Often the first time shopping for a gas fireplace can be a learning experience. One of the first questions you will be asked is if you are looking for a gas insert or a direct vent gas fireplace. Understanding the different between the two will allow you to narrow down your selection to the right option.
A gas insert can be used in an existing wood fireplace. This is literally an insert that goes into the firebox of the wood fireplace with a separate pipe for ventilation that runs up the existing chimney.
This configuration or option means that the gas fireplace draws indoor air to fuel the flames. The gases from the burning of natural gas or propane rise up the flue through the chimney and out of the roof vent for the chimney, just as if you were burning wood.
A vent gas fireplace has a separate pipe or flue as well. However, they don’t have to have an existing fireplace. They can be designed to vent directly out of an exterior wall. This helps to eliminate the time and cost of installation and also allows for installation of the fireplace in virtually any location with an external wall.
The system itself has a sealed pipe or flue to allow the exhaust gases to be expelled from the fireplace and the air needed for combustion to be brought into the home from the exterior. This is accomplished by a pipe within a pipe, with the inner flue pulling hot gasses from the fireplace and the outer flue drawing in the external air for combustion.
The flue within a flue operation of the direct vent gas fireplace is extremely efficient. The hot gasses are cooled as they travel through the flue and the incoming air is warmed. This combination of factors, including the efficiency of gas over traditional wood, has an overall efficiency rating of about 80-85% depending on the specific fireplace.
As there is no warmed air pulled from the room for combustion, almost all the heat produced by the gas burning fireplace is available for use to heat the room.
Easy to light and use, the direct vent fireplace eliminates the need for buying, cutting and carrying wood as well as preventing the need for any cleaning of the ashes. They are stylish, cost-efficient and very beautiful and a great addition to any room in a home.