Q&A Gas Insert Questions

QandA Posted By QandA, Oct 5, 2001 at 2:20 PM

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  1. QandA

    New Member 2.
    Staff Member

    Nov 27, 2012

    We live in a 40 year old ranch house in Pittsburgh, Pa. We currently have gas logs from Vermont Castings and are very happy with them, however, they are expensive to operate and do not provide enough heat in the dead of winter. The furnace (set at 68 degrees) kicks in while the logs are lit which really INCREASES the gas bill. We have a 33" masonry fireplace in our 12 X 20 living room and are interested in getting a Winterwarm small wood insert as a more economical way which would cut down on the furnace running while the insert would be operating. Questions:
    1. What kind of heat can we expect beyond the living room? We have a dining room attached to the living room, and a hallway leads to 3 bedrooms --- approximately 1200 square foot.
    2. Prior to the gas logs, we experienced nuisance "smoke" in the living room when we opened the glass doors to reload This made a wood burning fireplace undesirable. We understand the dealer will install a flue pipe up the chimney and we are concerned about what kind of smoke to expect if all works well. A small amount of smoke is acceptable during a reload process.
    3. What is the expected reduction in our gas bill with a wood burning insert (ballpark figure?)
    4. What consideration should we give to a gas insert since the gas line is already installed? Would gas be the way to go or wood burning? Overall we are looking for an efficient process when it gets cold outside. We want to create heat into the rooms.


    Good Questions.

    When you light your logs and open the vent, your room heat get sucked up the flue as well as the heat from the logs. Looks great, but not very efficient.

    Wood versus gas-----tough call. Gas is easier, cleaner, convenient, and a hook-up is available right now for you. Wood is cheaper, visually more pleasing, more work & messier, and more economical Btu-wise. Both, however, will require a liner.

    How much will you save burning wood? Well, if the wood insert heats your home without the furnace turning on, then you'll save a bunch. But, let's say you use the insert for the bulk of the heating season in PA, then expect a 60-80% reduction, as I'm assuming that you still use gas for hot water and cooking also.

    But, there's so many variables based on your home, lifestyle, prices, etc. that you should try reviewing these sites to get a better feel: https://www.hearth.com/calc/btucalc.html http://chi.hearth.com/addcalc.html https://www.hearth.com/what/compare.html

    Putting in a WW Insert with a liner (a must), or any properly sized gas insert should heat that area (1200 sq. ft.). Most inserts have blowers also.

    Whatever you decide to do, operate the unit for a day and see where the heat flows naturally. Sometimes you need one or two smaller fans in ranch-style homes to boost the heat. To help determine if this is necessary, light an incense stick by the insert, leave it lit for a while, and see where the smell goes. Then you'll know if you need to use any other fans.

    I think that you'll end up just fine, and warm.

    Link: Compare Cost of Fuels
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