Glass-fronted gas fires
Why are some gas fires made with glass fronts?
Gas fires are increasingly being designed and manufactured with glass fronts or, in the case of wall-mounted gas fires, glass cases. This practice is for reasons of visual appeal, safety, functionality and energy efficiency.
Modern safety glass is made to withstand the heat generated by gas fires and assist by helping to conduct the radiant heat they produce. It also perfectly frames the realistic fire beds and interiors of modern gas fires.
In addition, DRU is now producing gas fires with Clear View non-reflective glass that presents an undisturbed view of the fire that replicates the appearance of an open fire.
But the use of glass is not simply for aesthetic reasons. The presence of the glass means that the appliance is completely room-sealed, so that the air flow is restricted to the concentric flue or chimney and the fire chamber.
This closed combustion system produces high, generous flames, substantial heat outputs and high energy efficiency ratings, essential in order to meet today’s stringent building specifications.
How much more energy efficient are glass-fronted gas fires than open gas fires?
Glass fronted gas fires with open or closed combustion systems have energy efficiency ratings of between 70 – 85%.
Open-fronted gas fires are not so efficient. This is because the air for combustion is primarily drawn from the living room rather than confined to the sealed fire chamber, so more energy is lost in the atmosphere. These appliances typically have energy efficiency ratings of between 40 and 50%.
How much safer are glass-fronted gas fires than open gas fires?
There are two main reasons why glass-fronted gas fires are safer than open-fronted gas fires.
Firstly, with a gas fire that has a protective glass front, there is no danger of the flames coming into contact with flammable objects in the room, so the fire risk is almost completely eliminated.
Secondly, any harmful emissions from a room-sealed, glass fronted gas fire are expelled up into the chimney or flue, with none being released into the home. This means that people are at less risk of breathing waste gases or particles from a glass-fronted fire than from an open fire.
How long will it be before all gas fires have to be glass-fronted?
Modern homes and, consequently, home heating appliances are all required to meet certain criteria concerning energy efficiency.
All new build homes have to achieve an AAA energy efficiency rating. This is measured by taking into account building procedures, materials, insulation, primary heating (such as gas central heating) and secondary heating (such as gas, electric and wood burning fires).
If a new home is built with an open-fronted gas fire that is only 50% energy efficient, this will reduce the overall efficiency of the property and jeopardise its energy certificate. This is why most homes that are built with gas fires now insist on them being glass-fronted.
Most gas fire manufacturers and suppliers expect that, by the year 2020, all appliances will be governed by the same energy efficiency legislation that applies to new homes. This inevitably means that glass-fronted gas fires will completely supersede open-fronted gas fires.
Can I insert a glass-fronted gas fire into my existing chimney?
All glass-fronted gas fires can be inserted into a normal chimney with minimal building work.
Glass-fronted gas fires such as the DRU Global 70XT or DRU Metro 130XT require some building work, but it should take no more than a day to complete.
If the fire is a glass fronted fireplace insert, it will fit neatly into the existing Class 1 chimney opening.
However, if it is designed to go further up the wall, the old chimney opening above the hearth has to be sealed up, and a new opening made higher up the chimneybreast.
If it is a balanced flue glass-fronted gas fire, a vertical opening has to be made for the flue, which is connected to the top of the fire. If it is a conventional flue glass-fronted gas fire, it can be inserted directly into the chimney cavity.
Once the fire is installed, the new brickwork is plastered and you can start using your fire once the plaster has dried and you’ve redecorated the wall.
Glass-fronted gas fires have a slick, clean appearance that converts an ordinary fireplace into an elegant focal point for the home.
If I have no chimney, can I still install a glass-fronted gas fire?
If your home has no chimney, it is still possible to replicate the impression of a chimneybreast that accommodates a glass-fronted gas fire.
A glass-fronted, balanced flue gas fire can be built into a dummy chimneybreast that is made of a heat resistant material. The fire assembly is hidden inside the chimneybreast, with just the glass window and the core of the fire able to be seen.
A concentric flue pipe is attached to the top or back of the fire. This replicates the function of a chimney by drawing air from outside the building into the fire chamber for combustion. The fire is ignited by an electronic ignition using a remote control.
So you have a stunning glass-fronted gas fire that appears to have been installed in an authentic chimney.
How can I clean and maintain a glass-fronted gas fire?
All glass-fronted gas fires have to be cleaned and looked after both before and during use.
When the fire is first installed, all fingerprints and marks must be removed, otherwise they may become burned in and permanently damage the glass.
Going forward, the glass should be cleaned at least once a month, with dust and debris removed from the interior of the fire to maintain clean burning and low emissions.
The latest glass-fronted gas fires, such as the DRU Maestro 75, have an easy-release glass door that, when the fire is off and cooled down, can be opened with very little effort, providing convenient access for routine cleaning and maintenance.
Do you see a lot of reflections when looking at a glass-fronted gas fire?
The standard safety glass that is used in most glass-fronted gas fires inevitably gives out some reflections.
However, once the fire is lit and burning properly, the reflections largely disappear due to the vivid appearance of the flames.
Soon, all DRU glass-fronted gas fires will offer the option of a special Clear View, non-reflective glass that replicates the effect of an open fire. You will hardly believe that there is glass at all!
This Clear View glass is currently available on the latest DRU glass-fronted gas fires, such as the DRU Maestro 75, 80/2 and 80/3.