What are Gas Inserts?

Michigan Fireplace and Barbeque

What if you could just flip a switch and experience the warm ambiance of a fire in your fireplace, without dealing with difficult solid fuel?

Say goodbye to typical messy hearth products and bring home a gas insert that can make you feel cozy and warm. 

No solid fuel, no ashes, and no time-wasting. A gas insert is easy to use and most importantly, it’s a must-have decor element in your house to make everyone go wow.

But what are gas inserts? Read on to find out. 

What are Gas Inserts?

A gas insert is what the name says it is – an insert. You install a gas insert in an existing fireplace or masonry. It’s usually small in size, so it’s easy to fit it inside the fireplace’s opening. A lot of people who’re tired of using a wood-burning fireplace for a long time (maybe years), tend to go for a gas option that doesn’t make a mess.

Now, when you’re talking efficiency and power, fireplaces always get a bit messy, right? The ones that are less efficient are pretty neat. However, when you don’t want to compromise efficiency either, that’s when you go for a gas insert.

These inserts basically sit on a metal box surrounded by a larger metal box. So you get two boxes here. The mechanism generates heat between the two boxes and the firebox emits the heat. Gas inserts produce not just radiant heat but also a stream of warm air. As a result, your home becomes warm in no time. They come in two versions: you can go for either natural gas or a propane variation.

Since these inserts burn real flame, all you get is a traditional fireplace look too – without burning lots of wood. Meaning, there’s no need for you to gather any firewood, start a fire, heap kindling, or even clean ash left-overs. All you need to do is flip the switch. Voila! The fire is on.

A Little about Venting

Gas inserts prefer using collinear venting. If you go for a standard one, it should come with 3″ flexible liners. These liners are connected to the insert as they drop down the masonry chimney. One of these liners works as the air intake while the other one works as the exhaust. The liners are connected to a cap at the chimney’s top. This cap keeps them separated.

Why People Prefer to Heat with an Insert

One of the reasons you might want to switch to a gas insert from a traditional masonry unit is probably the variety of sizes and shapes the appliances come with. From your bedroom to even your bathroom, you can add gas inserts anywhere with all the convenience in the world.

Besides, you don’t have to burn any wood. Plus, they’re more efficient than a wood-burning fireplace, and managing the heating product is easy-peasy.

Lastly, they produce a lot of warm air and radiant heat pretty fast.

Benefits of a Gas Fireplace Insert a.k.a Gas Insert

Want to know more detailed benefits of a gas fireplace insert? Here are some notable ones.

Clean Burning

Modern gas fireplace inserts are made in such a way that they can exceed EPA standards. This allows you to experience clean burns. As a result, you can keep the environment around you pretty neat too. This means, there’s less air pollution as well.

Compared to a wood burning fireplace, fireplace inserts don’t leave wood chips, ash, soot, or half-burnt logs behind. So your whole house stays cleaner.

Lots of Heat

Your typical wood-burning fireplace can’t heat up your room efficiently. That’s not the case for a fireplace insert though. With an efficiency rating of 65 percent to even as much as 90 percent, a good-quality fireplace insert can keep your whole house warm.

Ease of Use

Using gas fireplaces is what you call a piece of cake. Just flip a switch and that’s it. The fire will start. You can control the temperature simply by setting the thermostat. If you can get a fireplace insert that comes with remote control facilities, that’s just the cherry on top.

Large Heating Area

If you can get your hands on a high-end gas fireplace insert, it can cover from 1000 square feet to 3000 square feet just like that. The way they produce heat is amazing. Replace your existing wood-burning fireplace with a gas insert, and you’ll feel the difference, whether your room is large or small.

Versatile Design

Like we said, modern gas inserts come in a versatile number of sizes, shapes, finishes, and designs. So, there’s always a gas insert that will blend in with your existing masonry fireplace and make your place look beautiful. You can use decorative log sets as well to make your place look posh. We prefer getting ceramic logs in such cases.

Gas Insert Installation: Can I do It on My Own?

Unlike traditional fireplaces, gas inserts are ready to install since they’re pre-made. However, we recommend you do not interpret it as a ‘DIY’ thing. One wrong move and the next thing you know, the gas insert is creating fire all over your place.

If you’ve got vented units, make sure the gas lines are properly hooked up and vented. If you can, try contacting a heating professional near you who can help.

Gas Fireplace vs Gas Insert

Don’t confuse a gas insert for a gas fireplace. The two are different things even though they have a lot of things in common.

A gas fireplace, also known as a zero clearance gas fireplace or direct vent gas, is installed in a wall that has a standard wood framing. This wood framing should enclose it.

The key difference between a gas insert and a gas fireplace is a gas fireplace insert needs an existing chimney, while a gas fireplace does not.

Both the gas fireplace insert and gas fireplace have pretty much the same setup and provide ample heat. However, when it comes to delivering more BTU, a built-in fireplace is one step ahead of the gas insert.


  1.   How do gas inserts make my fireplace more efficient?

Answer: There are several ways that direct-vent gas inserts make your existing fireplace more efficient. First, they burn very little fuel, usually around 30,000 BTU/hr, or about 1/5 what a normal forced-air furnace burns. Direct-vent inserts use their own ventilation, a pipe for clean air intake and another for exhaust, so they require no indoor air to draft and burn. These pipes are connected to their own termination cap that sit atop the existing chimney and is sealed, which minimizes downdraft and indoor heat loss. The unit is also sealed via glass (usually ceramic type) to help maximize radiant heat directly into the living space while keeping indoor heat from being lost. A blower fan is also included to aid in moving heated air into the living space quickly

  1.   How will my fireplace look after a gas insert is installed?

Answer: Our showroom exhibits several live-burning gas inserts to help demonstrate their features and ambiance. Direct-vent gas inserts come with special trim kits that mount around the edges of the sealed gas insert to cover the remaining opening that is left after the insert is installed inside your pre-existing fireplace. These trim kits are fashioned to work with the design of the unit as well as your existing wall. Some brands offer a wide variety of decorative options for those who are looking for just the right style to go with the wall or room. Also check the flame pattern and fire size, as this feature also varies from model to model.

  1.   Do you offer installation services for the gas insert I want to buy?

Answer: Why, yes. We offer top-quality professional services to install your new gas insert. These pros are fully licensed and insured and have many years of fireplace installation experience. We have excellent relationships with each of them, and they understand that their goal for our customers is to provide excellent service for our customers that is representative of Michigan Fireplace & BBQ.

Wrapping Up!

So what are gas inserts? We think you’ve got the answer! Now experience one for yourself. Get your hands on a high-efficiency gas insert and feel the difference. Get in touch with us today at Michigan Fireplace and Barbeque! 

Call Us (248) 689-2296

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