in the room fall below a certain level. The fireplaces may also have built-in CO (carbon monoxide) detectors that also automatically shut off the fireplace if high levels are detected. Still, hazards are present. Some manufacturers recommend leaving a window cracked open while running operating the fireplace to ensure there is a source of fresh air.
NACHI also observes that although fumes are greatly reduced, ventless fireplaces still release small amounts into the home, increasing the risk of carbon monoxide exposure. And non-vented burning of natural gas or propane also produces water vapor as a byproduct, which can increase humidity levels and the risk of mold.
It's therefore wise to do your homework on the units you are considering. Make sure its specifications meet safety standards, and that the unit is approved for installation by your building code authorities. Ventless fireplaces may well be a good choice for a decorative feature in a room where its use can be supervised, but shouldn't be used as a principal source of heat, especially in a sleeping area. And it is not a good choice if anyone in your home suffers from breathing problems, such as asthma or COPD.
Cost of Ventless Gas Fireplaces vs. Other Options
The cost of the firebox unit or insert and the log assemblies are roughly the same for both ventless and vented gas fireplaces. Both require the same type of natural gas or propane connection, so there is no cost difference in terms of plumbing. The cheapest way to have a ventless fireplace in your home is with a gel-fueled unit. No plumbing is required, as these units use alcohol-based gel fuel canisters that burn for up to three hours.
The major price difference between the two types of fireplaces is the cost of venting. Direct-vent gas fireplaces require two vents in the back: one that expels gases and another that draws in fresh air from the outside. (Some direct-vent fireplaces are vented with a single two-chamber vent pipe).
Because venting is such a large part of the installation cost, ventless fireplaces are generally a lot less expensive than vented units. A vented gas fireplace costs between $3, and $8, to purchase and have installed, depending on the amount of carpentry required to run the ductwork. By contrast, a ventless fireplace costs between $1, and $5,
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
Ventless Fireplace Inspection. National Association of Certified Home Inspectors
Propane Fireplaces - Propane Gas Fireplaces
Propane Gas Fireplace Buyer's Guide
Should you get a propane fireplace or a natural gas fireplace? If the ease and efficiency of propane fireplaces appeal to you, you might now wonder whether propane is the best fuel option for your home. The good news is that almost every gas appliance can be set up to run on either liquid propane or natural gas.
While there are some important differences, both gases create similar flames. We'll compare liquid propane and natural gas so you can decide which one is the best fit. We'll also cover some basics of gas fireplaces and how to convert a fireplace from one gas fuel type to another.
Liquid Propane vs. Natural Gas
Both liquid propane and natural gas are odorless, colorless gases. To help detect any leaks, additives are mixed into the gas to give it a strong smell.
Both are environmentally safe fuels that create mostly carbon dioxide and water vapor when burned.
Propane is more heat efficient than natural gas and has more than twice the BTU rating per cubic foot. However, even with better efficiency, propane has some downsides.
Natural gas is the most common fuel used for residential heating. It is lighter than air, meaning that it will dissipate quickly in case of a leak. This makes it safer than propane, which is heavier than air and can create dangerous pools of gas if a leak or delayed appliance ignition occurs.
Natural gas is supplied by permanent gas lines while propane is purchased and stored in tanks. The tanks can either be small and portable, or you can have a large propane tank installed on your property. Almost all propane tanks are refillable.
Since natural gas comes from supply lines, you only pay for what you use. In contrast, you buy propane in advance and store it in the tanks.
Propane requires a higher pressure than natural gas. As a result, any faulty seals or joints are more likely to leak when using propane. Since propane tanks are often refilled, the wear and tear on fittings raises the risk for leaks.
For more information, check out our article on propane versus natural gas.
When to consider using propane?
- Rural farm town during sundown
If natural gas is a safer option with less risk for leaks, why would you consider using propane? First thing's first, propane is not an inherently dangerous option. If you take the right precautions, propane can function as a safe and reliable fuel source.
