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Frequently Asked Questions about Propane



Confused about industry terminology? Not sure how to determine which product is right for you? Use the list of FAQs below to answer some of the most common about propane.

If your question isn’t listed here, just send us a message via the Quick Contact form, or give us a call at 1-844-200-FUEL.

What are BTU’s?

BTU’s (British Thermal Units) are a standard of measurement which represent the heat value of any type of energy used to create heat. The amount of fuel that a fireplace will consume per hour is calculated with the BTU value of the fuel it uses to determine the input of that fireplace. BTU values of any type of energy are determined by the actual amount of heat required to increase the temperature of one pound of water, by one degree Fahrenheit.

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Will a Napoleon Gas Fireplace operate during a power failure?

Yes! All of our gas fireplaces incorporate a self generating millivolt system that operates independently from any outside electrical current. Only accessories such as blowers and some hand held remotes rely on house current for power and our fireplaces do perform effectively, even without them.

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What are “Phazer Logs”® and how often do they need replacing?

Our Phazer® logs are produced by a unique process where ceramic fibers are melded together in the form of a variety of log shapes. They are then hand painted and accented to create the most realistic looking logs available. The properties of the ceramic fibers allow the logs to withstand the extreme temperatures that they are exposed to within the combustion chamber of the fireplace. It is for this reason that our Phazer logs are guaranteed for life!

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What types of fuel can be used in Napoleon fireplaces?

All of our gas fireplace models are approved to burn either natural gas or propane. A conversion kit is available for any of these models for either fuel. Fireplaces that are designed to consume wood, oil or gas cannot be converted to the different fuel types that are solid (wood) or liquid (oil) and gas.

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Who services Napoleon Fireplaces and how often should they be serviced?

Authorized dealers are identified by banners in their stores as well as listing in the telephone yellow pages. They are most often listed under “fireplaces” but are often listed under hearth shops or heating contractors. They are there to answer all of your questions, ensure that your fireplace is properly installed as well as providing a regular service program to protect your investment. The requirement of annual inspection and/or service is dictated in the National Fuel Codes for both Canada and the United States.

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What should I consider when choosing a Napoleon fireplace to heat my home?

  • Direct Vented Fireplaces can be installed almost anywhere in your home as they don’t require a pre-existing chimney to vent them.
  • The size of the fireplace – Don’t let it overpower the room.
  • Main floors – The overall appearance may be more important than high output.
  • Basements – They’re normally colder and therefore heat output and appearance are both important.
  • The size of the room – High heat output models will heat a small room quickly but may, as a result be turned off more often than a lower heat output unit.

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Are gas fireplaces safe?

Yes! all of our gas fireplaces must have the ability to shut off the flow of gas if there is no flame to burn it off. This is where the self generating millivolt system comes in. The millivolts energize a magnetic coil within the gas valve which holds the valve open. Should the pilot flame extinguish, the millivolts will stop generating, releasing the coil and closing the gas valve. Every Napoleon fireplace we manufacture is tested prior to shipping to ensure a 100% effective system.

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Do I need a chimney to vent a fireplace?

All of our wood stoves and fireplaces require a chimney, either a masonry or A vent stainless steel chimney and in the case of our oil stoves, L vent is also acceptable. The diameter of the chimney must match the size of the fireplace flue collar to effectively vent the products of combustion. Consequently, an existing chimney may need to be lined with a stainless steel liner to meet venting requirements of a specific fireplace. Gas fireplaces that fall under the category of B vent or natural draft fireplaces, also require either a chimney that is lined with a flexible aluminum or stainless steel liner, or they can be vented using B vent if no chimney exists. Direct vented or vent free fireplaces do not require a traditional chimney.

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What is “Maximum steady state efficiency?”

This figure represents in percentage, the absolute best amount of useable heat the fireplace can produce. Maximum steady state efficiency is determined by specific test conditions that include burning the fireplace until the fireplace and flue gas (exhaust) temperatures reach equilibrium, which means that there is no further change in temperatures. Temperatures, taken from a specific location, reflect the amount of heat being exhausted, which is then subtracted from the predetermined input of the burner. The remaining amount of heat represents the highest amount of heat that the fireplace can transfer into the surrounding area. Example, our natural gas stove, the GDS50 has a BTU input of 44,000 BTU. The maximum efficiency is 84%. 44,000 x 84% = 36,960 BTU output.

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What is AFUE?

This figure represents a more realistic measurement of useable heat as it applies real-life influences to the efficiency of the fireplace. Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency is also determined by the results of some specific test conditions but these results are further calculated with other influences such as average daytime and nighttime temperatures, heat loss due to the standing pilot and from cold start up. All sorts of data is calculated to provide the overall average efficiency of the fireplace throughout the year.

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How much fuel do fireplaces consume and how much do they cost to operate?

This is easily calculated provided that you have the local price of the fuel to be used. 1 cubic foot of natural gas will produce *1000BTU per hour, 1 litre of propane will produce *29,059 BTU per hour and 1 US Gallon will produce *110,000 BTU per hour. (*values may vary slightly, depending on location) The BTU of the fireplace is divided by the BTU value of the fuel to determine the amount of fuel consumed per hour. Example: A natural gas fireplace that has an input of 30,000 BTU per hour consumes 30,000 / 1000 = 30 cubic feet/hour. If the price of natural gas is .35 cents ($0.0035) per cubic foot then 30 cubic feet x .35 = 10.5 cents ($0.105). Therefore the cost of operating one of our 30,000 BTU Natural Gas Fireplaces such as the new GDS28 Gas Stove for one hour is 10.5 cents.

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What does zero clearance mean?

Zero clearance is a term used to describe a certain fireplace’s ability to be enclosed completely by combustible building material that can be positioned right up against the body of the fireplace. That is the back, top, bottom and sides. The front area is designed to radiate heat and therefore must be given adequate clearance to combustibles. In this case, objects such as furniture, should be kept a minimum of 48″ away. With the exception of our stoves and inserts, all our other models are designed, tested and approved to be installed with zero clearance to combustible framing.

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What is a direct vent fireplace?

Direct vent is a term used to describe a specifically designed fireplace that performs differently from the traditionally vented fireplace which use a chimney. This type of fireplace has a completely sealed combustion chamber which allows it to vent directly out a side wall of the home. One of the benefits of this type of design is that it must draw air necessary for combustion from the outside since the sealed combustion chamber does not allow air to be drawn in from around the fireplace. The co-axial vent system has the exhaust pipe within the air intake pipe which protects any surrounding combustible material from the high temperature of the flue gases as well as preheating the outside air prior to it being introduced to the combustion process.

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What is a B Vent or Natural draft gas fireplace?

These type of fireplaces do not have a sealed combustion chamber and relies on the buoyancy of hot gases to vent effectively. They must be installed either with an existing chimney that meets the local building code standards or they can be installed using a B vent which is a vent pipe that must be installed to the same parameters of a masonry chimney but can be enclosed in combustible material. They draw air (oxygen) necessary for combustion from the area surrounding the fireplace. The combustion by-products or flue gases are hot and naturally rise up through the chimney which provides a route for these hot gases to escape from the house. As the fireplace continues to vent these flue gases up the chimney, the walls of the chimney heat up, which allows the flue gases to retain more of their temperature and buoyancy thereby increasing the speed with which they exit the chimney.

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