Gas fireplaces provide a reliable source of heat and add beauty to a room design. You have two basic options for a gas fuel fireplace – gas logs and gas fireplace insert. Both produce heat and help a living space feel warm and inviting, but each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Gas fireplaces are less expensive than installing a wood-burning fireplace that requires a full-scale chimney to release smoke and ash.
Fireplaces come in different types:
One of the big differences between gas-log fireplaces and gas-insert fireplaces is aesthetic appeal. Even though gas logs are synthetic, they look similar to solid wood logs and appear more authentic than inserts. Vented gas logs can’t be covered with glass doors or solid grates, similar to natural wood-burning fireplaces. Gas inserts have a more manufactured design. You can see the flames inside the inserts, but they are permanently sealed with a glass face. Some manufacturers offer gas-inserts styles that have grates or doors, but they are for physical appearance only. Neither gas logs nor gas inserts create flames that crackle, pop or flicker.
Gas inserts are more efficient than gas logs. Because gas inserts are covered in glass, they require less gas and therefore less heat escapes. According to NW Natural Appliance in Portland, Oregon, gas-log fireplaces are approximately 10% efficient and have similar efficiency ratings to wood-burning fireplaces. Vented gas-insert fireplaces are approximately 80% efficient.
Unsurprisingly, the more efficient the fireplace, the lower the operating cost. NW Natural Appliance Center reports that in 2012, gas-log fireplaces cost between $.75 and $1.25 per hour to operate, depending on the size of the burner beneath the logs. Gas-insert fireplaces cost approximately 40 to 45 cents per hour. Fluctuating propane prices can affect those averages, but comparisons between gas-log and gas-insert operational costs remain the same. Gas inserts are more cost-effective than gas logs.
Lighting Methods and Chimney Requirements
You can light some gas-log fireplaces with a match. Others have a switch that ignites pilot light to start the flame. Lower-heat yellow-flame logs require vents, but some higher-heat blue flame logs don’t. Vented gas-log fireplaces have smoke and soot and require chimneys and chimney cleaning. Gas-insert fireplaces are only lit by a switch that ignites the burner. Vented gas-insert fireplaces also require chimneys, but small flexible heat-resistant pipes are generally sufficient, and there is less smoke and soot than with vented gas-log varieties.
While the traditional masonry fireplace is great for aesthetics and adds to the “down home” atmosphere of any home, the fact is that they are not much for actual heating. If you need heat for your home and want to utilize your existing fireplace, you may be interested in a fireplace insert.
What is a Fireplace Insert? A fireplace insert is a closed-combustion firebox that is installed into an existing fireplace to increase efficiency. You literally “insert” the unit into the old fireplace and instantly upgrade its efficiency and heating capabilities exponentially. Inserts are available for burning wood or burning gas.
Direct Vent vs. Vent Free: If you are certain you want to go with a gas insert, the decision then comes down to whether direct vent or vent-free is right for you. The basic difference between the two is obvious; the direct vent units will require venting up to the chimney, while the vent-free inserts are entirely self-contained and do not require any additional components for operation. The other main distinction is that direct vent units will have a fixed glass panel sealing the unit off from the room, while the vent-free insert will be open to the room, using room air for combustion.
A Wise Investment: Choosing the perfect fireplace insert can be challenging, but the result is rewarding. You will turn your old, drafty masonry fireplace into an aesthetically-pleasing. Your living room will be transformed and you may find yourself saving plenty of money in the long run.
On a chilly fall or winter evening, it’s hard to beat the warm and cozy feeling a fireplace brings. While it would be a big task to add a traditional fireplace to an existing home, new gas log sets have been developed to allow fireplaces to be created easily.
What are gas log sets? Gas fireplace logs are becoming quite popular. Their convenience (some come with a remote control) and cleanliness have convinced many woodburners to retire the chainsaw and log splitter. Gas logs may be fuel by either natural or propane gas. There are two basic types of gas logs currently on the market, vented gas logs (yellow flame) or ventless gas logs (blue flame).
Vented Gas Logs vs. Ventless Gas Logs: The basic principle seperating the two types of gas logs is that vented gas logs require some means of venting the combustion by-products and exhaust resulting from the burning of any kinds of fuel, and ventless or vent-free gas logs do not. In practical terms, this means that lots of things (including some heat) go up the chimney or out the vent pipe when using vented gas logs. In contrast, almost everything (especially heat) is contained in the home when dealing with vent-free logs.
A Wise Investment? Gas logs are typically inexpensive to operate. Consider the cost and time of ordering, delivering and stacking firewood. Then consider that this needs to be done a yearly basis for as long as wood is used. Compare this to the one time cost and set up of a gas log set.
“I currently have a wood burning fireplace and are considering switching to gas. Which is right for me, a gas log set or gas fireplace insert?”
Both products give you the ease and convenience of simply turning the unit on by a switch or a remote. The main difference between the two products is the amount of heat that comes into your living space. A gas log set is a decorative appliance. It can only be installed into a fireplace that works well as an open wood burning fireplace. It will give you slightly more heat than what you feel when you burn wood. A gas fireplace insert is a furnace rated appliance that can be used as a zone heater, and will heat the room/space.
|Gas Fireplace Insert||Gas Logs|
|Realistic logs and flames||Realistic logs and flames|
|East to use – manual control, wall switch or remote control||East to use – manual control, wall switch or remote control|
|Can be used to resolve a drafting problem in a masonry fireplace||Can only be installed into a working wood burning fireplace – masonry built or factory built|
|Is a sealed system with a fixed piece of glass in the front. No room air leaves the house through the chimney||Chimney must draft well|
|Furnace rated – can be used as a zone heater||Glass doors may be required/desired|
|Uses a blower to push the heat into your living space||Approximately 10% – 20% efficient|
|Approximately 70% – 85% efficient|
With a gas stove you can create a warm gathering place that is clean and modern or timeless and traditional. Gas stoves have the ambiance of a freestanding woodstove but offer you the convenience of gas.
What are Gas Stoves? With a simple bush of a button or flip of a switch, gas stoves come to life, instantaneously producing heat and a soothing atmosphere. Gas stoves allow homeowners to enjoy a realistic feel and look of a wood burning fuel without the hassles of chopping, splitting, or storing firewood.
Benefits of Gas Stoves: Gas stoves are extremely functional and require very little maintenance and cleaning. Plus, most directly vented units only require 3 to 4 sq. ft. to install, allowing them to be installed in small rooms or tight living spaces. Take advantage of the numerous benefits of gas stoves and invest in heating technology that will help reduce heating costs and make heating your home quick and easy.