Read about efficient fireplace inserts: gas vs. wood stove. Learn why a gas fireplace insert is expensive and inefficient, and how a wood stove insert is a more energy efficient alternative.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to help our friend, Sidney, in New York get nice and toasty by a fire. How can we help?
SIDNEY: We have a fireplace that’s 36 inches wide and 15 inches deep and we’ve been using wood and we really would like to put an insert in there …
SIDNEY: And I’d like to pursue something that you might suggest in the way of a brand name or even an off-brand but something good that we could follow and chase with the price, et cetera, et cetera.
TOM: Sidney, are you a wealthy man? (chuckles)
TOM: Because you’re going to need to be if you put a gas insert  in that masonry fireplace. Those burners are enormous. Some of those burners can burn 80,000 BTUs.
LESLIE: Ooh, really?
TOM: Very, very, very inefficient. Yeah. It’s going to cost you a lot of money. I know it’s more convenient but man, putting a gas burner into a masonry fireplace is just a very, very expensive proposition when it comes to the amount of utilities.
What you might be better off doing is putting in a wood stove  insert into that fireplace. Now, I have to tell you, I’m not sure that you can get a gas line that works inside of a wood stove but I will tell you that a wood stove insert itself would be much more efficient  than burning the open fire and the heat would be more plentiful. And also, if you use an insert that has combustion air intake from the exterior, it won’t steal as much air from the inside of your house as it operates.
SIDNEY: OK. I was going to go to my local gas company and ask them if I did put an insert in, how much gas it would burn but you kind of answered it for me.
TOM: It burns a lot, you know. Just look at the BTU rating on the different burners. You can tell right there.
TOM: You know, it’s not unusual to see 60,000/80,000 BTU burners for gas masonry fireplace inserts.
SIDNEY: I don’t want to get caught up in one of those things.
TOM: Yeah, they’re real expensive, Sidney. You might want to think about going in a different direction.
SIDNEY: Yeah. You mean the …
TOM: Heatilator  – it would be a good brand to check out. They’ve been around for years and they’re very, very durable.
SIDNEY: Oh, Heatilator.
SIDNEY: I’d like to check that out in like Home Depot or Lowe’s – one of those stores.
TOM: Yeah or just check them out online and find a dealer near you.
TOM: You know, it might be a good idea for you to work with a local dealer on this because it has to be installed properly; it’s definitely not a do-it-yourself project.
TOM: So why don’t you go to your local wood stove dealer and see what they tell you?
SIDNEY: Yeah. OK. Thanks very much.
TOM: Sidney, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.