Gas Logs vs. Gas Fireplace Inserts

Gas Logs vs. Gas Fireplace Inserts

Gas fireplaces provide a trusted source of heat and add beauty to a room layout. You have two primary choices for a natural gas or propane-fueled fireplace — gas logs and gas fireplace. Both produce heat and assist a living space feel welcoming and warm, but each has its benefits and pitfalls. Gas fireplaces are less expensive than installing a sloping fireplace which needs a full-scale chimney to release ash and smoke.

Fireplace Aesthetics

One of the big differences between gas-log fireplaces and gas-insert fireplaces is aesthetic appeal. Even though gas logs are synthetic, they appear like solid timber logs and look more authentic than inserts. Vented gas logs can’t be covered with glass doors or solid grates, similar to natural sloping fireplaces. Gas inserts have a more manufactured design. You may see the flames within the inserts, but they’re permanently sealed with a glass face. Some manufacturers provide gas-insert fashions which have grates or doorways, but they’re for physical appearance only. Neither gas logs nor gas inserts create flames which crackle, pop or flicker.

Heat Efficiency

Gas inserts are more efficient than gas logs. Because gas inserts are covered in glass, they need less gasoline and less heat escapes. According to NW Natural Appliance Center at Portland, Oregon, gas-log fireplaces are approximately 10 percent efficient and possess comparable efficacy evaluations to wood-burning fireplaces. Vented gas-insert fireplaces are approximately 80 percent efficient. Ventless gas inserts are more efficient, with 92 to 99 percent efficacy ratings, according to HouseLogic. However, exhaust fumes with ventless inserts often result in unappealing scents and are less protected than vented varieties.

Price Comparisons

Not surprisingly, the more efficient the fireplace, the lower the operating price. NW Natural Appliance Center reports that in 2012, gas-log fireplaces cost between $.75 and $1.25 per hour to operate, depending on the size of the burner under the logs. Gas-insert fireplaces cost roughly 40 to 45 cents per hour. Fluctuating natural gas and propane prices may affect those averages, however comparisons involving gas-log and gas-insert operational costs remain the same. Gas inserts are more cost-effective than gas logs.

Lighting Approaches and Chimney Requirements

It is possible to light some gas-log fireplaces with a game. Others have a switch which ignites a pilot light to start the flames. Lower-heat yellow-flame logs require ports, but some higher-heat blue-flame logs do not. Vented gas-log fireplaces have smoke and soot and need chimneys and chimney cleaning. Gas-insert fireplaces are only lit by a switch which ignites the burner. Vented gas-insert fireplaces also require chimneys, but little elastic heat-resistant pipes are usually sufficient, and there is less smoke and soot than with vented gas-log varieties.

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