I am considering having a gas insert installed in my wood burning brick fireplace. It is already plumbed with a gas line and has a gas starter.
I cannot tolerate wood smoke, so I don't burn wood fires. I have only used the fireplace about 5 times in 4 years, and only used a dura-flame fire log.
The fireplace is in a very large open family room/dining/kitchen area which is just over 500 sq. feet, and is all tile, with some area rugs with good carpet padding under them in the winter. This part of the house is the most difficult to heat.
I am debating about the cost of converting my fireplace with a gas insert, possibly with a variable speed blower, and possibly even an adjustable flame.
My bedroom connects directly to this family room area.
My uncle has a gas insert, and says that he rarely has to use his furnace.
Can the gas fireplace be used while sleeping?
Are there any issues with occasionally using the furnace at the same time as the gas fireplace? I could not find any info that says that they cannot be used at the same time, but I wondered if there would be any issues with safety in using them both at the same time.
Will a gas insert be more, or less, expensive to operate than my OLD furnace which is probably not even 70% efficient?
I am certainly no expert, but it would seem to me that a gas insert fireplace with a blower would deliver heat more efficiently than my old furnace, especially when factoring in the distance the heated air from the furnace must travel through the ductwork, plus the fact that the registers are in the ceiling. It seems to me that the warm air delivered from the gas fireplace, at approximately 4 feet off the ground, would heat the room(s) much faster/more efficiently.
Thoughts, advice and opinions appreciated.