5th & 6th October 2024 Royal Cornwall Events
Centre, Wadebridge, Sat 10 – 4.30 & Sun 10 – 4

The Latest Realistic Gas Fires

Living flame gas fires have moved on immensely since their rapid rise in popularity during the 1980’s and 90’s to a level of realism, controllability and efficiency unforeseen in those days features such as battery powered thermostatic remote controls with automatic electronic flame safety and ignition are now commonplace whereas when the living flame fire first became widespread this technical wizardry would have been thought of as nothing but a pipe dream.

First attempts at gas fires that looked closely like a real fire but precious little efficiency or heat output.

These fires were lit with a match, often had no pilot or any safety devices, gas consumptions were poor.

At this point UK gas fires were very specific to the UK with our coal burning heritage, something which would not really change significantly until the first decade of the new millennium.

During this time, British and European standards had developed out of all recognition which meant safety took a big leap forward and gas fuel as well as handling of products of combustion, which had once seemed so hazardous became much safer. Installers became strictly controlled through UK law which means that today you are much more likely to have a successful and safe gas fire installation experience.

With the property building, development and improvement boom in the 2000’s people began to look much further than the traditional coal fire for something to provide a realistic and convenient live fire feature in their living space.

Technology could be applied to bigger, wider, better fires that really formed the centre point of a room. Why not create something much bigger and bolder? Large format European gas fires, although not tailored to the UK market and in most cases very difficult and costly to install began to sell in larger quantities for the first time.

So the gas fire had finally come of age, an efficient, glass fronted inset fire with a realistic flame and fuel effect.

Early UK large format gas fires were often just gas guzzling EU fires – or copies, requiring their own flue system and air supply and a great deal of building work. This would be no problem if a room was being gutted and re-built but what if there was already a chimney in place and a new chimneybreast making the room smaller was just not desirable?

Energy price rises meant that high gas consumptions for big flames were now something of the past. So engineers at leading suppliers developed ranges of fires that could be fitted into existing properties with relatively small amounts of building work.

Bespoke burner systems were developed that could provide a substantial flame effect at greatly reduced gas consumption which when coupled with a brand new firebox design provide state of the art heating efficiencies of 80% from units which are often coveted just for their good looks. High quality ceramics are used to create the fuel effect which has now changed from the obligatory matt black coal to very realistic log forms together with barks chips and ash or glowing ember effects.

Upper end gas fire remote systems are steadily improving in terms of usability, features and energy consumption. Modern fires of this type are usually equipped with battery operated remote controls to maintain the advantage of fuel autonomy that a gas fire can bring – in a power cut a heating boiler is useless whereas an autonomous gas fire can continue to be used to provide vital heating in living spaces. Thermostatic controls can be used for reduced gas consumption whilst maintaining comfort levels without switching on the whole house heating during autumn or spring.

When looking at the past few decades of gas fire development we can see how far things have come and that gas fires remain relevant today. UK manufacturers invest substantial amounts into R&D every year ensuring that the state of the art moves on. Todays gas fires represent modern design at its very best – efficient, convenient, simple for both customers and installers, effective, attractive and useful in more ways than many other lifestyle choices.

This blog was provided by Kean from Cornwall Woodburners