Frequently Asked Questions
Is a fireplace worth the cost?
A fireplace can transform a room from average to spectacular. Whether your fireplace is modern or rustic, it will add a touch of elegance and make any room more inviting. Fireplaces evoke visions of romance on a chilly winter evening, stockings hung by the chimney with care, friends gathered 'round.
A fireplace also adds value to your home. According to the National Association of Realtors, homes with fireplaces are easier to sell than comparable homes without fireplaces. In fact, a fireplace may be one of the best home enhancements for giving you a great return on your investment.
Aren't gas logs fake-looking?Gas logs and fireplaces have become genuine decorator items that can go almost anywhere that has access to a gas line and a source of electricity. You don't need a chimney because they can vent directly outside. Some don't even need a vent. Gas logs can be inserted into an existing wood-burning fireplace.
The old, cheap-looking logs and fake-looking flames are relics of the past. Today's logs are made of ceramic or high-temperature concrete and do not collect sooty build-up. Fires look real, and the embers flow and wave like coals in a real fire. Gas fireplaces are often less expensive to run than wood fireplaces. In a traditional fireplace, almost all of the heat goes up the flue. Today's closed-unit gas fireplaces are designed to actually heat the room.
What's the difference between direct-vent and vent-free?Direct-vent gas fireplaces do not require a chimney but do use a flue to carry combustion by-products outside, either directly through the wall or up through the roof. Air for combustion is brought in from outside.
Unvented, ventless, or vent-free gas fireplaces do not require a flue or chimney for ventilation. These appliances draw combustion air from inside the room and are highly efficient.
What is a fireplace insert?A fireplace insert is an insulated system with a pair of glass doors that can be installed onto the opening of the fireplace. This increases the temperature in the firebox, meaning the fire burns more slowly and efficiently. Inserts often come with fans to blow heat into the room. Inserts are particularly useful in wood-burning fireplaces because they reduce smoke and soot and make the fireplace more efficient.
"Insert" is also generally used to mean any retrofit for fireplaces. This includes inserts to convert a wood-burning fireplace into a gas fireplace.