Ventless gel fireplaces add ambiance to any home without the need to burn wood or build a chimney. Gel fireplaces are made to look like a real fireplace; however, instead of burning smoke-producing wood, they burn canisters of isopropyl alcohol that have been gelled for stability. Choose the mantel of your choice to blend the gel fireplace nicely into your home.
Availability and Cost of Gel Canisters
Several manufacturers make gel canisters for gel fireplaces. Most fireplace manufacturers recommend specific brands of gel that they feel work best in their model of fireplace. Gel canisters typically have a burn time of two to three hours, with multiple canisters needed for a larger, warmer fire. Once the canisters are burned, they require replacing with new ones. A common complaint of the gel fireplace is that, when used frequently, there is an expense associated with the purchase of the gel.
You can purchase gel canisters in big box and home and garden stores as well as from online vendors; however, not all brands are readily available. You must plan your purchases to keep a steady supply of the canisters available for your evening fire.
Low Heat Output
Gel fireplaces do not put out a lot of heat and certainly not the heat associated with a traditional wood fire. Some gel canisters burn with a taller and wider flame than others. Burning multiple canisters of intense flame-producing gel gives you the most heat from your evening fire.
Carbon Dioxide Emissions
While gel fireplaces are smoke and fume free when used correctly, they are reported to produce a small amount of carbon dioxide. Carbon monoxide concerns are noted in several gel fireplace consumer complaints. Gel fireplaces are not mentioned specifically as a carbon monoxide hazard by the Environmental Protection Agency. Use the gel canisters according to manufacturer directions to assure safety in your home. If you are concerned about carbon dioxide emissions, install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home prior to using your gel fireplace.