A gas fireplace insert allows you to effectively replace an inept wood burning system. Converting an inefficient, polluting wood burning fireplace will be good for your family and your pocketbook. Even if your wood is free and you enjoy the messy cleanup, wood burning doesn’t make sense for most homes.
- If your excuse is that you just don’t use it that often, that should tell you the real story. You may not use your fireplace very often because of a lot of good reasons:
Collecting and storing the wood.
- Starting the fire, then maintaining it.
- Maintaining it means watching out for sparks, smoke and sending your warm room air right up the flue.
Let’s leave heating the outdoors to the sun. Make the change to safe, efficient and plentiful clean-burning natural gas.
Your current situation will dictate some of your choices. Knowing your options will allow you to make that all important, “informed decision”. What does your house need to make it feel like a home that is comfortable and inviting? Aesthetics don’t have to be compromised for efficiency, so the choice of units is plentiful. Budget and the heat desired also need to be a part of your decision.
Gas Fireplace Inserts | What Are They?
Do you have an existing wood burning fireplace in the room you want to safely heat? If so, then a gas insert is your best choice. Asking why is a great question. A gas fireplace will fit into your existing wood system allowing you to take advantage of what you already have. Installing your new insert into your fireplace will dramatically reduce the installation cost. The insert will be housed in the fireplace and allow the vent kit to be installed into the existing flue. All this not only saves you money but also makes your gas fireplace insert even more efficient.
Direct Vent Gas Fireplace vs Vent Free
A vent free or ventless gas fireplace as it is also called, may be offered to you as an option. These units are not approved in many circumstances by your local jurisdiction especially in a bedroom or bathroom. There are also warnings about operating them at high altitudes because of nuisance outages.
These units are advertised as being incredibly efficient and they are, although there are still considerations to take into account. The appliance is designed to burn so efficiently that the exhaust or byproducts are allowed back into the room as being part of the heating process. It is equipped with an Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS) which monitors the oxygen from the room air being used for combustion at the appliance. It is critical that all outside intake air going into the firebox be diverted or blocked since the outside air would cause a false reading on the oxygen content.
Note, that changing the way fresh air comes into your existing fireplace would void any manufacturer’s warranty. Permission would need to be obtained from your local jurisdiction or the manufacture of your fireplace. All in all if you have an existing wood burning fireplace, a direct vent gas insert is your best choice.
Gas Fireplace Logs | Beauty is only skin deep
Gas fireplace logs are considered the closest looking decorative appliance that resembles a real wood burning fire. Having said that if you’re looking for heat and efficiency there are better alternatives than gas logs. They are beautiful but cost more to operate and only provide a fraction of the useful room heat. When it comes to the challenge of ambiance vs. efficiency, log sets win with their looks and comes in last in the efficiency column.
Gas Fireplaces | Needs vs. Desires
With the never-ending models of gas fireplaces and their options, you will be amazed at their appearance, their capabilities, and their costs. So what is really needed for your circumstances? Any of the direct vent gas inserts have the efficiency needed to not only be a cost savings but to have the appearance needed for your room. A blower is a must if you have a larger room or a room that communicates with other rooms that could use additional warmth.
A thermostat allows you to control the comfort of those in the room by setting the temperature that is desired. The other bells and whistles are for those who want to add to the appearance on the front of the gas insert or the way it’s operated. This part of the purchase is your personal taste and budget.
Gas Inserts | Good Better Best
Making the decision to convert your wood burning fireplace to a more efficient gas fireplace insert is a good idea. Making sure the insert is a direct vent is even a better idea. Direct vent is simply more efficient and safer…period. Taking the time to know all the options so there will be no regrets is the best option of all. Making sure your retailer has covered all your needs for the conversion is essential. Remember no matter how great your decision is on your choices, if they are not installed by an experienced installer your headaches will be endless.
Having an installation team like The Gas Connection who has installed over 200,000 in the last 38 years can make all the difference in the reliability and longevity of your investment. Remember do your homework. Check references, reviews and even check with your local jurisdictions. Local feedback will allow you to make that “informed decision.”
Code Compliance | Checks & Balances
As with most home projects, a permit from your local city or county jurisdiction is required. There will be additional costs and more time needed for inspections. Ultimately having an inspector check your installation for code compliance is a good thing. Your installation company should insist that a permit is obtained for their liability and your peace of mind. Your local codes and the manufactures instructions will cover important requirements. The capacity of the gas line, electrical needs and clearances for venting are in these codes. Hire an experienced contractor who installs to code and has their work rechecked by a local inspector.
Yes, a simple conversion from a wood burning fireplace to a gas fireplace insert can be life-changing. It can mean more comfortable family & friends time together that can be the setting of many lifetime memories together. Is increased safety for your home and family is important to you? Start the process of a successful conversion to a natural gas insert today.