Heating Up Your Home: Fireplace Insert vs Fireplace

fireplace insert vs fireplace

On average, natural gas heat costs only 75% of the price of electrical heat. If you want to replace your electrical heating system with a gas fireplace, it may be a good idea to do so. But then, when you look up different types of gas fireplaces, you may become overwhelmed by the choices.

Unfortunately, this article can’t tell you everything. But it will tell you about the differences between a gas fireplace and a gas fireplace insert. Read on for a full fireplace insert vs fireplace analysis.

What Is a Gas Fireplace?

Wood fireplaces have their comforts. They produce a lovely smell and the sound of crackling wood. There’s also something very charming about the way that old fireplaces are constructed.

But wood fireplaces also have plenty of downsides. You have to constantly feed them and tend them so that they don’t go out. You also have to deal with the hassle of going down to the store to buy firewood.

Storing the firewood and dealing with the ashes are also messy businesses. Then you need to deal with the anxiety that a stray spark could set your whole house. Still, if you’re truly in love with the way that a wood fireplace makes you feel, you can probably deal with the risks and hassles.

No Risks and Messes

But not everyone can. Some people can deal with not having the comforting smells and sounds of a wood fire. They’d rather have something more convenient.

That’s where the many types of gas fireplaces come in. These do not require firewood to function and do not produce ashes. The heat instead comes from gas that gets pumped into the firebox from a natural gas line.

Stray sparks are also not a risk. Most gas fireplaces are constructed with a glass panel. While people can burn their hands on this glass panel, it should still protect the house from the flames.


In addition, a gas fireplace doesn’t require homeowners to set up logs, set them alight, and tend them. A home occupant only has to flick a switch. The flames will appear in a gas fireplace almost immediately and burn for as long as desired.


You can’t completely recreate the aesthetic of a wood fireplace in a gas one. But manufacturers have created options that can make gas fireplaces more attractive. You can add rocks, fake wood logs, etc. to your gas fireplace to increase the amount of comfort it brings you.

Vented vs Ventless

Beyond the gas fireplace insert and gas fireplace models described below, gas fireplaces also have two different subgroups: vented and ventless. The vented fireplace category can be split further into two categories: natural vented fireplaces and direct vent fireplaces.

Natural Vent Fireplaces

Natural vent gas fireplaces function much like traditional wood fireplaces. The natural vent model draws in outside air to feed its flames through one vent. The combustion gasses that the fireplace produces then escape to the outside through another vent.

Direct Vent Fireplace

A direct-vent fireplace also draws clean air in and expels combustion gasses. The main difference between it and the natural vent fireplace is that the direct vent fireplace only has one vent for expelling gasses and pulling in air. A direct vent fireplace can also have a horizontal vent and isn’t, like a natural vent, limited to a vertical vent.

Ventless Fireplaces

Because they burn extremely cleanly, ventless fireplaces don’t need to expel combustion gasses. As a result, they don’t need vents. Because of this, they’re extremely easy to install.

Just make sure that you check your local building regulations. Not all areas allow ventless gas fireplaces inside buildings.

Gas Insert Fireplaces 12

Gas Fireplace Insert vs Fireplace: One Major Difference

There isn’t much of a functional difference between a gas insert and a gas fireplace. They both have the same features and functions as mentioned above. They can also be vented or ventless.

One major difference between them is what’s required to set up either model.

Gas Insert

Do you want a gas fireplace but don’t want to give up the charm of your home’s original fireplace? Then a gas fireplace insert is for you.

A gas fireplace insert gets installed inside the existing traditional fireplace. This installation includes metal boxes, glass panels, decorative elements, and all. If you want a vented gas fireplace, the professionals you hire will place it in the existing chimney.

So you can keep the charming brick, stone, etc. archway of your fireplace without having to continue with the pain of maintaining a wood fireplace.

Gas Fireplace

If you don’t have a wood fireplace in your home, you’re not out of luck. Fireplace installers can still install a gas fireplace inside your home. They may just have to cut a hole in your wall so that they can sit the metal box and glass panel inside it.

Do you want a fireplace with a vent? If so, the installers may need to cut a hole that goes outside so that air can vent in and out. But they’ll be sure to insulate the vent so that as little heat escapes your home as possible.

Anywhere You Want

Getting a gas fireplace installed also gives you a great advantage. You can put your new fireplace just about anywhere that you want. It won’t be limited to the place where your old fireplace used to be.

Do you want a gas fireplace in the middle of a room? That’s completely doable! You also have the option of putting your gas fireplace outside if you wish.

Fireplace Installation Services Available

So in summary, the best choice for you between fireplace insert vs fireplace depends on what you already have. If you have a fireplace, get a fireplace insert. If you don’t have a fireplace, get a regular gas fireplace.

Do you need a fireplace installed in your home now? If so, consider using our services as Dreifuss Fireplaces. We’ve been proudly serving the PA area since 1876.

Check out our products on this page.

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