A gas fireplace can be natural gas or liquid propane (LP) and is a pre-fabricated metal box with a gas valve, logs or other “media” (stuff you look at), a burner, etc. etc.
It is NOT a set of gas logs in a fireplace, a fireplace with a log lighter, or anything other than the description above.
Traditional vs. Contemporary
A “Traditional” style fireplace simply means that it has a set of logs (which come in a variety of styles), as opposed to a “Contemporary” style fireplace, which would have some other “media” other than logs…. glass, stones, or other more modern looking media.
Two Technologies – Millivolt and Intermittent Pilot
There are basically 2 different types of technologies in the gas hearth products available today:
Millivolt – This is what most people are accustomed to. Most gas hot water heaters are a millivolt system. It means that there is a standing pilot that, once lit, will continue to burn until the burner is designated to come on, either manually or with a remote switch such as a wall thermostat or hand-held remote control.
Pros & Cons
Pros – A millivolt system is a simple, basic system with years of time-tested reliability. It is just a pilot light that burns steadily and, on demand, will light the burner for full flame and heat. Being a simple system, there are fewer parts than the IPI counterpart and, therefore, should it ever need service, it is a simpler and less expensive alternative.
Cons – While millivolt systems offer proven reliability, the new technology in the hearth industry – Intermittent Pilot Ignition (IPI) allows the user to not have a pilot light on during moderate temperatures. An IPI system will be off and, upon demand, automatically turn on the spark ignitor, light the pilot, and then light the burner. It’s more “automatic.”
Do your own research and see which technology is best for you. At the Spa Doctor Spa & Stove Center, we have both types in a wide range of styles and sizes. Whichever you choose we will walk you through the steps to make that right choice.
Another term for contemporary is “Modern” – they are interchangeable. Whether traditional or contemporary, the design, components and function is the same.
Call us with any questions about gas fireplaces