What’s better on a cold day than cheerful flames dancing in the fireplace, warming the room and brightening the mood? If that’s not a part of your reality yet, and you want to enjoy some hearthside relaxation, the best way to fill this void is with a new fireplace insert. This useful guide offers four tips for choosing the best fireplace insert for your home and lifestyle.  

1. Choose a Local Fireplace Dealer First 

As with most things, working with a local dealer has advantages. You have more direct access to knowledgeable professionals, and can see the fireplace inserts in a showroom, instead of just online images that can’t tell the whole story.    

Here are some important things to consider before choosing a fireplace dealer in your area.   

Do They Install?  

It’s really ideal to partner with a dealer that installs their own products, rather than hiring out to a third party. The business will know the products they’re installing and their installation experience with them has made them aware of any nuances with the process. And it’s also one less contract to sign and one less relationship to manage.  

Do They Have a Good Reputation?  

When making any major purchase or alteration to your home, taking the time to read through testimonials and reviews will be well worth the effort. A little investigation might reveal that a dealer has let people down, or you might find your friends among the people singing their praises.  

Friends are a good resource, too. You may have someone in your circle who has had a fireplace insert installed recently. You can ask them what dealer they used and if they were satisfied with their experience. 

Do They Carry Top-Rated Brands?  

Find out what brands they carry and if they have a showroom floor where you can see a number of the models in action. Speaking of brands, that’s another opportunity to do some investigation. Read reviews and industry expert reports to determine which brands have the highest consumer confidence ratings and which are more often recommended. You can also get a snapshot of how the brands compare to each other. 

Do They Have Digital Fireplace Modeling? 

The insert you fall in love with in the showroom might not look as great in your living room. It may dominate the space or clash with the décor. Many dealers, like Creative Energy, have digital fireplace modeling available on their website. With a photo of your space, you can have the fireplace builder plug in various fireplace insert models and design features to find the look that works best for your home.   

2. Determine the Best Fuel Type for Your Needs 

Deciding on which fuel to go with is the first step to narrowing down your options to find the best fireplace for your home, and it’s also an important one. Each fuel type has its merits, and its limitations. And it may just come down to personal preference. Understanding the benefits of each fireplace fuel type, however, will make the choice easier.   


These days, with environmental and energy efficiency concerns, the most popular source of fuel for fireplaces is natural gas. It’s the most efficient to burn, and requires very little care and feeding. Here are some of the additional benefits of choosing an eco-efficient gas fireplace insert:  

  • Easy Fire Starter – You can light a gas fireplace with the touch of a button. 
  • Easy to Maintain – Gas Fireplaces require minimal maintenance and very little upkeep between uses.  
  • Efficient Heating – Gas fireplace inserts have a fully sealed venting system so the heat won’t ever escape out a chimney, and the heating intensity is easily adjusted. 


People have been drawn to fire from the time they learned to harness its magic. Deals were made, victories were celebrated, meals were cooked, and memorable moments happened around the campfire. You may want that visceral experience. You also may be up to your ears in firewood where you live.  

For many people, laying in the logs and lighting the fire is a ritual akin to putting the kettle on and laying out cups and milk for tea. An enjoyable ritual. With a fireplace insert, you’ll use much less wood, because the environment of an insert allows for a more efficient burn, and it will be safer than a traditional fireplace. 


When choosing pellets, understand that you’re now basically talking about a pellet stove that’s in a wall. On the plus side, pellets can be burned on no-burn days, are easier to load than logs, and are better for the environment than burning wood.  

3. The Best Size 

Deciding on the best fireplace size for your home is two-fold. Generally speaking, the bigger the insert, the bigger the output. There’s also the wall space that is sacrificed to consider. However, with a ventless, gas fireplace insert, you don’t have to factor in the chimney, so the overall space requirements are reduced. This is where that computer modeling app comes in handy, along with the recommendations from the dealer.  

4. Must-Have Features 

When thinking about what you are looking for in a fireplace insert, the optional features can help you decide on the model that’s right for you. These options speak to greater efficiency and convenience. Not all of these options are available in every model, so this may be another way of honing in on the perfect fireplace insert for your needs. 

 Which of the following options would you most enjoy in a new fireplace insert?  

  • Fan, to better distribute the heat into your space 
  • Heat Exchanger Kit for added warmth 
  • Zero clearance, to increase your décor options 
  • See-through insert to enjoy a stylish viewing window between two rooms 
  • On/Off and thermostat control remote, to make your gas insert easier to control 
  • Smart Home control options for increased convenience and efficiency 

Creative Energy Has Been Bringing Heat, Light, and Cheer into Bay Area Homes for Nearly 50 Years 

Using these tips for choosing the best fireplace insert for your home, you can build a wish list to share with the knowledgeable staff at Creative Energy. Our fireplace experts are here to help transform your home with an efficient, safe, beautiful new source of heat, light, and ambiance.  

To get all your questions answered by our friendly, expert fireplace specialists, stop by one of our three Bay Area showrooms, in San Rafael, San Mateo, or Concord, or contact us online for a free in-home consultation