What’s the Difference Between a New and Insert Fireplace?

 In Fireplace News

What’s the Difference Between a New and Insert Fireplace?

At first glance, it’s not easy to tell the difference between a gas fireplace and a gas insert. After all, both turn on with the flick-of-a-switch, generate heat, and provide an easy, maintenance-free experience for the homeowner. But choosing the right product is essential and it all depends on an individual’s circumstances. For instance, somebody who is building a brand-new home might have completely different options than somebody who is in a 100-year-old home with an existing wood-burning fireplace. At United Brick and Fireplace, we’re here to debunk the myths, shed some light, and help you figure out which option is right for you! So first, let’s take a look at some features of each of these units.

Gas Inserts

A gas insert is just that – an “insert” into an existing open hearth. Many people who have had a wood-burning fireplace for years come to us because they seek a gas option with less mess and higher heating efficiency. A gas insert is perfect for this situation because of the existing hearth and flue.

Gas inserts sit inside a metal box contained within a larger metal box that goes into the existing fireplace and usually has a trim surround to finish the opening. Heat is generated in between these two boxes and then heat is emitted from the firebox. Since gas inserts produce radiant heat and a steady stream of warm air, they are a great option to heat the home.

Our most popular gas inserts are from Napoleon, Mendota, and Regency – three of the industry’s leading manufacturers. These gas inserts provide a turn-key solution to transition from wood-burning to gas. Since the existing structure allows for a direct vent, installation is easy and headache-free. One of our experts can get you up and running in a day, and you will instantly have the means to heat your room with a flick of a switch.

Gas Fireplaces

While the gas fireplace is built similarly to the gas insert, a new gas fireplace does not require an existing fireplace or chimney. So, if your house in brand new or was never designed with a fireplace in mind, this is really your only option, short of installing an electric fireplace. The exhaust from the gas fireplace will exit through an opening in your wall to the outside, which is all a part of the installation process, and why you should always trust an expert to handle it!

Gas fireplaces come in vented or vent-free versions, and what you need depends a lot on your home and current infrastructure. A professional should assess your situation and help you decide which version is best for you. While both vented and vent-free versions are hot to the touch, many of the models we sell offer a security screen or even heat reducing glass on the front – which makes for an extra layer of safety. Something to think about if you have kids and/or pets that are constantly near the fireplace!


We carry Napoleon, Regency and Mendota brands of gas fireplaces. We showcase more than 40 fireplaces at our showrooms in Madison that can help you decide which fireplace will fit your needs and give you the heating efficiency you’re seeking. In fact, most people who get a gas fireplace for the first time are pleasantly surprised they can actually save on their heating bills!

What About Price?

Much like a car, the price of your unit will depend on a variety of factors, including how fancy you want to get! There are high-end fireplaces and inserts that can cost tens of thousands of dollars, or there are options for much lower. It’s important to remember however, even though a new gas fireplace or insert is a big investment – it adds a lot of value to home. Visit one of our showrooms to find out more about which options might be the best for you.

About United Brick and Fireplace

Our family-owned business has been serving the Madison community since 1973 for fireplaces, brick, block, stoves, and outdoor stone needs. We work with homeowners, builders, architects, masons, and general contractors to supply the best products in each industry. As the largest fireplace installer in Madison, we have the expertise and product offering for nearly every situation including unique architectural designs for homes and commercial settings. Contact us for more information or visit one of our showrooms today!

fireplace in a large living room