The end of winter or beginning of spring is a great time to rethink your fireplace. The three types of fireplace inserts include gas, wood burning, and electric. Each has its unique purpose and strong points, and likewise, they have unique risks. Let’s take a look at some of the major differences.

Gas Fireplace Inserts

The average gas fireplace insert hooks up to your home’s existing natural gas line or to an exterior propane tank. Direct-venting models use your chimney to take in and release air where others are ventless and assist in the monitoring of oxygen and carbon monoxide in the home. Gas inserts are more efficient than electric inserts, giving off between 25,000 and 40,000 BTUs instead of the 5,000 you’ll see from electricity.

Wood Burning Fireplace Inserts

A wood burning fireplace must be attached to a chimney in order to safely produce heat. They are extremely efficient and put off approximately 50,000 to 60,000 BTUs per hour for more than six hours. The wood burning fireplace does require a little extra effort throughout the year if you plan to gather your own wood, or you can purchase it from reputable sellers. Always try to purchase wood by the cord so you’re more likely to get the same type of wood.

Electric Fireplace Inserts

Electric fireplaces are a great way to knock off the chill of the day or to enjoy a nice quiet evening by the fire. They don’t put out as much fire as their counterparts, only about 4,000 to 6,000 BTUs. These units are extremely easy to use; you simply install them and turn them on. The only real downside to using an electric fireplace is that it is rendered useless when the power goes out. This probably isn’t the best option if you are looking for a heat source that will be used primarily during a power outage.


Electric fireplace inserts are great for occasional use when you don’t really need a lot of warmth, but enjoy the peaceful ambience. Gas or wood burning fireplace inserts are more reliable when the power goes out. Wood burning fireplace inserts require wood, which must be gathered or purchased from a reputable source. Gas fireplace inserts are probably the easiest of the three options because they don’t require additional gathering of fuel and they produce more heat than the electric version. Ultimately the decision is yours to make.

Lou Curley’s Chimney Service

We’re located in Drexel Hill and provide all types of chimney services to homeowners and commercial property owners in the surrounding areas and along the Main Line. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 if you’re interested in scheduling an appointment for a consultation, a chimney inspection, or chimney cleaning.