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Difference Between a Gas Fireplace and Gas Insert

January 20, 2021


What the real difference between a gas fireplace and a gas fireplace insert? If you are wondering about the two terms and how they differ as actual fireplace industry elements, you’re in the right place to learn more about the two. They are not the same. There are clear differences between the two that you should know, especially if you are trying to decide which is the best option for your needs. Let’s take a closer look at a gas fireplace and gas insert

Gas Fireplace 

Also referred to as direct vent gas fireplace or zero clearance gas fireplace, a gas fireplace has certain unique features. When referring to direct vent, it’s the style of venting the fireplace uses that is emphasized. Zero clearance is a term used to describe a lack of combustible materials associated with a fireplace. Still, you’ll find that some gas fireplaces are not entirely zero clearance fireplaces and tend to require non-combustible facing material in certain areas – around the sides and top – as safety measures. Additionally, a gas fireplace insert may be referred to as a direct vent gas fireplace insert or simple gas insert. 

Features of a Gas Fireplace:

  • Commonly installed in a wall with standard wood framing enclosing it
  • Typically larger than gas inserts and provide higher quality insulation or air space around the firebox so that the outside of it stays cooler and hence can be surrounded by combustible material. 
  • Vent gas fireplace has a coaxial direct vent system, with a pipe within a pipe, so to speak. A typical system has a 5″ inner exhaust pipe that is encircled by an 8″ outer pipe and specific clearance requirements for vents running vertically (1”) or horizontally (3” from top and 1” from sides and bottom).

Gas Inserts

Installation of a gas insert occurs within an established masonry, wood-burning fireplace and is smaller than a gas fireplace. This kind of fireplace is equipped with fireboxes roughly the same size as the unit itself, with minimal insulation or air space. Although a gas insert can exceed the heat of a gas fireplace, it is built to withstand the heat without becoming a fire hazard since its situated within a non-combustible space.

Features of a Gas Insert

Uses co-linear venting and a standard system has two 3″ flexible liners extended down the masonry chimney, held separately by caps that connect to the insert, with one-liner serving as the exhaust and the remaining functions as the air intake. 

Gas inserts are the more efficient option because they are safer for your home, minimizing fire hazards while keeping your space adequately warm and comfortable. If you are unsure about the right fireplace for your home, consult with the experts who can advise you and help you to make the best decision. Contact Anderson Fireplace today.

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