Ventless Gas Fire Ball Fireplace Alternative to Wood Logs.

Having your own fireplace really gives off a nice touch to one’s home. It’s a wonderful place to relax during those cold nights and after a hard day’s work. However, not all homes are blessed to have their own fireplaces or are built with the foresight of an installed chimney or gas line. Not only is it quite expensive to build a fireplace hearth but a fireplace emitting real heat can be impractical in warm climates. As gas fireplaces become more popular and more versatile a custom designed fireplace can be installed with or without ventilation, with optional heat and even portable mantles.

ventless gas fireball fireplace alternative fire shape

ventless gas fireball fireplace alternative fire shape

There are two types of fireplaces, vented and non-vented. A vented fireplace is basically your idea of a traditional fireplace: a place where you create a fire, a working chimney, a vent through the roof, and the works. This type of fireplaces uses the oxygen from the outside to sustain the fire as well as eliminate unwanted gas or emissions like carbon monoxide. Non-vented fireplaces, however, use gas to breathe life to the fire, so no vents are need. One advantage of this is less carbon monoxide emission, however, the fire will use the inside air for sustainment.

What I want to really discuss here is about having a modern, hi-tech fireplace that you may want to consider. A traditional fireplace is not a fireplace without a log burning. With the development of gas or fire logs not too long ago, it is now possible to achieve that classic look and feel without the hassle of clean-ups afterwards. Aside from being ash-free, these gas logs don’t emit carbon monoxide, so they’re cleaner and safer as well.

One way of really making your modern fireplace classy is by using fire balls instead of logs. Fire balls are safe, since they are made with the same materials that are used on fire logs. Usually, fire balls come in sets. Since fire balls are of different colors and sizes, you can arrange them however you want to. You will only be limited by your own imagination.

If you want more variety, you can also use fire shapes. They are also made with the same materials as fire logs and fire balls do, but they come in a lot of different shapes and sizes. Popular shapes include, but are not limited to, cones, cylinders, squares, and rectangles. As with fire balls, you can arrange them in any way you wish.

You can also combine fire balls and fire shapes to create a truly unique and individualized fireplace. One can also add fire glass to complete the effect. If you have a vented fireplace, the flames will come into contact directly with the fire logs, balls, or shapes. Carbon monoxide will be produced which will then be taken out through the flues or vents. Non-vented fireplaces, however, should have lesser contact between the flames and the fire balls or shapes. This will allow for less carbon build-up and lessen or prevent carbon monoxide from being produced in the first place.

unvented gas fireplace with fire balls that look like cannon balls

unvented gas fireplace with fire balls that look like cannon balls

Burning plates are needed to arrange fire balls and shapes. These are where you put the fire balls and shapes in arrangements where you want them to be. Burning plates also come in several sizes. Common ones are between 18 to 48 inches. Flames will come from under the plate which in turn will go through or around the fire balls and shapes. The lesser the contact between the flame and the fire balls and shapes, the lesser the carbon monoxide emission will be. You don’t need to worry about oxygen level in the room. Since gas fireplaces are normally non-vented, they are also furnished with a safety feature called an oxygen depletion sensor. If the oxygen level in the room falls under the safety level, an alarm will sound telling you to lower the flames. Gas fireplaces will always have a gas valve to adjust the flame and a thermocouple to monitor room temperature and pilot light.

When fire balls and shapes are used together for your gas fireplace, they can create a distinct and unique look. This can also serve as a good source of heat and light for your room. When not in use, it will just look like your ordinary fireplace. However, when turned on, the resulting complexity of the flames in conjunction with the fire balls and shapes is really a sight to behold.

Worried about your fire balls or shapes not matching to the overall design of the room? No problem, fire balls and shapes also come in different colors to match your taste. As mentioned earlier, you are only limited by your imagination and artistic sense.

So, if you planning to build your own gas fireplace and you are the type who mixes the old and the new, why not use fire balls and fire shapes to add that modern look to the fireplace of your dreams? You’ll definitely enjoy it and you will also have something for others to be envy about.


ventless gas fireplace gas logs

empire gas log fireplace


TEC Infrared Gas Grill Burner

In the early 1960s a company known as TEC invented and patented the infrared grill. But what’s so special about IR grilling?

Tec infrared gas barbeque grill replacement parts

Tec infrared gas barbeque grill replacement parts

The infrared burner on an IR grill focuses the flame of a traditional gas burner onto a ceramic tile. This tile is made up of thousands of microscopic holes and is thus able to transform the heat of the gas burner’s flame into infrared energy. IR heat is far higher in temperature and far less scattered than persistent than the usual grill, which works by convection heating, can produce.

