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Most realistic gas fireplace insert

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by rorser, Jan 27, 2010.

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  1. rorser

    rorser Member

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    Browsing the forum, I did not come upon a discussion about who now manufacturers the most realistic gas fireplace insert. Can anyone point me to such a past discussion, or respond to this question.

    I am looking for a small unit for my den with the primary criteria being lots of glass area and realistic, attractive looking logs/fire. And, of course, a very attractive unit overall.

    We turn our main home heating source off when my wife goes to bed. I just need to keep my den cozy and provide the interest of a fire until I head to bed a few hours later. Cosmetics and realism are important, heat production secondary, which I hope does not go against the spirt of this forum.

    Gratefully,
    Richard

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  2. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    You're going to have to go to a hearth shop & make the determination yourself.
    There are a LOT of manufacturers of quality products out there, but most of them
    focus on heating capacity first, then aesthetics, although some offer both...
    If realistic looks are what you're after you'll have to make the call after you see what
    is available on the market.
    Does your den have an existing wood burning fireplace? If so, the a gas INSERT
    is what you want to look at.
    If there's no fireplace, you don't want an insert. There's nothing to "insert" it into.
    You need to look at fireplaces.
    Good luck in your search...
  3. lepp

    lepp New Member

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    Hi Rorser,

    Daksy is right, go to a specialty hearth shop and see the units in person. Check out a couple of stores so you can see a variety of units burning.

    You've picked a good time to be shopping for a gas fireplace or insert as the major players are all offering amazing new looks, especially in contemporary styles. You're not restricted to just logs anymore. But if you do want a traditional log look, they are more realistic than ever. Check out Regency, Heat n Glo, and Travis (to name a few).

    Good luck!
  4. rorser

    rorser Member

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    Regency, heh? If this is the Canadian company, I have one of their wood burning inserts, and am quite happy with it.
    I hope that here in Santa Cruz I will be able to find a good selecion. I will certainly check out the 3 you suggest, if I can.
    Thanks for your help.
    Richard
  5. rorser

    rorser Member

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    So, if we are talking about new construction, i.e., I have no existing fireplace, then am I looking for a gas fireplace rather than a gas insert?
    Thanks,
    Richard
  6. rorser

    rorser Member

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    Could one of you well-informed folks tell me what is the maximum efficiency I might reasonably expect in a small propane fireplace? It will be designed into new construction so can be vented and installed in the most efficient way as specified by the manufacturer.
    Thanks,
    Richard
  7. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    for AFUE efficiency 60-75% is typical for the brands we sell.
  8. Fsappo

    Fsappo New Member

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    You could expect about 75% AFUE efficiency from some of the better units. Realistic...well, I agree with the other posters. I'd visit the hearth shops and judge for yourself. Make sure you see the Regency, Mendota, Travis and Heat n Glo lines at the least. From what I have seen and in my own opinion, the Mendota has the best flames out there.
  9. Later

    Later New Member

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    The Mantis is advertised as a condensing fireplace/stove/insert with efficiencies (more than 90%) approaching that of high efficiency furnaces.
  10. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    Its also the ugliest fireplace I have ever seen.
  11. Later

    Later New Member

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    Although some will like the looks of the Mantis, I am not one. Although I just looked at the Mantis site and they have a flat front unit that isn't half as ugly as the bay front one.
  12. Fsappo

    Fsappo New Member

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    If that Mantis was so dang expensive, I would have one of those in my own house, and it's not even one of the products I sell. Thats quite a machine. Ugly, yes, but I'm more about numbers.
  13. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    The free-stander looks kinda like a Regency U38 or U39 &
    the fireplace looks like a P36 with a bay front...
    Not my kinda looks, but them Regency's ARE damned good heaters...
  14. rorser

    rorser Member

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    Where exactly did you see the flat front unit Retired Guy?
    R
  15. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    You need to make sure you get realism at relatively lower outputs!

    Some of the realistic models are only that way at a higher output. So this may be unique to you. Years ago, Heat N Glo had unit which had the capability to dump some heat in more temperate weather. I don't know if they had a insert model of this.

    I have used quite a few gas fireplaces and realism isn't all it's cracked up to be IMHO. What I mean is that a relatively decent looking flame seems just as good to me....and, heck, I sold a lot of the top dogs for years (mendota, travis, etc.)......

    I have a nice Valor in my beach house which I like very much.....good quality stuff.

    You mention insert - which assumes you have a wood burning fireplace. It might be that a good set of radiant gas logs can do the job......something like the Monesson Duzy, etc.
  16. Long Burn

    Long Burn New Member

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    WOW!!!!!
    That sounds like a severe case pf personal opinion.ehh?
    I think it would be better to let the potential buyer use his or her personal preference instead of pushing your own opinion on them.
    Follow the others on this site and let them make their own decission when it comes to the asthetics.


    L.B.
  17. Later

    Later New Member

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  18. Long Burn

    Long Burn New Member

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    Hello Richard,
    Heat n Glow, Quadrafire, make very nice realistic burn units, but I am not quite sure of their longevity and reliability. I guess certain companies and units are more dependable than others.
    As noted here, go to several fireplce shops and pick out thr brand and model that catches your eyes first, than check out dealer reputation and the company reputation.
    Let your eyes be your guide with the flame realism,the log appearance and and the fronts and surruonnds of each unit.
    IMO, appearance sometimes means more than heat output of the unit. It all depends what your priority is. If you take your time, and shop carefully, you "Can have your cake and eat it too"!
    Jotul makes very dependable and long lasting units also.
    Good Luck,
    Long Burn
  19. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    I never even looked at their brochure. The flat unit with some of the color options are not half bad. I wonder why they don't showcase that stuff on the main page of their site instead of the bay unit? Sounds like it was invented in AUS, maybe they like the bay style over there more. The flames look a lot better in the pics in the brochure also. One the site page, the flames look like just a pathetic little glow.
  20. mgh-pa

    mgh-pa Member

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    After visiting a few suppliers in the area, and research online, we settled on a Regency P90 Zero Clearance Direct Vent since we already have a chimney and a thimble in the room. We will be building a full fireplace out from the face of the chimney, and veneering in stone. Should be great. The room is actually only a little over 400 sq ft, but well insulated, and should do a good job heating the room to comfortable levels as well as the kitchen (4 steps up from this room, as well as the rooms above. We will be controlling this via thermostat so hopefully we use the minimal amount of propane to supplement our woodstove while giving us the aesthetic appeal of a fireplace.
  21. Fsappo

    Fsappo New Member

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    Great choice on a fireplace. You'll love the P90.
  22. mgh-pa

    mgh-pa Member

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    Thanks, the $600 factory rebate helped some, too:)
  23. Long Burn

    Long Burn New Member

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    That extra $600 will sure come in handy for the stone vineer. It should look great and best of all you picked it out to match your own personal taste, NOT SOMEONE ELSES!
    Enjoy, Enjoy! Post some pictures when you get it installed and finished.

    Long Burn
  24. rorser

    rorser Member

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    Yes, the units in the brochure do look much more appealing. Thanks for all your help guys. I will not get my butt out and about to see what is available in my area (Santa Cruz, CA) I may be back for more questions. Until then, thanks for being a part of this forum and sharing your knowledge.
    R
  25. central_scrutinizer

    central_scrutinizer Member

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    Greenwood, South Carolina
    At my shop we carry Lennox, Regency, Mendota, and Majestic. By far, IMO, the Mendota has the prettiest and most realistic burn.
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