Fueled by natural gas or propane and designed to fit into a wood burning fireplace, the fireproof box that creates a closed combustion system that is fronted by insulated glass and surrounded by cast iron or steel is called a gas insert. Gas inserts save a lot of time, and all you need to do if you want to start a flame is just to press a button. It can even be started by remote or automatically with a thermostat, depending on the model you buy.
Gas inserts help to keep gas bills down for homeowners because they are often used for zone heating. They are very efficient, and can comfortably heat a medium sized room very well. This is largely due to their ability to kick out between 25,000 to 40,000 BTU’s. If you use gas at home, it only takes a few hours to have a gas insert installed.
For a top-of-the-line gas insert, the price can range from $1,400 to $3,000, plus the cost of installation. They typically have an energy efficiency rate of 76% to 83%. After installing the gas insert, it does not require much cleaning apart from cleaning the glass door. However, you still need to have the chimney attached to a gas insert inspected. You never know when debris has gotten lodged inside. If that happens, a fire can erupt. Also, because gas burns so clean, it can be difficult to know if there is a gas leak. This makes it very important to have a carbon detector in order to warn you of any leakages in the gas line.
The insert’s “logs” are made of ceramic fiber or solid ceramic. Most units come with vented logs, and in order to have the traditional look of a flame, they are placed over a burner. In order to boost efficiency, the vent free log sets are offered on gas inserts, and they usually use an oxygen depletion sensor. Since this technology needs a closed damper, it is not recommended for use in bedrooms.