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When to Choose a Fireplace vs. a Fireplace Insert

fireplace insert

If you’re considering adding a fire feature to your living space, you may come across two options: a traditional fireplace and a fireplace insert. Both provide heat and enhance your home’s esthetic, but they have distinct differences. Understanding the distinctions between a fireplace and a fireplace insert is essential when considering the best option for your home. Here’s what you need to know.


A traditional fireplace consists of a firebox with an open hearth. It’s often built with a masonry or stone surround and a chimney. They’re ideal for those who value the crackling sound and campfire smell of an open flame. Traditional fireplaces are often chosen for their esthetic appeal, creating a cozy atmosphere as a focal point in the room.

Fireplace Insert

A fireplace insert is a self-contained unit that fits inside an existing fireplace opening. Fireplace inserts are available in gas and electric models. They’re perfect for homeowners seeking to transform an old, inefficient fireplace into a supplemental heat source. A gas fireplace insert offers the convenience of an on/off switch and can often be used during power outages.

How to Choose the Best One For You

Here are a few factors to consider when choosing between a fireplace or insert.

  • Fuel type. Determine the type of fuel that best suits your needs. Gas fireplace inserts provide convenience and efficiency, while electric options are easy to install and use.

  • Heat output. If your primary goal is heating your home efficiently, a fireplace insert is a great choice. They’re designed for heat production and often have blowers to distribute warm air.

  • Esthetic appeal. If you value the esthetics and the romantic charm of an open flame, a traditional fireplace may be the better option. It provides a beautiful focal point for your living space.

  • Installation. Installation can be a crucial factor. Fireplace inserts are typically easier to install, making them a cost-effective choice for converting an existing fireplace into an efficient heating source.

  • Budget and maintenance. Consider your budget for purchase and installation, as well as the ongoing maintenance requirements. Wood-burning options require regular cleaning and maintenance, while a gas or electric fireplace insert is easier to maintain.

Fireplace and Insert Installation and Maintenance in Orangeville and Alliston

At Don’s Heating & Cooling, our technicians are licensed and certified to install a new fireplace or fireplace insert in your home. We’ll guide you through the process to help you choose the best option for your home. We also offer fireplace maintenance services. Contact us today to speak with one of our fireplace experts.


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