Small Fireplace Solutions

GAS OPTIONS

Owners of historic homes face unique challenges in finding products to fit their small fireplaces and to complement a period décor. These tiny fireplaces were designed to burn coal and are most often found in homes built between 1880 and 1930. They are characterized by shallow depths and small openings which are taller than they are wide.

 Virtually no products to fit these fireplaces are made by American manufacturers, presenting a challenge to owners of these older homes who often have several fireplaces they cannot even use.
 
Help is at hand! Most of our products are designed by English companies where these small fireplaces are the standard. To fit the décor of the original design, most are coal-effect  fires: gas coal baskets, gas fireplace inserts and freestanding stoves. We also offer elegant mantels and hand painted Victorian hearth tiles specially made for small fireplaces.
 
The very first step in any renovation project is good planning. Since you're dealing with fire, safety should be of utmost concern. First, have your chimney and fireplace inspected by a CSIA certified chimney sweep to determine its condition. The very last thing you want to do is install a beautiful fireplace that is unsafe. Your CSIA certified sweep can address any structural or venting concerns and determine if the design you have in mind will work in your home. When possible, choose a vented appliance and make sure your chimney can meet or be altered to fit the requirements of the model you prefer. 
 

For the smallest fireplaces (under 11" depth) you'll want to consider a gas coal basket. We have a gas coal burner that , such as our Victor gas coal burner fits fireplaces as small as 5-1/2". Since these old fireplaces were originally built to burn coal, gas coals are a natural choice and their smaller venting requirements can usually be met. Gas coal baskets are a great alternative to burning real coal which is messy, or to burning tiny wood fires that will need frequent replenishment.

For problem chimneys or instances where heat is needed, consider a gas insert. Direct vent gas fireplace inserts are installed with 2 small 3" aluminum chimney liners; the cost of a direct vent insert with this liner kit is less than the cost of just relining the chimney to use with other appliances. Gas fireplace inserts are also a good choice when the fireplace is deteriorated since they hide unsightly interior fireboxes. As an added benefit, an insert produces substantial heat at high efficiency, so the gas you burn is also helping to heat your house. Gas inserts are capable, in general, of heating 800 - 2000 sq. ft. or more depending on the model.
 
ELECTRIC OPTIONS
Why not consider an electric conversion? The condition of the chimney is unimportant because an electric fire produces no fumes. There are no gas lines to run. Just take it out of the box, slide it into the fireplace and plug it in. As an added benefit, an electric fire can be used in a "flame only" setting, without the heat turned on, for added ambience any time of year. Take a look at our great selection of electric inserts.