Finding a Gas Fireplace for Our Mantel
We found an antique wood mantel on Facebook Marketplace while we were building our house.
(It is mantel, el. A mantle is clothes. Spellcheck doesn’t catch this one.)
We knew we wanted a gas fireplace to go with it, but which one?
There were so many other decisions to make building a new house; we decided this was one we could put off. We had the gas piped under the house to about where the fireplaces would be.
There are a lot of different options.
The antique mantel has unusual dimensions. The opening for the fire is only 27” wide, but it is almost 37” high. That’s pretty limiting.
|Mantel between Feet||31″||40″||20″|
|Mantel at Wall||27″||36.75″||13″|
I thought of a less expensive way to put a fire into the mantel.
Converting a Gas Fireplace to fit our Mantel
We could buy a less expensive gas fireplace, take it out of the mantel it comes with and put it in our mantel. Doesn’t that sound like a good idea? And these fireplaces really don’t cost all that much.
How do you compare fireplaces to find the best deal? All of these are 99% efficient.
Heat is measured in BTUs. BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. The more BTUs, the larger the space a heater can heat. Of course, this changes depending on how cold it is outside, how well insulated your house is and where your stove is located.
Vent-free Hearth Fireplaces
These measurements are for the part with the fire in it, since I want to take it out of the mantel it comes with and fit it into our mantel.
|Pleasant Hearth Fireplaces||Wide||High||Deep||Space||BTU||Price||$/Ft|
Google says “To find the BTUs per square foot that you need to heat a room, simply multiply the square footage by 20 BTUs per square foot.” With that calculation these fireplaces will heat 1000, 1375 or 1600 square feet,
The numbers on this chart are from Home Depot and Lowe’s websites. They say the fireplaces heat a smaller space. Even with these lower numbers, a hearth type ventless fireplace costs as little as 69 cents per square foot of heated space.
Do you notice something about all of these?
The fire is in the very front of the mantel. And heat goes up. If we put this into our mantel, we will have to box in the wall to fit the fire into it or something. And the heat would go straight up into our mantel, which sounds like a fire waiting to happen.
This is not going to work.
So what is made to go with a mantel? I’ve seen it. People have a gas fire right in the wall, with a mantel above it.
Gas Insert: A gas insert goes inside of an existing fireplace to turn it into a gas fireplace.
Built-in Gas Fireplace: A built-in gas fireplace looks pretty much like a gas insert into an existing fireplace, but you don’t have to start with a fireplace. The fireplace is boxed in or built into the wall.
Zero Clearance Fireplace: Zero Clearance fireplaces are built in gas fireplaces that need zero clearance between the firebox and the wall.
Built-in fireplaces are put right into the wall, then a frame or something is built around it. My son and daughter-in-law had a fireplace in the living room that was boxed in through the wall. The back of the fireplace went through into their laundry room. Behind our living room wall is the hallway. We can’t fill the hall up with the back of the fireplace, so it will have to go in front.
Living Room Fireplace Location
There is a problem. This would make the sofa even closer to the fireplace.
They built the kitchen island the size of a small continent. It is 24” wider than it was supposed to be. It was only supposed to have a bar in the center, but the bar wraps the whole side. So add people sitting on bar stools to the measurements. I hadn’t really considered this when I didn’t make them tear it down and re-frame it. Now that we are in here though, the sofa has to be pushed 2-feet into the living room area to allow a walkway. Two feet makes a bigger difference than you would think.
We went round and round over where we planned to put the fireplace in the new house. With the open floor plan, there are three logical locations. In the center of the living room wall, in the center of the dining room wall, or in the center of the whole room on the outside wall, between the living room area and the dining/kitchen area.
We decided to keep the china cabinet on the dining room wall and put the Mora clock on the outside wall with the fireplace centering the living room.
But there is no reason we can’t change our minds. We could put the fireplace on the center wall.
Without the fireplace centering the living room, we can move the sofa and give more walk space. The bar only sticks out that far on one side.
And there is another advantage. With the fireplace on an outside wall, we can put in a vented fireplace more easily.