HomeFires - Decorative English Firebaskets
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Frequently Asked Questions


When trying to decide what type of gas fire is right for you, ask yourself
these 2 questions:
  1. Do we need a gas fireplace as a primary source of heat for our house, or do we want a gas fire that will be aesthetically pleasing? In this age of central heating, the fireplace serves as more of a focal point and symbol of family warmth than a primary heat source. If you are looking for a supplemental heat provider then you will be better served by a vented gas fireplace heater or a sealed combustion design. Our products are designed more for looks than for heat. They do provide a radiant heat, similar to vented gas logs, but their primary purpose is to be beautiful.

  2. Is the fire's appearance pleasing, both when lit and when not in use? This is where our products are unmatched. When in use, you have a fantastic yellow flame radiating heat out into your room from a glowing bed of coals. When not in use, you retain the beauty and charm of the firegrate which continues to add character and style to your home.
Following are some of the most common questions and answers. If you still have any concerns please feel free to contact us anytime at 1-800-749-4049.
Will a Homefires decorative gas coal fire work in my fireplace?
Our gas units are only to be installed in a fully vented fireplace or a pre-fabricated firebox with a completely functional vertically vented flue. Our gas units will not work in a direct vent or vent-less fireplace.  However, we do have other options for customers who do not have venting.  If you have a standard traditional fireplace that you can burn a wood fire in then most likely your fireplace can be adapted to accept a decorative gas fire.

What size fireplace do I need?
One of the many benefits of our fires is that they come in a variety of styles and sizes. Unlike American gas logs that are generally 18", 24" or 36", our units come in 16 different sizes. They require a minimum height of 20" and a minimum depth of 12". For aesthetic purposes we suggest you allow several inches on each side of the grate to help keep everything in proportion. Simply measure your fireplace opening, compare it with the firegrate dimensions on our products page, then pick the style that best suits your needs. If you would like help finding a proportional choice please call a Homefires representative and we will be happy to assist you. See fireplace specifications.

What size flue do I need ?
Our fires require a chimney flue of at least 8" in diameter to clear its fumes. The flue size and height must be related to the size of the fireplace opening for any fire to draw and burn properly. The proper ratio is crucial or many different problems could result. As a general rule, if a flue's cross-sectional area (flue width X flue depth for rectangular flues) is less than 1/10th the fireplace opening's area (width X height), that fireplace may spill. Or if the fireplace opening's height is more than 2/3 its width, the fireplace may spill. If you have any doubts or concerns regarding the integrity of your flue or if you have ever had a problem with sooting, then to avoid a potentially dangerous situation, Homefires recommends contacting a local chimney professional before installing any gas appliance.

Why do these units only work in a vented fireplace?
Simply put, a flue is necessary to remove all of the byproducts of combustion. When gas combustion occurs, several things are produced including: carbon dioxide, water vapor, and even small amounts of carbon monoxide. This is a fact for both vented and non-vented gas fires. In order to have a successful gas fire you must have adequate air flow for combustion and a means to remove fumes and moisture. In our opinion, the only option to meet these guidelines is the chimney. These harmful by-products are either going up and out of your house through the chimney as is the case with vented products, or they are being recycled back into your living room with an unvented appliance. There is a roaring debate over the safety of vent free fireplaces and many states still prohibit their use. If you are considering a vent-free unit please search the web for unvented vs. vented gas logs to see what all the fuss is about.

Will these models work with a remote or wall-switch?
Yes. Flame and height can now be adjusted with the push of a button. Our natural gas burners now have the option of being controlled with either a handheld remote control or a wall-switch control. These burners do not depend on external wiring/electricity and operate with common household batteries. For more information you can print out the remote control owners manual from our downloads page.

Will these units work with LPG / Propane gas?
These units are currently approved and listed in the United States for use with natural gas only. We do have propane burners available and endeavor to keep them in stock, however, since they are not listed with a US agency getting them installed may be difficult. This does not mean they are not perfectly safe in a properly vented fireplace, only that they will not come with CSA/AGA certification. They have not been added to our listing at this time because of the low percentage of our customers that use this type of gas and the excessive cost of the certification process. All propane burners come equipped with an automatic pilot and flame failure valve. For more information you can print out the propane owners manual from our downloads page.

What are the firegrates made of?
The grates are made of solid brass, cast iron, polished iron, or polished steel. The parts are all hand polished before being assembled into the finished firegrate. The burner trays are made of heavy gauge steel. All of our firegrates are shipped pre-assembled.