Get TEC Infrared Replacement Gas Grill Burner

Grilling reproduces the oldest cooking method in the world–an open fire. Whatever fuel is used to produce the flames of a natural fire, there is always a vast amount of infrared energy that is being created, in accordance with the science of physics. From physics we know that any given heat source emits light at some wavelength which is closest to that wavelength of the dominant energy production. To put it simply, the redder a flame, the more IR energy is being produced within it. Wood-burning flames are yellow-orange and coal flames are dull red. But, the gas-fired grill has a blue flame–there’s not much infrared energy there at all, and this makes cooking meat thoroughly and efficiently a real problem.

original tec infrared grill burner was single burner and orifices on side

original tec infrared grill burner was single burner and orifices on side

Infrared grills also provide the griller with moisture retention. Convection heats things by heating up the surrounding air and then just pushing that air onto the food. But look what happens when you use a hair dryer–hot air dries out your hair. Convection grills dry out your meats or whatever else you are grilling, letting the food’s juices rise up and get carried off on the air. But IR energy does the precise opposite: it actually drives moisture from the food’s surface down deeper into the food, enhancing flavor as well as texture for simply a deeper pleasure in the eating experience.

When you use infrared grilling, you get the benefits of shorter grilling times, more convenient grilling, and so much versatility that you can confidently do grilling even in sub-zero temperatures. Grilling also becomes safer because at the very high temperatures you grill with any drippings simply get vaporized, and this even adds more all-natural flavor to the meat–in short, you don’t have flare-ups. But infrared grilling should not be thought of as limited to meats, for just as with convection grilling you can grill anything including seafood and veggies. And no matter what you’re grilling, with IR grilling technology you get the unsurpassed flavor-enhancement of the wood or charcoal grill merged seamlessly with the pinpoint control and consistency of gas-fired grills, and all the while enjoying more succulent (and thus more nutrition-rich) foods.

Thermal Engineering Corporation, or TEC, introduced the very first IR grill in 1961.

infrared tec replacement burner for sterling 2, sterling 3 and patio 2

infrared tec replacement burner for sterling 2, sterling 3 and patio 2

Eventually, their research, development, and engineering prowess led to thirty issued or pending United States and foreign patents. By the 1980s, TEC Grills were making headway as commercial cooking equipment, since they were able to make grills that heated up faster as well as more evenly across cooking surfaces while at the very same time being more fuel-efficient. It was in 1980 that TEC put on the market the world’s first under-fired IR gas grill, and this was when professional chefs and restaurateurs really began taking to the use of IR grilling, so that the technology became more widespread than ever before.

However, TEC’s main patent on infrared grilling technology ran out in the year 2000–and patents run out so as to allow for innovation. One new infrared grill making competitor named Altima came up with swappable burner units enabling someone to use a standard burner, infrared burner, and a charcoal firebox all at the same time. Meanwhile, TEC saw two split-offs form from some of its former employees and management who had ideas of their own: Alfresco and Solaire.

infrared gas grill replacement burner from solaire

infrared gas grill replacement burner

The real objective of all TEC IR grill making competitors is to create more user-friendly (and sometimes more cost-effective) grills, since the original TEC infrared grills were, of necessity, based more on getting the science and engineering of IR grilling right than on considerations of customer comfort zones and end-user convenience. And some competitors have had much success here…

Alfresco came up with their proprietary “SearZone”, which is made up of an infrared burner sitting off to the side of a traditional gas burner. The idea here is that one can use the infrared burner for searing meats, then move the seared meat over to the traditional gas burner to finish the cooking, thereby saving on energy costs, saving on costs for their infrared unit, and theoretically enabling more controlled, refined final flavor of the meat.

Meanwhile, Solaire has patented its own InfraVection concept intended to allow an easy, user-friendly transition for the grillmaster who doesn’t want to leave his “comfort zone” of the traditional convection burner but who still would love to enjoy the benefits of infrared grilling. Just as with Alfresco’s “SearZone” technology, the Solaire InfraVection design enables easy conversion from one burner type to another, once again offering up in theory the greatest possible control over the final flavor and texture of the food. Solaire also boasts that the convection portion of an InfraVection grill consists of an “efficient stainless steel double-lanced ported U-burner with stainless steel vaporizer plate”.

What this all means for you is that while TEC is still a great brand of infrared griller, you might want to check out other, more user-friendly brands, too, without fearing that you won’t be able to get the TEC-developed benefits of the IR grill. But without question, for any grillmaster professional or amateur who can afford it, an infrared grill cannot be surpassed.

Grill Parts Ignitor is Not Broken

As a gas barbecue grill parts technician, I get to see thousands of BBQs in various states of use. Gas grill technicians and plumbers provide technical service and cleanings for any barbecue even if they only stock and sell particular brands. “The igniter on the barbeque grill stopped working within the first year” is a phrase I hear frequently regardless of the price or quality of the barbeque. Sometimes “the first year” was ten years ago!! While the perception of a customer is always true, the statement is generally not true.Barbeque grill igniters usually work long after they have stopped igniting the gas grill.

