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Low BTUs with visible flame?

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by jdunfee12, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. jdunfee12

    jdunfee12 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2013
    Messages:
    2
    I have searched a while for this type of product, with out much success. This seems to be a long standing problem that stove manufacturers have never really addressed.

    What if you want the ambiance of a flame, without turning a room into an oven? You seem to have two choices.

    -A high-dollar, contemporary style unit, like the Napoleon Torch.
    -A fireplace that sends all the heat up the chimney. Or open a window.

    Is there a technical reason manufacturers can't create a traditional style heat source, with a visible flame, that is under 10,000 BTUs?

    Joe Dunfee

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  2. FanMan

    FanMan Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Messages:
    313
    Loc:
    CT stix & upstate NY
    Burning gas makes heat. You have to get rid of the heat somehow, use it to heat the room, or throw it away out the vent or chimney. Gas is also not cheap, most people don't want to throw it away... not much market for a deliberately inefficient gas fireplace or stove.

    Install a gas fireplace or stove, and turn the furnace down or off.
  3. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,123
    Loc:
    Midwest
    A true flame typically means heating something (generally carbon soot) to a glowing orange-yellow heat. Some gas fireplaces get around this slightly by using materials impregnated with chemicals - typically sodium or other metal salts - which give off orange-yellow colors when heated (think of the yellow 'sodium vapor' street lights. The problem is, in either case you have a 'fire' which is giving off heat at a rate relatively proportional to the amount of visible flame. So you could get under 10K btu, but just expect a few small 'licks' of flame to be visible - not the entire firebox filled with roaring flames. Burning a lower btu fuel such as alcohol might help slightly, but overall, a certain amount of btu's are needed to put on the light show if you use conventional fire/flame.

    The next best thing is to have the 'appearance' of fire without the actual flame. Some of the electric fireplaces are getting very good at that. There are several on the market which would fool a person at a casual glance from a few feet away. These produce a decent amount of 'showy' flames with essentially no heat, though on really close inspection, the flame appears a bit two dimensional.
  4. jdunfee12

    jdunfee12 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2013
    Messages:
    2
    I have a gas heat stove, and I did try turning it way down... but then the visible flame was nearly not visible at all. I am not expecting a fire box full of a roaring fire, but even a 1800's era gas light emitted a visible flame without turning the room into a blast furnace.

    I even tried to modify my existing heat stove by covering some of the gas exit nozzles with aluminum foil, so that more of the gas could go towards the center. This way I could turn the gas flow down, but have enough gas for the visible flame to exist. It worked, but eventually the aluminum foil sort of withered away. Also, I am not keen on modifying a gas burning appliance on a permanent basis, out of concern that I may make changes that are harmful in some way.


    Joe Dunfee

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