More and more people are looking for information on gel fireplaces, so let's put together a post that answers some of the frequently asked questions.
What is a gel fireplace?
A gel fireplace is a simple fireplace unit that doesn't require wood, gas, corn, pellets, or any other traditional fuel materials to create flames. Instead, gel fireplaces burn small cans of alcohol. Unlike other materials, the alcohol burns cleanly, meaning there is no smoke or odor from the fireplace.
Does a gel fireplace require a chimney or venting?
Nope! One of the reasons fireplaces fueled by this material are growing in popularity is they can be burned anywhere in your house, condo, or apartment, and there's no need for a chimney or vent to the outside. The clean-burning alcohol is specifically designed to be burned without venting, and these fireplaces are completely safe for indoor use.
Are gel fireplaces portable?
Yes, they are. Because they're not attached to a chimney or vent of any kind, they can be moved around. Also, many of them are small enough to be easy to pick up, so you can rearrange your fireplace right along with your furniture (actually, moving a gel fireplace around is probably a lot easier than moving your sofa about).
However, if you want your fireplace to be a permanent fixture on one wall or in one corner, you can get wall-mounted units or ones that are built into surrounds with mantels.
Does a gel fireplace give off heat?
If you're familiar with gas fireplaces, you know that they come with blowers and usually give off a fair bit of heat (often enough to serve as an alternate heat source to warm up your house when the power goes off). However, while a gel fireplace does give off a little warmth, it's pretty minimal. These units are designed more for ambiance than to heat up a room.
How much does a gel fireplace cost?
As with other types of fireplaces, costs vary quite a bit depending on style, size, and quality. You can order models, such as the one below, from Amazon starting around $200:
How long do cans of gel fuel burn?
The cans burn about three hours, so they're just right for an evening of dancing flames (think of them like those pressed wood logs you can buy at the grocery store). If you want to end the night early, you can simply blow out the flames (something you can't do with a fireplace log).
How much do gel fuel cans cost?
It costs about $3 per can, and you'll usually see them for sale in 12 or 24 packs. If you're looking for cheaper alternatives, you can read the lengthy and informative conversation in the comments section of our post on gel fuel information.
With the cans, you can also get some pretty good deals if you order online:
Real Flame Premium Gel Fuel 24 pk (under $65)