Gel Fireplaces: What Price Romance?}

Gel Fireplaces: What Price romance?


Sam Streubel

Gel fireplaces are an easy and inexpensive way to add charm, beauty, and warmth to just about any room in your home.

They can be ordered in a variety of styles and finishes complete with stained glass accents and curio cabinets.

Most gel fireplaces sell for $350 – $500, but the price for specific models can differ by as much as 10% from retailer to retailer.

Shipping prices also fluctuate a great deal. For example, Home Shopping Network charges $55 to ship the same gel fireplace that Target ships for free.

Gel fireplaces are also called ventless fireplaces by some online retailers. Most of the time they are referring to gel fireplaces, but the term is also used to describe electric fireplaces.

Whether you purchase your fireplace online, or from a local retailer, you can look forward to spending some quality time with your tools while you put it together. Normal set up time is less than an hour.

There are two common complaints from gel fireplace owners. One is the slight odor of alcohol from the burning gel. This can be solved by placing a scent stick in the gel or buying one of the newer scented gels.

The other problem is replacing the cover on a burning gel container without burning yourself. A simple magnetic opener/closer for $10 solves this problem.

Gel vs Electric Fireplaces: Heat Output and Cost to Run

Electric fireplace heaters are rated at 1,500 watts (5120 Btus) and are designed to heat around 200 square feet, or a 12′ x 16′ room.

The heat output of a gel fireplace is determined by the number of gel canisters

burning at one time. According to Sunjel Industries, a single can of their gel generates 3,000 Btus. If this is the case, you would have to burn two cans of gel to approximate the heat output of an electric fireplace.

An electric fireplace rated at 1,500 watts uses 1.5 kilowatts of electricity per hour. When you multiply 1.5 x .10 cents per kilowatt hour (the average price for electricity in the United States), the resulting cost to operate is .15 cents per hour.

A can of gel costs around $2 and burns for 2 1/2 3 hours. Two cans burning simultaneously would cost $1.33 per hour, or $1.18 more per hour than the electric fireplace.

But what price romance? Will it be the inexpensive droning of an electric fireplace blower or the magic of crackling flames from a gel fireplace?

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Gel Fireplaces: What Price romance?}