Fireplaces create a cozy and warm atmosphere in your living room and nothing beats the creaking and popping of firewood on a cold winter’s night. But many homeowners tire of the effort it takes to maintain a wood-burning fireplace, which includes hauling or stacking firewood and cleaning up the ashes afterward. If you are considering switching to a gas fireplace, read on to learn more about gas logs vs. gas inserts before making your purchase. Either product will certainly be more convenient, allowing you to heat your home at the flick of a switch.
What are gas logs?
Gas logs are decorative in nature. This style of fireplace is designed to look like burning wood and can be installed in your existing fireplace opening. Many homeowners like the realistic look of fire logs and the ease of use of gas logs, which can be operated manually with a wall switch or remote control. Gas logs will also give off more heat than a wood stove. Gas logs are less expensive than gas inserts, which is useful if you are working on a budget when updating your fireplace.
While gas logs produce a lot of heat and look good when they produce a pleasant flame, it is important to note the following:
- Gas logs are only 10-20% efficient, and most of the heat produced escapes through the fireplace. (The same goes for a traditional wood-burning fireplace.)
- Gas logs must be installed in an existing working fireplace opening, which means that the masonry and fireplace chimney must be in good working order.
- The air quality in your home can be compromised if your gas log set is not properly ventilated.
- You may need to purchase additional materials, such as glass doors, to complete the installation. This is an important and sometimes mandatory safety feature.
What are gas inserts?
Like gas logs, gas inserts can be installed in an existing masonry or precast fireplace and can be vented through the existing fireplace. Gas inserts are oven-safe appliances, which means they can be used as a zone heater focused on heating a specific area or your home. Gas ventless fireplace inserts are installed as a sealed system with a glass door. As a sealed system, the air inside the home will not escape through the chimney or chimney, making this fireplace option more energy efficient. A gas insert also features a blower that pushes hot air into the room for more powerful heating, rather than just naturally radiating heat. As a result, gas inserts are much more efficient heaters than gas log sets, with an efficiency rating between 70% and 85%.
Gas inserts are available in a variety of sizes and heating capacities, so you can purchase and install one to suit the heating needs of your specific living space. Gas inserts are typically capable of heating spaces ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 square feet. An additional benefit of gas inserts is their safety, with direct vent gas inserts being the safest. Direct ventilation draws air from outside the house to operate and directs the gases or moisture generated by the chimney through a ventilation system (instead of a traditional chimney). Air quality in your home is safer with a direct vent gas insert. Once installed, gas inserts require little maintenance other than an annual service check.