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The Difference Between Fireplaces and Fireplace Inserts

Although manufactured fireplaces and fireplace inserts perform many of the same functions, they’re not the same.
Ye Olde Brit Chimney Sweep of San Bernardino, CA, would like to point out the differences between fireplaces and fireplace inserts so you can make an informed decision about the best one to add to your home.

Fireplace Insert Installation in Rancho Cucamonga CAManufactured fireplaces

Manufactured fireplaces are pre-built appliances. They’re made to be installed in a wall within the home. Some models are designed for placement in an interior wall and serve as two-sided fireplaces.

Fireplace inserts

Fireplace inserts are also pre-built, but they’re made to be placed into the firebox of an existing masonry fireplace. Inserts literally take the place of a hand-constructed traditional fireplace.
These are the two primary differences between manufactured fireplaces and fireplace inserts. There are some similarities as well.

Fuel Types

Fireplaces and inserts can run on gas, wood or pellet fuel. Each fuel type brings unique benefits.


  • Ultra-convenient
  • Easy operation
  • Minimal maintenance


  • Traditional appearance
  • Lovely aroma
  • Works during power outages


  • Easy to buy, store and use
  • Natural flames
  • Eco-friendly

Heat production

If you’re using a traditional masonry fireplace, you’ve probably noticed that it doesn’t produce a lot of heat. This is by design. Open masonry fireplaces allow as much as 90% of their heat to be lost up the chimney. Manufactured fireplaces and fireplace inserts operate on a closed system, which retains most of their heat and makes it available to your room. Heat-retention can be as high as 85%, depending on the fuel and model.


Modern fireplaces and inserts built by leading manufacturers are not only efficient; they’re also beautiful to look at. You’ll be amazed by the wide range of colors, finishes, shapes and design styles available to perfectly accent your home’s décor and bring a touch of elegance to your room.


Rigorous standards in the fireplace industry make today’s fireplaces and fireplace inserts safer than ever before. Both appliances are well-insulated, and both are vented through precisely sized vent pipes designed for the specific appliance.


Manufactured fireplaces vent directly from the appliance to the outside of the home. Fireplace inserts vent through the existing chimney but, as noted, with their own flue pipe. In both cases, there’s no need to build any kind of chimney.

Choosing the model that’s best for your home

By now, you probably have a pretty good idea of the differences and similarities between manufactured fireplaces and fireplace inserts. Your choice of which type to bring home will be determined primarily by your reason for wanting a new heating appliance in the first place. For example:

  • Is there no fireplace in your home? Go with a manufactured fireplace.
  • Do you love your masonry fireplace but want more heat from it? Go with an insert.
  • Do you have an underperforming builder-grade fireplace in a wall? Upgrade with a new manufactured unit.
  • Are you building a new home? Install a gas or wood manufactured fireplace.

Manufactured fireplace and factory-built fireplace sales and installations in Palm Springs CAWork with Southern California’s installation pros

For more than 30 years, Ye Olde Brit has helped our San Bernardino-area customers select the perfect new heating appliance and enjoy it safely and with confidence. We install manufactured fireplaces and fireplace inserts from top makers, and our crew is glad to give you professional advice on using and caring for your new appliance. Our installation work complies with all building and fire safety codes that apply in your locale. We know how to do the job right the first time. Is it time to add a new fireplace or insert to your home? Call your local fireplace experts today at (909) 880-2120. You can also reach out through our handy contact form.

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