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issue: November 2005 APPLIANCE Magazine

42nd Annual Report on HVAC
Not Your Father’s Fireplace

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by Jill Russell, Associate Editor

Hearth product designers are using non-traditional technology and aesthetics to create unique decorative elements for the home as consumers are becoming more educated and environmentally conscious.

Heat & Glo’s Cyclone features a tornadic flame with a 360-degree view and was designed to add aesthetic elements to a room.

A Healthy Alternative

Dimplex North America (Cambridge, Ontario, Canada) says electric fireplaces are neutral to a home’s indoor air quality (IAQ) because they do not affect it in either a negative or positive manner. “We decided to go one step further, and rather than just being neutral to air quality, we actually improve air quality,” Kris Hess, vice president of product development and engineering for Dimplex, tells APPLIANCE. “We have the only fireplace that can do that.”
Dimplex, a division of Glen Dimplex Group of Ireland, recently introduced its Purifire™ air treatment system on select models of its electraflame® electric fireplaces to improve IAQ by trapping airborne particles, including dust, spores, pollen, and mold. The Purifire system uses an electrostatically charged 20 inch by 20 inch filter that circulates and cleans the air of an average-sized room four times per hour.
"Gas or wood fireplaces will actually affect the air quality in a negative way,” Hess explains. “If it is an unvented gas fireplace, it may affect it in a very large negative way because the combustion by-products are put into the IAQ because they are not vented outside.”
The patent-pending air cleaner comprises a polyester pleated-type filter molded in a plastic frame that automatically senses the air restriction of the filter to indicate when the filter needs to be washed or replaced. According to Hess, the Purifire system has the benefits of an air cleaning system, but in a quieter and more attractive package.
"This is not like a tabletop type of filter where air is forced through at a high velocity and, therefore, makes a lot of noise,” Hess says. “Since our appliance is larger and can accommodate a larger filter, the air velocity can be fairly low, so it doesn’t make a lot of noise.”
Currently available on several of the company’s plug-and-play and freestanding models, Dimplex says the Purifire filter only needs to be changed once per year, on average.

The Purifire™ system from Dimplex is shown here in its Newport fireplace.

An Artistic Integration

The Heat & Glo brand under hearth company Hearth & Home Technologies (Lakeville, Minnesota, U.S.) is also providing alternative heating options and technologies that add a touch of flair to a homeowner’s décor.
Based off the increased demand for alternative fuel sources, Heat & Glo developed the Aqueon™, a fireplace that utilizes hydrogen from water as fuel. “We were able to formulate something that will actually take water, strip it apart and break it down into the oxygen and hydrogen [atoms], and burn the hydrogen in real time,” Chad Hendrickson, product manager for Heat & Glo, explains. “We’ve taken water and fire, the two opposites that you’d never really see together, and combined them.”
An electrolysis process passes electrical current though water molecules to separate the oxygen and hydrogen particles. The unit burns the hydrogen in real-time, eliminating any build-up or storage of hydrogen since there are no combustion products with the open flame, only oxygen and moisture are released back into the air.
Heat & Glo says the Aqueon unit can be placed anywhere in the home since it does not utilize the same technologies as traditional fireplaces. It does not require venting or sealed enclosures, because it does not create harmful by-products.
Additionally, the company recently introduced its Cyclone®, a gas fireplace that features a 360-degree view of a tornadic flame captured in a glass cylinder. Hendrickson explains that a fan system is incorporated into the burner cylinder to spin the flame.
The company says the unit is available as a freestanding glass cylinder or as a custom wall mount with a black nickel frame and either a brushed nickel or brushed copper front. The wall-mount option also features a polished metal back that mirrors the flame.
Heat & Glo says its new fireplaces are incorporating technology with design. “What we are trying to focus on is creating a fireplace for every room in the house,” Hendrickson says. “We are going above and beyond the traditional square, black box. We have more modern, more contemporary looking fireplaces, with more options for consumers to choose from.”


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