Gas fireplace inserts can allow you to take an old, draughty fireplace flue and make it useful again. The new gas fireplaces on the market today are highly energy efficient and often only cost pennies per hour to operate. There are a number of features to look at as you compare gas inserts, but price is always a factor. Set a budget and find an insert within your price range. While you can often do the installation yourself, in most municipalities a licensed plumber or HVAC technician must run the gas lines and connect the fireplace to them.
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Measure the size available for the gas fireplace insert. Not all fireplace openings are the same, so you want to be able to fit your new gas fireplace in the existing opening.
Compare gas inserts and the British thermal units, or BTUs, which they produce. Since a BTU is a measure of the amount of heat produced, you want a model that is large enough for your heating needs.
Know what type of gas is available in your area. Utility companies deliver gas in a natural form and as liquid propane, or LP. If you purchase a LP gas fireplace insert, you need a LP storage tank outside your home. You also often need a special LP converter attachment.
Decide if you want a ventless fireplace insert or a vented version. The ventless insert redirects the gases from the fire, which are minimal, back into the room. It is quick and easy to install in an existing fireplace. A vented insert makes use of the existing fireplace flue to direct any gases up and out of the house. In addition to the installation, you must connect the insert to the flue.
Read the care and maintenance information on different models of gas inserts. Some require professional maintenance annually, while others allow the homeowner to perform some maintenance tasks, such as cleaning the glass doors.
Ask to see various gas fireplace inserts in operation on the showroom floor. Because there are so many log and fire configurations, you should view as many different models as possible to help you pick an insert that has a fire that looks like a real wood fire. Newer models offer flames, sparks and embers. Some models even have scent attachments to fill to give you the aroma of a wood fire.
Select fireplace inserts that are easy to operate. Most operate manually by turning on a knob or a switch. Others operate with a remote control device. Some models simply operate on a thermostat.
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