Understanding Zero-Clearance Gas Fireplaces

September 9, 2022

Adding a new fireplace to your home is a big decision. There are a lot of things to take into consideration when deciding on the type of fireplace to install. You want to be sure to select a fireplace that will not only add warmth and coziness to your living space, but will also perfectly complement the design of your home.
You will come across many installation and design terms during your fireplace search- clearances, finishing materials, venting, surrounds, etc. (See Fireplace Terminology Explained to learn more about all of these terms, and more).
One specific type of fireplace you may come across is a zero-clearance fireplace. But what exactly does that mean? Here we will help explain what a zero-clearance fireplace is, how it differs from other fireplaces, and what benefits it can offer when adding one to your home.

What is A Zero Clearance Gas Fireplace?

A zero-clearance fireplace is a premanufactured metal firebox that is completely self-contained and insulated, which keeps the outside of the fireplace from getting too hot, protecting the materials surrounding the unit. This allows it to need zero distance from combustible materials, such as walls, wood and paneling.

Benefits of a Zero Clearance Gas Fireplace

Installation Because zero-clearance fireplaces do not have a minimum clearance to combustibles, and depending on the specific model, you may be able to use wood framing or regular drywall direct to the edge of the firebox. Since a zero-clearance fireplace has greater flexibility for framing and finishing, they are often able to fit into smaller openings.  
Like other direct vent gas fireplaces, a zero-clearance gas fireplace does not require a chimney or hearth. The fireplace can simply be vented through an outside wall or through the roof.
This flexibility, combined with a large variety of size options, allows you to add the warmth of a fireplace to a bedroom, living room, den, basement, second story- just about anywhere in your home. 
Finishing Materials Gas fireplaces are fantastic at framing a room and drawing the eye towards them – even when they are off! Zero-clearance fireplaces allow you to use virtually any finishing material, including wood, wallpaper, and marble, to turn your fireplace into the focal point of any room. Many zero-clearance fireplaces also allow TV’s and artwork to be safely hung directly above the fireplace without fear of damage.

While certain materials may be restricted by certain manufacturers, the following shows some of the most popular finishing materials for Regency City Series fireplaces with Cool Wall System. 

Customization In addition to the wide array of finishing materials available for zero-clearance fireplace installations, you will also have many choices in customizing the look of the actual fireplace itself. Multiple options for faceplates, interior panels, and log sets are just a few of the choices you will be able to make in creating the perfect fireplace look for your home. 

Efficiency Zero-clearance fireplaces have much higher efficiency ratings compared to traditional open, masonry fireplaces, which can be drafty and cause much of the heat produced by the fireplace to be lost up the chimney. The sealed firebox of a zero-clearance gas fireplace prevents cold air from entering your home when the fireplace is not in use and increases the efficiency of the fire while burning, meaning more heat directly into your home and lower heating bills.

Regency’s Cool Wall System

Some Regency fireplace models use our patented heat transfer technology called Cool Wall System to completely eliminate clearance to combustibles. Our Cool Wall System draws excess heat away from the interior of the wall and distributes it into the room using natural drafting and a small chase vent opening at the top to release the heat at ceiling level and evenly distribute it throughout the room. The result is decreased radiant heat directly in front of the fireplace and inside the wall, allowing virtually zero clearance to combustibles. Some Regency models, including the Grandview Gas Fireplaces, have an optional Cool Wall Installation and, therefore, would not be zero-clearance without being installed as such.

Selecting a Zero-Clearance Gas Fireplace for Your Home

The convenience, customization, and flexibility offered by a zero-clearance fireplace is unmatched, but it is important to keep in mind that every fireplace has a specific set of manufacturer specifications that should always be followed.
If you think a zero-clearance fireplace may be right for your home, we encourage you to visit your local Regency dealer. Because every installation is unique, working closely with your dealer can ensure you find the right size unit for your home while also getting the look you desire.  
Your local dealer will also perform an on-site inspection to ensure the zero-clearance fireplace you select will work in your home and meet all local building codes and regulations. They will carefully check the location the fireplace will be installed to make sure all specifications can be met and that venting can be run safely and correctly.