The Fireplace Type You Have Will Determine Which Accessories You Need
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Best Way to Identify Your Fireplace Type

Are you planning to add a gas log set, fireplace doors, or a fireplace insert? Before you purchase fireplace accessories like these, you need to know what type of fireplace you have. Fireplace additions are designed explicitly for different kinds of fireplaces. You can avoid the headache of purchasing an accessory or insert that isn’t compatible by identifying what type of fireplace you have first.

gas fireplace inserts, rochester nyDo I have a natural vent, direct vent, or vent-free gas fireplace? 

Identifying gas fireplaces is tougher than wood fireplaces. There are three types of gas fireplaces: natural vent fireplaces, direct vent fireplaces, and vent-free fireplaces. All three can burn natural gas or propane.

Every type of gas fireplace is prefabricated or fully assembled in a factory before being installed in a home. As a result, you cannot change the logs or burners in a gas fireplace unit. However, if you have a natural vent or direct vent fireplace, it may be  possible to update the façade. 

Natural vent gas fireplaces, also known as B-vent fireplaces, are the most common. They are designed to be decorative, not to produce a lot of heat. If your gas fireplace has a chimney or a 4 – 8 inch vent that extends through the roof, you have a natural vent gas fireplace.

You are more likely to have a direct vent gas fireplace if your home was built after 1995. These fireplaces produce enough heat to warm a small to a large area. Direct vent fireplaces always have a sealed glass face or panel on the front. This type of fireplace can vent through a pipe that extends horizontally out of the wall or vertically out of the roof.

Vent-free gas fireplaces produce the most heat. This is because these fireplaces burn so efficiently that they don’t create any smoke. If your fireplace doesn’t have a vent, then it’s a vent-free appliance. The one downside of this type o gas fireplace is that you cannot make any modifications to it.

wood burning masonry fireplace, north buffalo nyDo I have a masonry or factory-built wood-burning fireplace?

There are two common types of wood-burning fireplaces: traditional masonry fireplaces made of brick, stone, or blocks and prefabricated or prefab fireplaces. Prefab wood-burning fireplaces can have a brick or stone exterior but have a metal interior. A simple way to tell which type you have is by looking inside and up the chimney. Is the firebox, where wood burns, made of brick, tile, or blocks and connected to a traditional chimney? Or is the firebox made of metal and connected to a round metal pipe?

If the firebox is made of tile, brick, or block and attached to a traditional chimney, you have a masonry fireplace. This type of fireplace is the most adaptable. You can find a wide range of gas log sets, gas inserts, wood inserts, and other accessories compatible with this type of fireplace.

If your fireplace vents smoke through a round metal pipe, you have a prefab fireplace. The accessories compatible with your fireplace will be more limited. You will need to know the name of your fireplace’s manufacturer, make, and model or the manufacturer name and serial number. You can find this information by locating the fireplace owner’s manual. Or by looking on the fireplace for an identification plate or rating label.

Now that you know how to spot the difference between types of wood and gas fireplaces, have you been able to identify yours? If you have questions about fireplace remodeling, contact Felgemacher Fireplace Shop! We have 60 years of experience supplying residents in Rochester NYBuffalo NYWilliamsville NYPittsford NY, and the surrounding areas with the best quality fireplace inserts and gas logs.