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Comparing Gas Logs and Gas Inserts for SLC Clients

For those looking for a reliable source of both heat and beautiful aesthetics, gas fireplace options are some of your best available. Within the realm of gas fireplace solutions, you typically have two primary choices: Gas logs and gas fireplace inserts. Which is best for your needs?

At Uintah Fireplace and Design, we’re happy to offer both these products — gas inserts and gas logs — to all our SLC fireplace clients, plus expertise on which is ideal for your setup, budget and other needs. What are each of these products, how do they compare in some important fireplace-related areas, and which should you choose? Here’s a primer.

Gas Insert Basics

For those who already have an existing fireplace area in their home, but want to convert it to a more efficient and less costly gas burning format, gas inserts are ideal. A gas insert is a fireplace insert that contains a gas-producing device to fuel the flame.

In most cases, this is much safer than using natural gas or propane, because no open flame is required. This also means you won’t have to burn off impurities in your home’s chimney over time.

Gas inserts are great because they do not require a full renovation or rebuild of your existing fireplace, while still providing all the beauty and functionality you’d expect from a traditional wood-burning fireplace.

Gas Log Basics

For those who prefer a more authentic flame look, but still want the gas-powered fuel source, gas logs are generally the ideal choice. Gas logs are basically just that: Gas-fueled logs, designed to look like a real wood-burning fire.

These days, gas logs come in many styles and varieties — some which are even remote controlled! You’ll find gas logs made to fit most standard-size masonry fireplaces. Because they’re so highly customizable by design, gas logs can also be used with vented or ventless fireplaces, as well as gas burning stoves.

Gas logs and gas inserts do have some similarities, such as the fact that neither produces flames that do any cracking, popping or flickering — this is because they’re synthetic in nature. Our next several sections will go over some important areas of comparison between the two.

General Fireplace Aesthetics

As we noted above, one area where gas logs will generally be superior to gas inserts is the way your fireplace looks. Gas logs look far more realistic than gas inserts.

This is largely due to the fact that, while both product types produce artificial flames, gas logs are designed to mimic a real wood fire’s visual appearance as closely as possible. The size, shape and behavior of the flame varies with different styles of gas logs.

Gas fireplace inserts will still provide you with a beautiful piece of fireplace décor, and will fit into your existing masonry opening — provided it’s the proper size for the insert. You will see the flames inside the glass, though they’re sealed inside. You have certain options available for gas-insert styles with grates or doors, but these are exclusively for appearance and will increase your cost.

Heat Efficiency

Efficiency is also naturally a major topic for those considering a fireplace, and this is one area where gas inserts hold an advantage over gas logs in most cases. Gas inserts have a glass cover that leads to far less heat loss, all else being equal.

This means that gas inserts provide a more efficient source of heat to your home overall. However, many gas logs today come with special features that increase their overall efficiency — read the description and specifications for any specific model you’re considering before purchase if you want the most efficient product possible.

In addition, whether or not the fireplace is vented will play a big role in its efficiency. Vented gas insert fireplaces are about 80% efficient in most cases, but ventless gas inserts reach anywhere from 92 to even 99% efficiency, the very best you’ll find on the market today. At the same time, ventless inserts may sometimes create odors you don’t enjoy, plus may have a few additional safety precautions you may need to take.

Lighting and Chimney Requirements

Gas inserts and gas logs will also differ in the way they’re lit, plus in the chimney requirements they come with. Gas logs can sometimes be lit with just a match, while others have a switch that ignites a pilot light. Gas insert fireplaces will always be lit using a switch, on the other hand.

Both will require a chimney and chimney cleaning if they are vented, one area where they’re similar. For vented gas inserts, however, flexible heat-resistant pipes can often be used instead of a chimney, and less smoke and soot will be created in these cases.


Finally, cost is a vital consideration for many buyers. And because the true cost of a fireplace — including long-term maintenance and use — generally goes hand-in-hand with efficiency, gas inserts tend to typically hold an edge in this area. Gas insert fireplaces will usually come in at about half the per-hour operating costs of gas logs, though these prices can be impacted by changing natural gas and propane prices. Even in cases where installation costs are similar, this means that inserts will be the much more cost-effective model over a long period of time.

For more on choosing between gas inserts and gas logs for your new gas fireplace, or to learn about any of our fireplace services in Salt Lake City, speak to the team at Uintah Fireplace and Design today.

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