Investigating the Heating Power of Gel Fuel Fireplaces: Effective or Not

There is definitely a solid heating power of gel fuel fireplaces for both indoor and outdoor spaces.

These fireplaces can hold between one to three canisters of fuel and the heat produced can be customized.

They are also portable, which means they can be placed in various locations like your living room, bedroom, workspace, patio, and yard.

With gel-fuel fireplaces, you can enjoy the warmth and cozy ambiance they provide all year round.

Gel-fuel fireplaces are a great alternative to traditional wood-burning fireplaces.

They offer flexibility and portability both indoors and outdoors.

These ventless fireplaces are chimney-free, require no electricity, and use canisters of alcohol-based gels instead of gas or logs.

However, one may wonder if the initial cost and investment of gel canisters are worth it, or if they are nothing more than larger versions of candles that produce light but not much heat.

In this article, you will learn about the heat output of gel fuel fireplaces, how to increase them, the best places to use them, and safety precautions to keep in mind.

By the end of this article, you will have the necessary information to choose the ideal spot to feel the heating power of gel fuel fireplaces.

Ceramic logs on a fireplace showing an example of the heating power of gel-fueled fireplaces.

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What is the Heating Power of Gel Fuel Fireplaces?

Each can of gel fuel emits heat measuring around 3,000 Btus, which is a lower amount compared to traditional log fireplaces that can emit 20,000 to 40,000 Btus of heat.

On the other hand, gas fireplaces can produce about 8,500 to 60,000 Btus of heat.

It is important to note that when using up to three canisters in your gel fireplace, it can generate up to 9,000 Btus of heat.

Although this is lower than the amount produced by other types of fireplaces, it can still keep those sitting close to the fireplace warm.

Additionally, the smaller the space, the less heat is required making it easier to feel the heating power of gel fuel fireplaces.

However, if you are using your gel fireplace outdoors, the amount of heat produced may vary depending on external factors such as wind.

Indoor vs Outdoor Gel Fuel Fireplaces

If you want to enjoy the warmth of a fireplace without making any structural changes to your living space, gel fuel fireplaces are a great option.

These free-standing fireplaces can be used both indoors and outdoors.

They can be placed away from a wall and closer to sitting areas, making them ideal for those who want more flexibility in terms of placement.

Some models are even designed to be placed on tabletops.

There are various designs available for indoor fireplaces, including traditional styles with different options for doors, frames, and mantels.

Additionally, wall-mounted models are available which provide a traditional fireplace look without the draft.

Some fireplaces can even increase the temperature by approximately 10°F in smaller rooms showing the heating power of gel fuel fireplaces.

When entertaining indoors, a few can be placed around the room for looks as well as for warmth.

If you like additional warmth when relaxing at home, gel fuel fireplaces offer a different option than space heaters, with a more pleasant sound. Also, no cords to trip over.

Fire features such as fire pits, fire tables, and bowls designed for tabletop settings are available in outdoor versions.

These models are usually portable, making it easy to move them around the yard or even indoors.

To get the most heating power of gel fuel fireplaces, it’s best to sit closer to the flame, just like sitting around a campfire.

Depending on the wind, the heat emitted may not be too intense to make you feel uncomfortable.

Once you’re finished with the heat and flame, simply replace the canister lid to extinguish the fire, and leave the fireplace unattended.

Are Gel Fuel Fireplaces Safe?

When used correctly, and with proper care, gel fuel fireplaces are safe to use within your home.

In addition to an updated look, gel fuel fireplaces do offer some advantages over traditional fireplaces.

  • Gel fuel burns chemical-free, with no soot or carbon monoxide. No fear of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Provides warmth with a real flame. The level of flame and warmth can be increased.
  • The flame is slow-burning and condensed. Options exist to mimic the sound of a wood-burning crackle.
  • Options are available for indoor and outdoor use. Both options are portable, so you can change where it is positioned in your space.
  • Renters can use these fireplaces as they make no structural changes to your home.
  • Require no electricity. Can be utilized if the power is out.