So where does using propane make sense? Propane gas is very portable. It's perfect for appliances like fire tables and grills that aren't permanent fixtures.
Also, some places do not have access to gas lines. Rural locations may not have the infrastructure for natural gas.
Even if you have gas lines to your home, you may find that they are not conveniently located. For example, consider a large home that has the kitchen on the south side and the master bedroom on the north side. It's possible that all the gas lines exist on the south side without any available near the bedroom. It isn't always appealing to tack the line along the outside of the house. On the other hand, trenching new gas lines or running them through the house is often very expensive. One solution is to install a propane tank near the bedroom to fuel the fireplace.
Can you convert the fuel for your Gas Fireplace?
The answer is usually yes, but make sure you convert all the necessary parts!
Direct vent and b-vent fireplaces often offer conversion kits. The conversion between fuel types is relatively simple since the components are easily removed.
The only exception is vent-free fireplaces. They can emit dangerous byproducts and fumes into the room if converted to a different fuel. Improper conversion of vent-free units is downright dangerous. Factories certify vent free fireplaces to burn only the designed fuel type. Many feature anti-tamper devices to discourage any fuel conversion.
Some manufacturers only create natural gas versions of their fireplace models. However, a separate (and usually low cost) propane conversion kit is often available. These kits include detailed instructions and are easy to install. Manufacturers also provide revision stickers to show when the unit has been converted.
While not as common, a handful of manufacturers offer their units as dual-fuel models. This means they have dual gas inputs leading to the gas valve (one labeled NG and the other LP), or they have a valve that switches for different fuels. The issue with these units is that they require duplicate parts and more complex designs.
How to Convert from Natural Gas to Propane
There are a few components that need to be converted if switching gas fuels. In the next section, we provide an outline of these components, along with some important installation reminders.
Pilot Light Assembly and Pilot Orifice
- Lit pilot on gas fireplace
A pilot light is a small blue flame fueled by a tiny stream of gas. Its purpose is to light the main flow of gas when you switch the appliance on. It is either always burning (millivolt pilot) or lights only when needed to ignite the main burner (intermittent pilot).
The pilot orifice is a small metal piece within the pilot assembly. It looks like a thimble with a small hole in the end for the gas to pass through. It regulates the amount of gas supplied to the pilot flame. Because the BTU rating of natural gas is lower than propane, the hole in the orifice is larger for natural gas.
Switching out the gas orifice when converting is important. Without the right sized orifice, the pilot flame may be large and sooty, or the flame may be too small to light the main burner.
Main Burner Orifice
- Oxygen depletion sensor on vent free gas fireplace orifice
The main burner orifice is similar to the pilot orifice, but it is used with the gas lines that supply the main burner. Its job is to regulate the supply of gas to the main burner. Some burners rely on a single orifice, while others have multiple orifices.
Gas Valve or Gas Valve Regulator
The gas valve is the heart of the fireplace. It controls the flow of gas to both the pilot assembly and the main burner. Within the valve is a regulator. Some regulators are factory set and cannot be adjusted to control flame height. Propane gas requires nearly twice the pressure to flow properly from the burner and pilot assembly. If using propane, make sure you use the correct regulator.
Control Chip or Control Board
Control chips or control boards are for intermittent pilot or electronic ignition fireplaces. Since propane gas does not disperse as well, you need to wait longer between ignition attempts in order to allow more time for the gas to disperse. The manufacturer will offer two different versions of the control chip or board depending on whether you intend to use propane or natural gas. Sometimes a fuel conversion chip that changes the behavior of the control board/module is all that is necessary to convert between fuels.
Some propane fireplaces require adjusting the venting system. This is rare, but it is crucial to check that all the right venting is in place to prevent a dangerous explosion.
Propane gas pools if unlit, so in the case of a failure to light, you need a venting system that can clear out the gas. When installing or converting a fireplace to propane fuel, check to make sure you have a safe venting configuration.
