Fireplace inserts are similar in function to free-standing stoves, but they are fitted into an existing fireplace and chimney system. Fireplace inserts don’t take up any additional floor space and can help update the look and function of your fireplace. An insert is a sealed combustion chamber, typically with a glass and metal door front, which allows for greater control of emissions and more efficient heat output. An insert offers many benefits for homeowners, as well as a variety of fuel types and design options.
Benefits of Fireplace Inserts
Fireplace inserts have quickly become a popular choice for homes with existing masonry fireplaces. While open wood burning fireplaces may have old-world charm, a modern enclosed fireplace insert can greatly improve the heating efficiency of your home and can reduce the pollutant exhaust created by traditional fireplaces.
Improved Heating Efficiency
Traditional open-air wood burning fireplaces draw a significant portion of the home’s heat through the chimney. During combustion, these fireplaces can draw up to 300 cubic feet of a room’s heated air per minute and send it through the roof. This is a result of the fact that fires consume air to burn, which is why some suggest cracking a nearby window and turning off your heat when using traditional fireplaces.
The good news is that high-efficiency fireplace inserts solve this issue. The enclosed doors and dual flue system of a wood burning fireplace insert efficiently produces warmth while keeping heat inside your home. A fireplace insert can be fitted and framed seamlessly to create a unified appearance and an easy update to your home’s fireplace.
Lowered Environmental Impact
Similar to free-standing stoves, fireplace inserts have a closed system of combustion. This results in a slower burn and lower emissions while promoting more efficient fuel usage. Many EPA certified wood burning inserts, for example, maintain a 60-80% fuel-efficiency. Electric inserts are the most eco-friendly option, as they can be connected to a 120-volt outlet and do not produce any emissions.
Types of Fireplace Inserts
It is important to choose the right fireplace insert that fits your home and your preferences. Depending on your fuel type, your fireplace insert may require some regular maintenance and hands-on operation, while others require little more than the flip of a switch.
This type of fireplace insert is often chosen for its traditional wood-burning operation and natural combustion. Wood fireplace inserts can be affordable to operate if you have access to firewood. You will want to prepare a space to store your firewood and will need to clean extra ash out of your insert after use.
Pellet inserts are fed slow-release pellet fuel through a built-in hopper. These pellets are typically made of wood and other combustible organic materials. Many homeowners find pellet inserts highly efficient and easy to fuel, without having to worry about firewood sourcing and storage. Pellet inserts are cost effective and clean-burning, as well as easier to operate than a conventional wood-burning insert.
Available in natural gas or propane fuel types, gas fireplace inserts offer easy on-demand use. Propane fireplace inserts are typically used in rural areas or places where there may not be a natural gas line. Most municipalities, however, offer natural gas connections that you may already use in your home. Natural gas is one of the cleanest burning fossil fuels available. Natural gas systems are typically safer for home usage when compared to propane. Gas inserts typically have a pilot light and can be ignited with the flip of a switch, creating instant flames around a ceramic log set.
As the easiest option, electric fireplace inserts require no maintenance, no cleaning, and no additional fuel source. If you’re looking to create the appearance of fire without actual flames, an electric fireplace insert can add a cozy ambiance to your space. These inserts can be easily turned on or off and do not require the addition or upkeep of a chimney or vent.
Considerations for Fireplace Installation
In order to install a fireplace insert, you need an existing fireplace. If you don’t have an existing fireplace, you might want to consider a free-standing stove instead. Fireplace insert installation professionals will ensure that your insert fits properly and vents properly. A professional installer will make sure that you can operate your new fireplace insert safely, without risk of filling your home with smoke or harmful gasses.
It is also important to keep in mind that gas and wood burning fireplace inserts should be serviced yearly by a professional to make sure your exhaust is working properly. Your home should also have a functioning carbon monoxide detector.
Fireplace Insert Installation Near You
If you’re ready to start your fireplace insert project, contact TruTeam for product advice, project estimates, installation services, and more. TruTeam is a leading national fireplace installer and supplier. Our fireplace insert experts can recommend the right fireplace to fit your needs and your budget. We can also expedite utility hookups and help take care of permitting and inspections. We’ll ensure that your fireplace insert is installed safely and on time.
To get started on a fireplace insert project, contact your local TruTeam branch today!