Of course, you could point out the obvious confusion in that statement which is that if the grill stopped igniting, what does it matter if you say the igniter is not broken?! If it does not ignite the grill, it is not working. I have been shocked by ignition modules off grills when the owner claimed the ignitor hadn’t worked in ten years.

gas grill ignitor modules and electrodes

universal bbq grill ignitor kit contains battery module, electrode and wires to start any barbeque and replace the ignitor

gas grill electrodes spark against the burner to ignite gas in the grill firebox

barbecue grill starter with collection box on electrode sparks the electrode against the collector box

universal module for all gas grill ignition

rotary bbq starter sends electric spark when control knob spins

Gas BBQ Grill Ignition Parts

A gas barbeque grill ignition system consists of several replaceable parts. The module, the electrode wire and the electrode are the primary parts although sometimes the module will be split into a spark generator, a connection switch (button) and a power source (battery). The electrode is like the spark plug in your car, the part that mounts on or near the gas grill burner and sparks to light the grill. The electrode is usually the culprit when you cannot light your grill.
The gas BBQ ignition module, or spark generator, is the part that creates the juice. Many older gas barbeque grills used a piezo electric module. These simple ignition modules would last forever. However, most gas grills today use a battery-powered module. Ignition modules with batteries can corrode from moisture but it is not as common as most of us assume and it can usually be cleaned off. An electrode wire connecting the ignition to the module delivers the spark to light your gas grill. You should be able to see the steel running through porcelain in the front of the firebox just above or beside the gas grill burner. The electrode will consist of the steel rod in porcelain that receive the current and another piece of steel to spark against as a ground. The power from the battery ends as a spark at the tip of this steel rod. If the gas is on, this arc should ignite your gas grill burner.
If your gas grill will not ignite, there could be a few different reasons. Reset the check valve if you are using a propane tank. To correct this issue read: Why won’t my gas grill get hot? Rarely a gas regulator may need to be replaced. If you have been grilling on this gas BBQ for over five years, have a professional test your regulator. However, the most common problem we see is in the ignition system.

What is wrong with the BBQ Grill Ignitor?

As you cook on your gas barbeque grill, the heat trapped in the hood causes the food to “sweat” and grease drips into the grill. When most people clean the grill parts, they clean cooking grates, the outer hood, control panel and things they can see or have to touch. When the grease, pieces of food, rust, rain water, dust and dirt get in to the firebox the electrode gets too dirty to spark.
If you take away one bit of advice from this message: if you do not hire a professional to clean your grill, don’t just clean the parts you can see or eat off. At least once a year, remove the cooking grates, burners, lave tray or heat plates and get a good look inside the firebox. Often you will see the ignition electrodes, the grease management and other parts integral to the safe operation of your gas barbecue. Clean them. I understand this is not a 10-minute fix. Do not take all day but give yourself an hour once or twice a year.
Make the gas grill ignite.
To keep your gas barbeque grill starting reliably and safely, keep the electrodes clean. It is usually inside the firebox on the front wall near the control panel. Many electrodes have a “collector box” which is a small stainless steel box that protects the electrode. The arc may jump between dual electrode posts or from a single electrode post to either the collector box or the gas burner. You grill starter will not light if the electrode cannot spark against a clean piece of steel. The module, battery and switch are still functioning to send the spark to the gas but the failure is at the electrode. A dirty electrode will not spark.

Charbroil, DCS, Weber and other grill ignitors

charbroil ignitor electrode replacement

dcs ignition module spark generator

weber bbq push button starter module igniter

weber gas grill electrode ignitor

ducane ignitor attaches to burner to start gas ignition

Barbeque Grill replacement parts

Gas barbecue grill manufacturers make these products to be outside in the weather. They expect you to treat them poorly, to leave them in the rain and the snow. When you clean your gas grill, simply knowing the parts of the igniter should give you the ability to ensure the electrode stays clean and your gas grill ignition will last much longer. Gas BBQ grill replacement parts are available but learn how the barbeque operates and you will replace a simple electrode for being dirty instead of spending a hundred dollars on replacement parts that you may not need.

In Conclusion

Ask any gas BBQ grill technician and they will all tell you they get more calls for ignition problems than any other complaint. We can also promise you that more than half the barbeque grills we service have nothing wrong with the ignitor that a little degreasing soap won’t fix. Look at the images in this article and go identlfy the module, electrode and electrode wire on your gas grill. Make the electrode a part that you clean at least once or twice a year, change your battery and the ignition trouble that has been plaguing the last five grills you have owned will be a problem of the past.