Are you a homeowner with a drafty old fireplace that is no longer pulling its weight? You may want to consider a wood-burning fireplace insert. This handy contraption permits those with out-of-date fireplaces to modernize their home by adding a more effective heat source.
And not only do fireplace inserts contribute heat, but they also look sharp, allowing the fireplace to reclaim its traditional role as the room’s center of attention.
Owning a good insert isn’t as simple as just picking out something that looks nice – it’s essential to find one that is both heat-efficient and works with your current fireplace. Only you know the dimensions of your fireplace and what size insert will fit there, but having a list of the best fireplace inserts on the market now should be helpful.
Demand for fireplace inserts has been growing, which means that there are a wider range of options available than ever before, allowing you to choose by size, design, material, and technology used.
A wood-burning stove is more than just a fireplace; it a beautiful piece of interior design that can add a cozy touch to any room it resides in.
The hard part is choosing the right model for you and your home. There are a few things to keep in mind before you go out and buy the first fireplace insert that catches your fancy. Let’s start with the basic question that many of you are probably asking yourselves…
What is a Wood Stove Insert?
The fireplace holds an important place in the popular imagination; they look inviting and keep the room cozy and warm in the depths of winter. When the holidays roll around, it is around the fireplace that friends and family gather and celebrate.
But the old-fashioned fireplace has its problems. Most can’t maintain heat production consistently. That’s where a fireplace insert comes into play. This handy appliance fits into your current fireplace and substantially increases its heat-producing capacity.
These inserts beat the old-fashioned fireplace hands down when it comes to generating heat. The are super-efficient at maintaining heat, unlike their predecessors. This allows the owner of a fireplace insert to use less wood and generate more heat.
Types of Fireplace Inserts
Stove inserts can utilize a variety of different fuels and heat sources. Here are the most popular choices:
When push comes to shove, the natural gas fireplace is likely the most convenient choice. A nozzle in the fireplace is connected to a natural gas line and used to ignite the fire. Another upside of this method is that you get to avoid all the work of feeding and cleaning a conventional stove with wood fuel.
Natural gas fireplace inserts can be either vented or ventless. The obvious advantage of the vented version is that it draws oxygen from outside the home and ventilates any excess gas. Even if they provide more heat, fireplaces without vents can be dangerous because they do not have a mechanism for expelling fumes from the house.
Another popular and probably safer option is the electric fireplace. These appliances made to resemble burning logs are actually plugged in. All you need to heat a 200 to 400 sq. ft. room is a regular electrical outlet.
The upside of having an electrical fireplace is that it’s easy to operate, safe, efficient, and perhaps best of all, doesn’t require any tidying up. The obvious disadvantages are the fake appearance of the “flames” and the absence of the crackling and popping that comes with a wood-burning fire.
If you want the classic feel of wood, you can go with a wood-burning stove insert. That will mean having to provide kindling, get rid of the ashes, and ignite the fire – if you’re lucky, you may be able to find a model with ignition assist. That being said, there’s nothing else like getting absorbed in the flickering flames in your living room.
The closest you’ll get to a wood-burning stove without actually buying one is probably the pellet-burning fireplace, which also produces flickering flames. The advantage of pellet-burning fireplaces is that there is less maintenance than with a wood-burning fireplace, although there is still some: the wood or biomass pellets still need to be refilled after every use, and the ash catcher needs to be cleaned out about once a week, assuming frequent use.
Install Time & Annual Maintenance
If you’ve read enough to know that a fireplace insert is right for you, then it’s time to start thinking about installation. That’s a process that usually takes at least half a work day – the time needed will vary according to the dimensions of your original fireplace and the kind of insert you’ve chosen.
No need to worry, though, competent workmen should be able to take care of the installation with minimal mess and risk of damage. Going forward, it is advised to have a fireplace expert check out the insert about once a year.
The sharp appearance and homey ambiance that an insert provides make the cost of installing one worth paying. Whatever model you choose – wood, pellet, gas or electric – comes with its own advantages (and disadvantages as well).
If what’s important to you is convenience, a gas or electric model might be best. If you prefer the authentic look and feel of pellet or wood-burning stoves, remember that you will need to feed and clean up after them. Whichever you decide on, our comparison can help you choose the best insert for you.