Tips for Making a Fireplace Insert Purchase - Part 1 of 2

Many homes have highly inefficient masonry built, open-burning wood fireplaces. Do you have one? If so, read on to learn just how inefficient it is, and what can be done about it.

Fireplace Inserts 101

Have you discovered the huge benefits of fireplace inserts yet? Well if not, you’re about to. An insert will transform your inefficient, open-burning masonry built wood fireplace into a beautiful heat producer. Inserts are important upgrades, since masonry built wood fireplaces can exhaust as much as 24,000 cubic feet of air per hour to the outside*, which in turn draws in cold air in through the home’s doors and windows. Because they are only -15 to +15 percent efficient, they are considered highly inefficient.

An insert will make your masonry fireplace significantly more efficient. As the name suggests, a fireplace insert fits directly into your existing fireplace, greatly enhancing its performance and beauty. Inserts are available in multiple designs and fuel types.

Types of Inserts

There are three types of fireplace inserts, and each has its own distinct benefits:

  • Gas Fireplace Inserts. Operated by the flip of a switch or remote control, gas fireplace inserts burn natural gas or liquid propane, offering the greatest level of convenience. There’s no ash to clean up or need to feed the fire with wood. When used as zone heaters, direct vent gas fireplace inserts can pay for themselves in a matter of a few years.
  • Wood Fireplace Inserts. If you can’t part with the crackle and aroma of burning wood (understandably so), EPA-certified wood fireplace inserts are a smart choice. Because they have advanced combustion technologies, they’re among the most efficient wood-burning options available. Some units can heat for more than 10 hours on a single load of quality wood, while expelling minimal pollutants into the environment. And because they burn so completely, you’ll have minimal ash to clean up.
  • Pellet Fireplace Inserts. Pellet inserts are powerful heat sources if you’re tired of paying top dollar for heating with fossil fuels like fuel oil and propane. With state-of-the-art technologies, many have programmable thermostats that will adjust heat output to your liking. Pellet inserts produce very little ash to clean up and some units even have automatic cleaning cycles. Heating with pellets is green choice, as pellets are a renewable and made from byproducts like sawdust and wood chips.

But wait, there’s more coming! Watch for Part 2 of this series, when we’ll talk about performance, installation, and fuel considerations. Meanwhile check out the various inserts available to you here.

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