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Difference Between Gas Fireplace Insert and Gas Fireplace

Keep your fireplace going without it going out on you.

Gas fireplace inserts and gas fireplaces have many similarities that cause their interchangeable use. They are easy to maintain, user-friendly, and can heat rooms efficiently. However, they also have differences worth noting when shopping for one. Understanding those distinctions will enable you to prioritize your needs and choose the ideal fireplace in Toronto. The Fireplace Store has several options, but you should distinguish your needs and compare them to the fireplace or insert features. First, what’s the difference between a fireplace and a fireplace insert?

What is a gas fireplace?

A gas fireplace has a unique feature that differentiates it from other units. The main one is non-combustible components around it – that is why it is also known as a zero-clearance fireplace. Such units also have specific venting systems, which is why they are sometimes called direct vent units. You may find gas fireplaces that are not entirely zero-clearance, meaning they will need non-combustible facing or steel stud framing on the sides and top sections for optimum safety. Ventless options are also available.

Benefits of gas fireplace

Gas fireplaces have a dual-box technology design that makes them aesthetically pleasing. You can place them on a wall and add wood framing around them. They are also available in a wide variety of options, making it easier to choose the size and model you prefer.

The fireplaces have extra space around them, perfect for insulation enhancement. Whatever size or model you pick, you can be sure the area around the gas fireplace will remain cooler when the unit is in use. The heating unit will still be hot, so caution is necessary. You can add a security screen if you have pets or kids. Available in vent-free and vented options, you can pick the kind of fireplace most ideal for your situation.

Installing gas fireplaces is easier because they do not require pre-existing hearths. That makes them suitable for homes built without a fireplace – you can add them without extensive renovations to accommodate them. They do not require a chimney either, meaning you can place them in any room. Using a gas fireplace is also energy-efficient, with a possible 20% savings on average.  

Note: Vented gas fireplaces have pipes running to the house exterior through walls or roofs. They mostly use a coaxial system, involving the placement of one venting pipe within another, then enclosed in a wooden chase or placed in a wall. The most popular dimensions are 5 inches for the inner pipe and 8 inches for the outer one, with the space between them serving as the air intake. Vent-free options do not have such requirements because they exhaust the room. Despite the user-friendliness, gas fireplaces require professional experience to install. The venting has requirements you must adhere to for safety and optimal efficiency. For instance, there must be an inch of clearance around the pipe if you choose vented units and install them vertically. 

Horizontal piping requires a three-inch clearance from the top and an inch on the sides and bottom of the pipe.     

What is a gas insert fireplace?

Gas inserts are sometimes referred to as inserts because of the installation. You can insert them into an open hearth that previously harboured a wood-burning fireplace. Inserts are more efficient than traditional fireplaces, with the ability to heat any room quickly. The units are also safe and do not pose any fire hazards.

How does a gas fireplace insert work? 

The design of gas inserts allows heat production between the two boxes, after which that heat is transferred into the vicinity through the firebox. Although the flames resemble traditional embers, they do not create a mess or require too much work to turn on or clean afterward. You only turn on a switch, and the insert will use propane or natural gas to heat the room.

Benefits of a gas fireplace insert

Enhanced efficiency is the main advantage of gas inserts – they are better than wood stoves or log fireplaces and in contention with gas fireplaces. They produce radiant heat through a steady stream of warm air to heat the room without consuming too much heat, making them more reliable than wood stoves. That answers the question of how efficient are gas fireplace inserts.

The inserts have smaller boxes placed within a larger metal box before placement into an existing hearth. That means you can only use them if your house has such accommodations. They also need non-combusting framing because their vicinity can get hot, which is why hearth is essential.

Does a gas fireplace insert need to be vented?

You can choose between ventless and vented options – either provide a user-friendly experience. Vented inserts use a co-linear venting technique where two three-inch flexible liners drop through the chimney into the insert. One of the liners is the intake, while the other exhausts. They remain separated through the chimney, including at the top.

Do gas fireplace inserts use a lot of gas?

Your heating requirements will determine the amount of gas your unit consumes. That is why you should always work with a professional who will establish the BTU you need and recommend a suitable insert for the fireplace. However, the level of efficiency you can get from either option will help reduce your energy consumption.

What is the difference between a gas fireplace and a gas insert? 

A gas fireplace is more expensive than an insert and slightly more efficient. Inserts are also convenient if you have an existing space for a fireplace, making gas fireplaces a better choice for people who want to add a fireplace as an afterthought. Fireplaces also produce more BTU than inserts, but you can find an insert that meets your heating needs.

So, should I get a gas fireplace insert?

A fireplace insert will be perfect if you want to upgrade from a wood-burning stove or log fireplace. The units are ideal for heating and enhancing aesthetic appeal, with the major downside being the hearth and flue requirements. The Fireplace Store experts can help you weigh all the considerations and provide more detail on the better choice.

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