Should I Choose A Class 1 Or A Class 2 Fireplace?

With the winter drawing in it’s time to think of the heating systems in your home so you can stay warm during the cold winter months. And if you want something which looks good it’s worth considering a beautiful living flame fireplace. A living flame fire won’t just add the warmth you are after but will also offer a stunning focal point in any room.
When you buy a living flame fireplace you’ll likely have a number of options to choose between regarding which type of fire insert to choose. The real fire option is always a great choice because as well as the needed heat, you also get the beauty of the living flame. You’ll then generally have to choose between a Class 1 or Class 2 fire insert.

The Difference Between Class 1 And Class 2 Fireplaces
Gas fireplaces should always be installed by a Gas Safe engineer. The engineer will assess your property to determine the type of insert which is suitable. However, the choice between a Class 1 and a Class 2 fireplace will normally be taken out of the engineer’s hands as the insert is determined by the type of chimney and the type of flue where the fire is going to be installed.

Class 1 Fireplaces
If you have a normal-type chimney which you should be easily able to recognize by simply looking at your roof, there is a good chance that you will have a flue with a 7″ diameter or larger. In some instances it may be necessary to fit a liner through the chimney due to the chance that leaks will exist. This is normally the case if the chimney is very old.

Class 2 Fire Fireplaces
If you have a pre-cast flue or a prefabricated flue you might need to use a Class 2 fire. The metal gas terminal or ridge vent which is fitted to your roof will indicate that you have one of these types of flue installations. Most pre-cast flues are 5″ in diameter and run through a block work cavity in a similar way a standard chimney is constructed. But due to the small sized diameter they don’t offer a great rate of extraction.

Class 1 fireplaces give you the option of a higher heating output, usually determined by the BTU output of the fire. Whereas in Class2 fireplaces this BTU output will be lower. The BTU output which you need for a particular room can be worked out quite easily using a calculator found online, it is determined by the room, type of insulation and number of windows.

If you find you need a large BTU output but can only have a Class 2 fire you needn’t really worry. As long as you have another source of heating, the fire will still look beautiful and add that je ne sais quoi you’ve been looking for.


Harry Turner wrote this article about Class 1 and 2 fires on behalf of


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