These systems come in a variety of shapes, sizes and designs. The two most common types of gas fireplace are freestanding or insert style. Both are available for propane or natural gas applications. Most are made from cast iron or steel and have self-cleaning glass doors that allow the flames to be viewed while the doors remain closed, making them more efficient than an open wood fireplace.
Today, many manufacturers also offer features such as fans and thermostatic controls, depending on the fuel type. Typically fresh air enters through vents below, circulates around the main chamber, where it is heated and the warm air then exits through vents on the top of the unit.
Fireplaces inserts are popular among homeowners who have an existing open fireplace and chimney, since they significantly improve both fuel efficiency and the amount of heat generated while also providing a focal point for any room.