The advantage of a gas fireplace is that it provides instant heat and has the look of a open fire, without the danger of the open flame or the need for firewood. Additionally, gas is more energy efficient than electricity (emitting less greenhouse gas emissions than burning it to make electricity in power stations).
A gas fire provides both radiant and convection heating, with the radiant heat warming objects in a room and the convection heat circulating the warmed air.
As with woodburners both freestanding and inset gas fires are available. Most freestanding fires must be flued. Some in-built gas fires installed into an existing fireplace may not require flues, but it is strongly recommend by manufacturers that a flexible flue is installed within the chimney breast.
Tip: When flued appliances are installed no additional air is required for combustion. When specifying the location of flued appliances, particular attention should be paid to where the flue will terminate on the outside.
New Zealand has very high safety standards with which manufacturers of gas appliances must comply, and gas fitters are legally obliged to install appliances in accordance with the safety requirements. Therefore it is important when specifying gas as an energy source that architects incorporate the necessary flue and ventilation requirements into the planning process.