For a longer discussion of venting options, here is an article on finding the right venting.
- Kingsman - With origins in the wood-burning side of the hearth industry, the founder of Kingsman fireplaces turned the focus to gas burning appliances soon after, recognizing the benefits of these clean-burning fuels. Now manufacturing advanced gas-burning fireplaces for over 35 years, Kingsman models offer a wide range of customization options and offer the high unit to unit build consistency, making for a quality lineup that installs easily.
- Fireplace Xtrordinair - A premium line of the Travis Industries group of companies, Fireplace X offers an impressive range of gas fireplace models. They are worth serious consideration for anyone looking for large viewing areas and unique door and faceplate overlays.
- Empire - This long-running manufacturer of gas fireplaces has origins in the sheet metal industry and has been owned and managed by the same family since its founding. Empire produces lower cost, but simple and reliable models. Their units evolve slowly and their relative simplicity means they tend to outlast other brands.
- Valor - With an easy to understand product line and a tendency toward minimalistic and clean styling, Valor is a serious contender in the propane fireplace market. They offer traditional, linear, and freestanding models, with a decent number of customization options for each.
Why are Gas Fireplaces marketed by fuel type?
Factories often specify their parts and models by fuel type. This allows them to start with a basic model and then add an "N" or "P" to the end of the model number to show whether it is for natural gas or propane.
For example, the Empire Tahoe Deluxe - Model DVD36FP31 is a base model. Propane versions of this fireplace are marked DVD36FP31P. Natural gas models will be sold as DVD36FP31N. All of the parts for conversions will be marked in the same way.
The tag that comes adhered to the unit shows the gas type. There are also manuals and build stickers to indicate the type of gas that the unit was built for. When ordering a fireplace, always check that you received the right fuel type before installing it.
Properly Store Your Propane Tanks
- Large propane tank
Always store propane tanks upright to protect the valves. Also, keeping the tank in a dry place up off the ground helps prevent rust.
Do not store tanks inside, since this could be a major hazard in case of a fire. If a tank is completely empty, you can store it inside. Avoid storing empty or full tanks any place where the temperature could reach degrees Fahrenheit. Propane tanks are more resistant to cold, so storing the tanks during the winter should not be a problem.
Inspect your tanks frequently for any leaks. You can use a leak detection solution or mix soap and water. Work in a well-ventilated area and apply the solution all around the valves, regulators, and welded seams. Any bubbles that form indicate a leak. If you notice a leak, immediately remove small tanks far from combustible materials. Contact your local fire department for help with leaks on larger tanks.
Depending on the size and installation of your tank, you will need to get it inspected at certain intervals. Take note of how often your tank needs to be inspected and put it on the calendar. Inspections help prevent safety hazards and keep your tank operating smoothly.
How much propane do I need?
- Small rusted propane tanks
Finally, you might be wondering how big of a propane tank to buy. Our NFI Certified Technicians are more than happy to help with any questions about your specific tank needs. In the meantime, here are two general rules of thumb:
- If your appliance is rated at 55, BTUs or higher, we recommend a pound or larger liquid propane tank.
- If the appliance is rated at less than 55, BTUs, you can use a pound liquid propane tank.
These sizes should allow for at least two hours of continuous operation. Keep in mind that propane tanks are only filled to 80% capacity, so a pound tank only holds about five gallons.
Manufacturers often list the recommended tank size for appliances designed to run on propane.
Undersized tanks may cause the system and regulator to freeze up if the appliance demands more fuel than the tank can supply. Some recommend pouring lukewarm water over the tank to unfreeze it, but this can damage the regulators and seals. Unless it is an emergency, it is best to wait for it to thaw out on its own.
- Mother and young son in front of a fireplace
Natural gas may be a common fueling option for most people, but propane allows you to install a fireplace even in places without gas lines. It also provides a portable fuel solution for any appliance that is mobile.