There are some safety points to keep in mind, namely:

  • Like all fire and flames, do not burn gel fuel unattended.
  • Ensure the fireplace is placed on a level surface to avoid tipping.
  • When used outside, pay attention to high winds and adverse weather such as rain or snow.
  • Always use the original gel fuel container. Do not transfer or refill the gel fuel from or to another source.
  • When placing the containers within the unit, ensure you place them in the correct positions.
  • When extinguishing the flame, lower the lid with care over the flame.
  • Make sure you put the unit in a well-ventilated area. While it does not emit smoke or chemicals, the flame is not odor-free.
  • Take care not to place items too close to the flame. Though a smaller flame is emitted from the unit, there is still a risk items that aren’t flame-retarded could catch fire or become melted.

Related Reading: What Are Electric Fireplaces Used For? [A Brief History]

The Cost of Gel Fuel Fireplaces

Fireplace models are available at different prices.

The basic model, called an insert, costs around $399.

It has a few faux logs over a grate and places to hold the canisters.

If you want more features, you can opt for upgraded models that can cost up to $2,000.

You can choose from a variety of shapes, sizes, heights, and colors to find a model that fits your preferences and budget.

The canisters cost about $3 each but are often sold in bulk. Larger stores and online retailers may offer discounts for larger purchases.

Installing a fireplace in your home can be expensive and time-consuming.

On the other hand, opting for a portable fireplace can be a cheaper and more convenient alternative.

Although the cost of purchasing canisters can add up, it eliminates the need for finding or chopping firewood.

In addition, gas fireplace options provide an extra level of convenience, as you won’t have to worry about refilling gas canisters.

The overall cost will depend on how frequently you use the fireplace, but opting for a portable one can be a practical and cost-effective solution.

When deciding to use a gel fuel fireplace, there are several points to consider.

Firstly, it emits heat and provides warmth to the area where it is placed, whether indoors or outdoors.

Additionally, it offers a pleasing look and sound, adding to the ambiance of the space.

Moreover, its portability is an added advantage over traditional wood and gas fireplaces.

Without the need for electricity, gel fuel fireplaces can be used anytime.

They can produce adjustable heat and offer advantages over traditional fireplaces.

Related Reading: How Long Does Gel Fuel Last? [ANSWERED]

How to Start a Fire in a Gel Fireplace

Starting a fire in a gel fireplace is a simple process that can be accomplished in just a few steps.

Gel fuel can be found in most stores and is sold in 13-ounce cans for approximately $3 each.

These cans can be purchased in bulk from many online retailers or at hardware stores.

The gel fuel is made from isopropyl alcohol and each canister will burn for two and a half to three hours.

  • To begin, remove the paper lining from the can.
  • Just like you would do with a paint can, remove the lid from the canister.
  • Make sure to keep the lid handy as you might need it to extinguish the fire before all the gel has burned.
  • Once the paper and lid are removed, place the canister inside the gel fireplace unit.
  • Depending on the size of the unit, one to three canisters can be used simultaneously.
  • Light the gel with a flame, and you’re all set.

If you prefer, the gel used in the fireplace can incorporate organic material that will produce the crackling and popping sounds of a wood-burning fire.

However, there will be no smoke or soot. If you wish to extinguish the flame before all of the gel has burned, carefully replace the original lid.

Final Thoughts

You can certainly feel the heating power of gel fuel fireplaces.

If indoors, you will find satisfying heating depending on the size of your space.

It is not uncommon to use two gel fuel fireplaces in a larger indoor space.

For outdoor use, you can get close to the fireplace similar to a fire pit, but without the worry of popping wood and embers blowing onto your clothes.

The flexibility of using a gel fuel fireplace allows placement just about anywhere with a pleasing look to your entertaining space.

If you want that special look of a fireplace without adding construction costs, the gel fuel fireplace is a great choice.

You will get the heating power of gel fuel fireplaces without the cost or safety issues of other burning options.

Enjoy living the outdoor life!!!