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Balanced Flue Gas Fires: With a glass front, the appliance is completely sealed from the room in which it is installed and a twin wall pipe vents the appliance through an external wall – some appliances vent vertically through the roof. No electric supply is required. Tend to be very efficient as heat not being lost up a chimney.

Chimney – Class 1: A traditional chimney which relies on the natural circulation of heated air to expel products of combustion upwards. The chimney breast usually means there is plenty of space to accommodate deeper fires/fireplaces and solid fuel options.

DEFRA & Smoke Control Areas

Under the Clean Air Act 1993, it is an offence to emit smoke from any chimney, fixed boiler or furnace if located in a designated smoke control area. It is also an offence to burn an 'unauthorised fuel' for use within a smoke control area unless
it is used in an exempt appliance.


Defra approved appliances have passed tests to confirm they are capable of burning an unauthorised or inherently smoky solid fuel without emitting smoke into the air. Generally urban districts are smoke control areas.

Efficiency: The relationship between the energy used to provide heat and the heat output realised.  With the exception of flueless gas fires and electric fires, gas and solid fuel fires cannot be 100% efficient as some heat is lost to the chimney or flue.  Some “decorative” gas fires are only 25% efficient, the best efficiencies from open fronted fires are often no more than 67%, but glass fronted fires can help efficiencies improve to over 80%.  What type of fire is right for you will depend on how much you rely on it for heat and whether it is a primary or secondary heat source or indeed predominantly decorative.

Electric Fires: Do not require a chimney.  Usually give 2kw or less of heat, there is usually a high and low heat setting and an option just to have a flame effect without any heat.  100% efficient. Bulbs can be conventional or LED bulbs depending on the make. Can be set into a fireplace or stand out depending on the design/use of a spacer frame.

Flueless Gas fires: Do not require a chimney or flue as the combustion gases pass through a catalytic converter.  Require 100cm2 ventilation and minimum room sizes apply.  Heat output is limited although they are 100% efficient and they are designed to be used as a secondary heat source.

Gas Safe:  Gas Safe Register is the official gas registration body for the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Guernsey, appointed by the relevant Health and Safety Authority for each area. By law all gas engineers must be on the Gas Safe Register.  Gas Safe Register replaced CORGI as the gas registration body in Great Britain and Isle of Man on 1 April 2009 and Northern Ireland and Guernsey on 1 April 2010.

Granite: natural material renowned for durability, usually polished and can contain natural markings. Reconstituted granite is also available.

HETAS: the official body recognised by Government to approve biomass and solid fuel domestic heating appliances, fuels and services including the registration of competent installers and servicing businesses.

Limestone: Natural sedimentary rock laid down in the sea bed and so is composed of fossils and tiny organisms.  Can vary in colour and texture according to origin.  Aegean Limestone tends towards white, Portuguese Limestone cream to beige colours for example. Surface is porous.

Marble: Natural stone with random veining.  Can have a polished or unpolished surface and can be porous.

Micro Marble: Real marble crushed and reconstituted to give a more consistent pattern and colour. Polished surface.

Painted Finishes: MDF Mantels can have painted finishes which usually include white/warm or antique white or effects to imitate stone or marble.  This gives the opportunity to create the look of natural material at a lower price. 

Power Flue Gas fires: the gas fire is coupled with an electric fan to expel the products of combustion through an external wall although the fire does not necessarily have to be located on an external wall.

Pre-cast Flues  - Class 2:
Built in more modern homes from flue blocks within an external or internal wall.  Tend to be shallow in depth and usually without any chimney breast so usually require a slimmer depth fire. Deeper appliances can be installed with a deeper rebate on the fireplace.

Solid Fuel : Simply means that fuel is solid in nature like wood or coal rather than liquid or gas.  Solid Fuel can be burned in open fireplaces or within special appliances like stoves. There are different requirements for fireplaces which will accommodate solid fuel because of the higher temperatures and dangers of combustion involved.

Wood: Wood Mantels can be made from solid timber or from veneers.  This is usually reflected in the price.  Veneers can either be real wood veneers on MDF or a printed laminate or veneer which tends to be featureless in appearance.  Real timber has a wide variety of markings which will give your fireplace its beauty.  There are often a variety of finishes and colours of stains available for wood mantels.


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