Zero-Clearance Fireplaces and Why They are Good Options

zero-clearance fireplaceIf you are not familiar with zero-clearance fireplaces but you are interested in a fresh way to provide added warmth and personality to your home, this information may be just what you’ve been looking for. Zero-clearance fireplaces are pre-manufactured heating appliances that are safe to place directly against or within a couple of inches of combustible materials, such as a sheetrock wall, wood, or paneling. The fact that a buffer zone is unnecessary means that zero-clearance fireplaces fit and can be safely used in tight spaces. These appliances can be used to burn wood, gas, and pellets;  yet they never get so hot on the outside that they burn nearby materials. There are a lot more features to t zero-clearance fireplaces, all of which make them good options for any home.


Many people confuse zero-clearance fireplaces with generic pre-fab units, but there is a difference which is the first among several benefits of these appliances:

  • Because a no buffer zone is needed or required for placement, these pre-manufactured fireplaces will fit in smaller places than other units.
  • The cost of fireplace installation is reduced because no masonry work is required to protect combustible materials from heat produced by the fireplace.
  • Installation is less expensive and less inconvenient, it can be installed in less time with less hassle than other types of heating appliances.
  • The modern versions of zero-clearance fireplaces have efficiencies of up to 70%, providing much more heat than traditional open masonry fireplaces.
  • Homes built without a fireplace can have the pleasant ambiance that only a fireplace can create, even small places can accommodate a zero-clearance fireplace. No hearth is required, and some models only need air ventilation pipes in the back.
  • There are various types of fuel which can be used in zero-clearance fireplaces. The most common fireplaces which don’t require a buffer zone are gas. There are also units designed to burn wood (including wood pellets), in addition to electric fireplaces. Most models rely on a system of vents and ducts which circulate air in and out.
  • These heavily insulated appliances make fireplaces accessible to everyone; some models are even suitable for installation in mobile homes.
  • They look great in rooms of every size and shape.
  • It’s a low-maintenance appliance, and operation is simple.

Two basic types:

There is a traditional and a modern style of zero-clearance fireplace, and they have distinct differences.

The traditional style looks much like a classic masonry Zero- Clearance Gas Fireplacefireplace. There are many models you can choose from. Such as wood-burning or a gas log system of your choice, whether for propane or natural gas.

Newer models are designed with efficiency in mind and, instead of glass doors, have heavy cast-iron doors in front to reduce the amount of heat lost up the chimney. These fireplaces are typically only wood-fueled.

What to watch out for:

  • Because the protection provided by a hearth isn’t required for zero-clearance fireplaces, the unit can sometimes be unrecognizable as a fireplace. It helps to decorate with the usual fireplace appliances around, to create the cozy setting a fireplace can uniquely achieve.
  • Consult with one of our professional chimney technicians to ensure that you get a firebox sized properly for the room it will be placed in. If you get a firebox that is too large for the space it’s in, you will waste money on your energy bill. The size of the zero-clearance fireplace should be relative to the room’s size.

Ready to install a zero-clearance fireplace in one or more rooms of your home? Contact our chimney technicians today with any questions you may have and for professional installation you can trust.

Northeastern Chimney, Inc.
formerly Nayaug Chimney Services, LLC
37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110
Phone: 860-233-5770

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