This is one tough decision, but with a few thousand dollars on the line, we really want to make the best one. We've been mulling over the fireplace again after the installer came out and he made some suggestions. We could go with the hearth on the floor, a stove, pipe it into the chimney, do all this finish work to make it nicey nice. OR Go with an insert and a simple hearth on the floor to make it legal, have an electrical outlet installed and be done. The installer said that the massive block structure of the fireplace/chimney will start to radiate heat once we get the insert going and people heat their homes just fine with inserts. We didnt ask him the price difference between inserts and stoves but now we are curious. I do know that once we do make the final decision we will have researched everything and will be happy. I think i said we made a final decision in my other thread, but we havent pulled the trigger just yet, which is a good thing! This is my original thread with photos and some members suggesting we go with an insert. None of you that suggested an insert ("this thing is screaming insert") have been forgotten. Now I am going to investigate inserts!