living room

Gas Fireplace vs. Gas Insert: What’s the Difference?

At first glance, it’s not easy to tell the difference between a gas fireplace and a gas insert. After all, both produce flick-of-a-switch flames, emit heat, and provide an easy, maintenance-free experience for the homeowner. But choosing the right product is essential and it all depends on an individual’s circumstances. For instance, somebody who is building a brand-new home might have completely different options than somebody who is in a 100-year-old home with an existing wood-burning fireplace. Miller Brick is here to debunk the myths, shed some light, and help you figure out which option is right for you!

So first, let’s take a look at some features of each of these units.

Gas Inserts

A gas insert is just that – an “insert” into an existing open hearth. Many people who have had a wood-burning fireplace for years come to Miller Brick because they seek a gas option with less mess and higher heating efficiency. A gas insert is perfect for this situation because of the existing hearth and flue. 

Gas inserts sit inside a metal box contained within a larger metal box that goes into the existing fireplace. Heat is generated in between these two boxes and then heat is emitted from the firebox. Since gas inserts produce radiant heat and a steady stream of warm air, they are a great option to heat the home. 

Miller Brick carries the Majestic Ruby Gas Insert – one of the most popular models available. The Ruby insert provides a turn-key solution to transition from wood-burning to gas. Since the existing structure allows for a direct vent, installation is easy and headache-free. One of our experts can get you up and running in a day, and you will instantly have the means to heat your room with a flick of a switch. 

Gas Fireplaces

While the gas fireplace is built similarly to the gas insert (both possess the dual box technology), the gas fireplace does not require an existing fireplace or chimney. So, if your house was never designed with a fireplace in mind, this is really your only option, short of installing an electric fireplace. The exhaust from the gas fireplace will exit through an opening in your wall to the outside, which is all a part of the installation process, and why you should always trust an expert to handle it! 

Gas fireplaces come in vented or vent-free versions, and what you need depends a lot on your home and current infrastructure. A professional should assess your situation and help you decide which version is best for you. While both vented and vent-free versions are hot to the touch, many of the Heatilator units sold at Miller Brick possess a security screen on the front – which makes for an extra layer of safety. Something to think about if you have kids and/or pets that are constantly near the fireplace!  

Miller Brick carries the Heatilator brand of gas fireplaces. With a variety of sizes and models available, there is a Heatilator fireplace that will fit your needs and give you the heating efficiency you’re seeking. In fact, most people who get a gas fireplace for the first time are pleasantly surprised they can save an average of 20% on their heating bills. 

OK, but what about price?

Much like a car, the price of your unit will depend on a variety of factors, including how fancy you want to get! There are high-end fireplaces and inserts that can cost tens of thousands of dollars, or there are options to get you converted to a gas unit for as low as $1500. It’s important to remember however, even though a new gas fireplace or insert is a big investment – you can expect to save 20% on your energy bills. That savings alone might make up for the up-front cost, and many homeowners are very pleased they switched to gas. Just give us a call, and our dedicated fireplace division will give you an accurate quote. 

I like the whole “fire with the flick of a switch” idea – but what happens if we lose power?

One of the coolest features of the Heatilator brand of products sold at Miller Brick is the battery back-up compartment located just inside the base of the unit. Make sure you pop the designated batteries into this compartment. Once those are in, flicking the switch without power will prompt those batteries to power the starter, and your fireplace will still burn – creating radiant heat that emits from the unit. Although the fan will not work unless it’s hard-wired to a generator, the radiant heat is usually enough to get you through a power outage!