Conversions between natural gas and propane gas are usually simple and involve switching a few key parts. Don't try to convert a vent-free unit. Even with vented units, check to make sure you have adequate venting if switching from natural gas to propane.
Be sure to follow all the proper instructions for a complete conversion so that your fireplace will operate safely and effectively. For more information about gas fireplaces including style options, venting, and maintenance, visit our gas fireplaces page.
If you have questions about propane gas fireplaces or conversions, contact our team of NFI Certified Specialists. We're always happy to help!
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Propane Fireplaces Q&A with the NFI Certified Specialists* Please Note: All customer questions are answered by our NFI Certified Specialists free of charge!
from Cosby, TN asked:
Can a timer be installed on fireplaces?
Yes, a timer can be installed for several fireplace models
Submitted by:Jason W. on August 26,
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from Heathsville, VA asked:
Does a corner propane fireplace fit in the corner walls? How much room for propane connection is needed?
Any of our standard, one-sided propane fireplaces can be framed into a corner.� Each model has its own specified corner framing requirements within the respective installation instructions.
Submitted by:Tyler M. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on April 19,
Most Helpful Answer
from Pine Mountain asked:
What dimension of the fireplace is used to determine the loges size?
Gas log sets and fireplace inserts are sized by your fireplace's opening front width, opening height, depth and rear width.
Submitted by:Tyler M. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on February 9,
Most Helpful Answer
from Emlenton, PA asked:
Is it possible to have a vented propane fireplace controlled by a thermostat?
Yes, it is very common as well.
Submitted by:Owen O. on June 23,
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from Quebec, CAN asked:
Do you ship to Canada?
Some of our products can be shipped to Canada. In the checkout page, it will notify prior to checking out.
Submitted by:Kathy O. on March 2,
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from Bozeman, MT asked:
With vent free or direct vent does elevation matter?
High elevation can negatively affect the performance of vent free and direct vent fireplaces. This is mostly due to the lack of oxygen and colder temperatures. Most manufacturers test their appliances for use at ' above sea level. Higher elevations installations generally require high altitude kits, which reduce gas supply by 4% for every ' above '.
Submitted by:Brian L. on January 27,
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from Hartford, CT asked:
What are the options for propane gas? Buy the cylinder outright or lease?
For a propane fireplace, you will need a tank supplied by a local propane supplier, installed outside the home. For more details, you can call local propane companies.
Submitted by:Tyler M. - NFI Master Hearth Professional on October 15,
Most Helpful Answer
from Stockton, IL asked:
Can I use a 20# propane tank to fuel the propane fireplace?
It is not recommended that a tank smaller than pounds be used for a propane fuel fireplace.�
Submitted by:Brennan W. on April 29,
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from Valley Hwad AL asked:
What size fireplace would I need to heat sq ft. using propane gas?
For your sizing, I would suggest a vent free fireplace upwards of 35, BTU's.
Submitted by:Brennan W. on March 13,
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from Charlotte asked:
how does the Propane gas vent ?
That depends on whether the unit is a Direct Vent, a B Vent or Vent free.
Submitted by:Owen on December 27,
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from Noblesville, IN asked:
How many inches are necessary from the top of a propane gas rear vented fireplace to the bottom of a flat screen television?
While this information is not normally specified in the product literature for most gas fireplaces, the mantel clearances that are provided should be used as a reference.
Submitted by:Will M. on February 20,
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from Harrodsburg, KY asked:
Is it safe to run a propane gas fireplace throughout the night while asleep, i.e., unattended?
With proper installation, propane is no different than natural gas with regards to safety when operating a hearth appliance. Propane gas is heavier than natural gas, so match lit systems without a safety pilot would not be available with liquid propane as they are with natural gas. With all propane systems, pilot flame loss will result in gas flow being shut off through the valve. The safety concerns would be the same with either fuel type, but are eliminated with proper installation and maintenance.
Submitted by:Will M. on January 13,
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Customer Images of Propane Fireplaces
Fireplace liquid propane
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