Gas Fires Reignited

With a long list of benefits for installers and homeowners alike, there is more to gas fires than Gas fires Reignited 3meets the eye. Richard Beaman, commercial director for Valor, dispels some of the biggest myths associated with gas fires.

The market might have moved on since the heyday of the 1980s when scores of British Gas showrooms lined the UK’s high streets, but there are a whole host of reasons why gas fires continue to burn brightly.

From continued demand for real flames and the stark reality of operating and maintaining a solid fuel stove, to the development of innovative models, homeowners are quick to list the benefits of gas.

Installers too can benefit from the increasing popularity of gas fires – offering high margin installation opportunities, not to mention regular servicing jobs. However, too many installers are still not making the most of gas fires.

Here are six common myths still associated with gas fires – and why installers should look to capitalise.

1.“They are unstylish compared to other fuel types”Gas Fires Reignited 1

Ten years ago you could have been forgiven for thinking gas fires were old fashioned, given the focus on performance rather than combined with design aesthetics. Today, it could not be further from the truth.

From eyecatching landscape fires and stoves that satisfy the latest interior trends, to premium, bespoke balanced flue installations that can act as room divider in the most prestigious of properties, gas fires are no longer restricted to inset and radiant models.

2.“You need a chimney to install one”

It still amazes me that some gas installers believe this myth. In fact, our own research shows one in 20 Gas Registered engineers still believe you need a chimney to install a gas fire.

Quite simply, it is not true. Manufacturers continue to develop a wide range of balanced flue models, which simply require an outside wall and offer some of the highest efficiencies on the market.

Even though around 11 million homes in the UK have a chimney and a gas point fitting, this product development has been key in helping to ensure the longevity of gas fires in modern homes. (For a quick guide on buying a fire and different chimney types click here)

3.“They are not efficient enough”

Again, this comes down to the development of gas fires in the last decade or so. Gone are the days of gas-guzzling fires that people relied on in the 1970s and 1980s; today’s models offer a new generation of gas fires that are capable of delivering impressive heat efficiencies of up to 89% - without sacrificing realism and authenticity.

Prices may have come down in recent time but the cost of energy remains critical for many families and we must also consider that natural gas is still the lowest cost fuel supplied for the same kW usage. An efficient gas fire can cost up to 50% less per KW/h than an electric fire with the same heat output, not to mention it is kinder to the environment with life cycle CO2  emissions nearly half that of mains electricity.

4.“They don’t give off enough heat”

Gas fires do not just create a focal point in the home, they also offer effective single-room heating for many households with heat outputs up to 4.8kW, which is more than enough to keep the average living room warm as we have already heard. Some high end balanced flue fires, such as the models available from Faber, offer heat outputs of up to 10.7kW.

This is made possible by the continued development of heat exchangers, which offer a higher heat performance by drawing air from the room, heating it as it passes over the heat exchanger and diverting it back into the room.

This of course, is in contrast to the lower heat output offered by the inefficient fires of previous years.

5.“They are difficult to control”

This has been one of the biggest areas of development for manufacturers in recent years and the advances that have been made will surprise many customers.

For example, Valor now offers fires which can be controlled using an advanced remote control, or via innovative ‘Fireslide’ technology, which offers a control on the top right hand side of the fire instead of having to bend down. Other fires have top switch control or electric ignition, which make it easier for elderly or weak customers to operate.

Gas Fires Reignited 2There is also far greater control over the output of gas fires too, with stepped burners that enable customers to scale the heat output up or down according to specific requirements.

6.“There is no demand from homeowners”

Another myth that may be based simply on the decline of British Gas showrooms – just because they are not lined up on every high street, doesn’t mean there is not money to be made from gas fire installations. Ask any independent fireplace retailer and they will testify to the continued popularity of gas fires, particularly now that there is so much choice.

In a survey of 236 Gas Registered engineers last year, Valor discovered that 60% of those registered to work with gas fires have completed more than 10 jobs in the last three years – and more than 40% had turned down a gas fire job in the last 12 months.

Clearly the appetite is there and crucially, more than a third of all gas fire jobs included the profitable installation of a new fire – whether like-for-like replacement, new installation or back boiler replacement. (For more information on why you should choose gas for your fires and stoves click here)


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