When comparing a fireplace vs fireplace insert, what’s the difference? The easiest way to explain the distinction is: efficiency. A fireplace with an open-hearth design is beautiful to watch. The ambiance is off the charts. But about 90% of the heat goes up the chimney! A 10% efficiency level can hardly be said to provide heat. So, if you want to switch the open-hearth design for a fireplace that really delivers some heat, you can have a fireplace insert installed.
Inserts are EPA-approved fireplaces with an efficiency rating of between 70% and 85%. So instead of 90% of the heat escaping to the outdoor atmosphere, only 15% to 30% of the heat is lost.
There are several ways to correctly answer: what is a fireplace insert? Yes, as some say, it is a gas or wood stove without legs. Others would describe it as a fireproof box designed to place inside an existing fireplace. It operates as a closed combustion system and is complete with catalytic combustors that greatly reduce the amount of smoke released into the atmosphere.
You can get a wood fireplace insert or a gas fireplace insert. They operate a little differently but the important thing is that they are closed combustion systems that generously provide radiant heat.
As it is designed to do, a gas fireplace moves as much heat as possible into the room. Blowers are sometimes used to do that.
A gas fireplace insert creates intense flames that don’t look like the cozy fires in an open-hearth wood-burning fireplace. So, yes, a little bit of the ambiance is lost. However, you can’t beat the convenience of a gas insert. You simply turn it on and off as needed, with the flip of a switch or the pushing of a button on a remote control. Then you watch your heating bills go down. Especially if you turn off the central heating for a while and let the warm radiant heat do its work.
A wood fireplace insert has intense flames, too, but you’ll probably have more of the beloved ambiance than with gas. You should still have the benefit of the woodsy scent but with a far better output of heat to warm up to. If your goal is to reduce the cost of heating, a wood insert is great. The fuel may even be free, if you can cut your own trees. But even if you have to pay, firewood is still the cheapest option for heating.
At Chimney Solutions, our chimney sweeps are CSIA-certified and able to professionally install a fireplace insert for you. If you are wondering about fireplace vs fireplace insert, what’s the difference, that question is easily answered. The real decision is whether you want to upgrade your heating system with a gas fireplace insert or a wood-burning fireplace insert.
We can help with that and all chimney maintenance services such as chimney inspections, chimney repairs, chimney cleaning, and flashing repair.
Contact us online to schedule an appointment today or, in the Atlanta area, call 770-255-1300. For chimney sweep professionals in Chattanooga, TN, call 423-551-9912.