Will my decorative grate look shiny and new forever?
Due to the nature of the product, some changes in the appearance of your grate will develop over time. Every fire burns differently so it is impossible to say exactly how your firegrate will look in ten years. We believe that our fires only get better with age and look more realistic the more they are used. The impingement of the flames at about 600°C on the black surface of the back plates may eventually take the black coloring off and leave the natural gray color of the iron or steel. This is perfectly normal and cannot be prevented. The front steel bars, again after flame impingement, may discolor over time due to the intense heat. If you prefer to keep the shiny and new look you may paint the back plate with black stove paint or polish the bars with steel polish every year or so. In Europe, no one ever polishes their grate. In fact, people regularly want to buy used or display grates that look more like antiques. The brass does have a heat resistant lacquer on it and should not be cleaned with any type of cleaning agent. There really is no maintenance in keeping up your firegrate, they will last for hundreds of years without help!

Will this unit heat up a room?
Our fires are tested and inspected as decorative appliances, and are not designed as a primary heat source. Each unit takes 41,000 - 70,000 BTU per hour, which depends on the type of burner being installed. Although these decorative fires are mainly designed for aesthetic purposes, they should offer enough radiant heat to take the chill off most average size rooms.

Can the amount of heat be controlled by reducing the damper opening?
No, this is not recommended and is very dangerous. The damper must be completely open when the fire is on.

Is the flame height adjustable?
Yes. The flames are adjustable with all burner trays we provide. The units are most beautiful and produce the most heat when they are on the highest setting. Since the coals are all loose pieces they can be rearranged to provide different flame patterns.

What is the difference between a manual and remote burner?
A manual burner is a simple tray and tube that distributes the gas; this type of burner must be lit with a match or other open flame.  A remote burner has a standing pilot flame, and the main flames are controlled via handheld remote or wall switch.  Safety pilots are optional for Natural gas and required for Liquid Propane. Some cities or municipalities may require a safety pilot regardless of the type of gas you are burning. Homefires is not responsible for knowing the specifics of your local building and safety codes. All burners are test-fired before shipment to insure that they are working properly.

Is a carbon monoxide detector required?
CO alarms are only required for vent-free fireplaces; however, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that a CO detector be installed in all homes that use fossil-burning appliances or have an attached garage.

How long does it take to receive my new Gas Coal Fire?
Usually only 3-5 days. We do our best to keep everything in stock at all times and can usually ship your unit out the next business day. If for some reason we cannot fill your order immediately we receive at least one shipment per month from England.

How are they shipped?
Most of the smaller grates are shipped via UPS or Fed Ex, while the larger units must go by common carrier. All of the carriers we use will deliver to your door and all freight is prepaid and insured.

Are they easy to install?
Yes. These units simply sit inside of your firebox and are connected to the gas line. If you do not have gas in your fireplace already, then you will need to contact a heating contractor or plumber about having the line run to your fireplace. This same person can also install your unit for you. A " iron pipe should be brought to your fireplace with a nominal inlet gas pressure of 7 inches w.c. (this is standard for any gas log set). The connection to the burner tray is made with either 3/8" copper tubing or flex-pipe. If you are installing a gas coal fire in a pre-fab firebox make sure that the pre-fab model you are using has a punch-out for the gas line and is rated for vertically vented gas logs or wood-burning. You can print out installation instructions for any of our fires from our downloads page.

Who can install my new fireplace?
Any certified technician/plumber/heating contractor capable of installing a gas log set can install one of our units. Although they are manufactured in England we have converted everything to American specs and our burners use the exact same type of fittings a normal gas log set would use. If any questions arise during installation your technician can call 1-800-749-4049 for technical support.

What comes with my purchase? View Included Materials

Every firegrate is equipped with:
  • One (1) bag of 2" X 2" ceramic coal chunks. (Each bag contains 45-50 pieces which is more than enough to overfill all of our grates)
  • One (1) gas burner tray (either manual or automatic)
  • One (1) bag of silica sand for use in the burner tray (vermiculite supplied with Propane burners)
  • Two (2) different sets of embers for use in the burner to provide additional effect
  • All necessary fittings needed for installation (for manual installations the installer will provide the floor key valve)
  • A damper clamp (to lock open the chimney damper if it is not removed)
  • Clips to fasten the burner securely in place inside the firegrate (if needed)
  • Owners manual and installation instructions
Does Homefires stand behind its products?
Yes - Guarantee / Warranty
These logs and coals are guaranteed against breakage under normal use for their replacement for a period of two years from the date of invoice. All other components are guaranteed against defects in material and workmanship for a period of one year from the date of invoice. This excludes variations in color which occur naturally from heat impingement. Claims under this warranty should be accompanied by the original purchase invoice. This warranty does not apply in the case of improper installation, neglect, accident, misuse or as a result of modifications of the original product. All costs for removal and reinstallation are the expressed responsibility of the purchaser. Failure to follow all instructions in the Owner's Manual will also void this warranty. If this item fails due to defect in material or craftsmanship, we will replace or repair, at our option, free of charge. Real Flame, Dowding Metalcraft, and AQR. Incorporated will not be liable for incidental or consequential damages.

What firebox should I use with your firegrates?
For new construction we frequently refer people to install an Isokern unit.  Please call us to determine which firebox would look and work best with the firegrate you prefer.