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  • Writer's pictureJustin McDaid

What Kind Of Fireplace Do I Have?

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

While you do not need to know everything about your fireplace, knowing what kind of fireplace you have can be helpful when talking with your chimney inspector or troubleshooting problems. From masonry fireplaces to wood or gas burning inserts, let's determine what kind of fireplace you have in your home.

Masonry Fireplaces

Masonry fireplaces and chimneys are constructed on-site from brick and mortar. Because this fireplace is part of your homes' structure, these fireplaces and chimneys are mostly part of the home's initial design and build.

Known for its cozy, calming crackle, a fireplace provides an environment unlike any other.

Despite its' classic ambiance, a traditional fireplace is not an efficient heat source as over 85% of the heat created by a fire travels straight out of the chimney.

What Is A Fireplace Insert?

When a fireplace no longer passes inspection, and changes need to be made in order to burn wood, a wood burning or gas insert is a more affordable and efficient alternative.

Inserts use fuel more efficiently and transfer much more heat to your home.

According to experts, a masonry fireplace only outputs around 10-20% of heat, but inserts can transfer a whopping 78%! This reflects much more on your heating bill. 

A gas or wood-burning insert can easily be placed snug inside your existing structure with a liner system installed directly in the existing flue! This eliminates drafts entering your home or warmth escaping through the chimney.

Inserts can also function during power outages, excluding the blower due to the use of electricity. The efficiency rating remains the same even without the use of the blower.

While there are many differences between gas and wood-burning inserts, there are a few things to help you determine what type of fireplace you have.


Gas Burning Insert

Gas inserts are fueled by natural gas or propane. With either type of fuel, gas inserts are between 68-78% efficient.

The easiest way to tell if you have a gas insert is how you turn it on. A gas insert is the most convenient way to heat your home as you turn it off and on with the flip of a switch or the touch of a button.

Gas inserts can also be run by a remote control that has a thermostat option. You can set it to your desired temperature and the insert will turn on and off to maintain the temperature you desire.

Wood Burning Insert

Woodburning fireplaces are definitely more work than gas. You have to store wood, keep your fire stoking tools easily accessible, clean out the ashes, and keep up with routine maintenance to prevent creosote buildup.

If you do not have to start your fireplace with wood, then you do not have a wood-burning insert.

Contrary to traditional masonry fireplaces, a wood-burning insert burns with the door closed.(in most cases) The insert's glass door is ceramic which easily transfers heat through it, giving you more efficiency.

A high efficiency wood burning insert can boast upwards of 65% efficiency!

When loaded with wood, wood inserts can burn for 6-10 hours before needing more fuel! That is 2-3 times longer burn time than a traditional fireplace!!


So what type of fireplace do you have?

Whether it's a traditional masonry fireplace or any type of insert, our professionals can help with yearly maintenance and repairs. We are passionate about making sure you enjoy your fireplace and ambiance as well as keeping your family safe.

Ready to talk with the experts?

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