A fireplace insert will increase efficiency by optimizing the heat output of wood or any other fuel. An insert is specially designed to hold and radiate heat back into the room. It increases the efficiency of the fireplace by up to 70%. Various kinds can burn coal, wood, wood pellets, propane, and natural gas.
When using a traditional masonry fireplace, sometimes you may feel like it’s heating your home, however, it’s only warming the nearby area. During combustion, your fireplace wastes energy and creates drafts as it sucks warm air up and out of your chimney.
It is important to know that a traditional fireplace is not quite economical when burning fuel. Wood-burning fireplaces release about 5%-10% of the warmth generated into your room. However, the rest is lost through your chimney vent.
A fireplace insert comes with its own firebox, which is enclosed by a cast-iron or steel shell. You will be able to view fire through a window in the firmly sealed door on the front. When the firebox gets hotter, the metal shells with the help of a blower contain and circulate the heat back into your room. An attractive metal facing seals your fireplace opening around the stove.
Sizing an Insert
When choosing a fireplace insert, look beyond appearance. Choose the size that will suit your needs. Ensure you buy an insert that will fit properly in your fireplace and produce the right amount of heat. Measure the height, width, and depth of your fireplace to ensure the insert will fit properly.
Also, consider the heat output. An insert won’t heat effectively if it lacks enough heat output. Again, if the insert pumps out too much heat, it will force you out of your room.
The heat output is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units) per hour. Inserts produce 30,000-85,000 BTUs per hour. The larger the area, the more BTUs per hour the insert will be required to produce.
When sizing a fireplace insert, ensure you engage the services of a qualified dealer. You need to consider many factors such as how well your home is insulated, whether your stove will be providing supplementary or primary heat, etc.
When using a factory-built fireplace, check inserts that are rated to work with it. In most cases, you cannot use an insert with a factory-built fireplace.
Installing an Insert
Installation is done by qualified professionals and it is even a requirement in some building codes. When installing an insert, you need to connect it to a stainless-steel chimney liner that runs from the top of the chimney to the stove. This will ensure the smoke is exhausted directly to the outside, leaving your chimney vent free of creosote buildup.
Before you begin the installation, make sure the chimney is cleaned. The liner should go in from the top, while the insert should be attached to it inside your house. If the insert contains a blower, you will need to wire it to your house’s electrical supply, and a gas insert should be connected to a gas line.
The cost of a fireplace insert may vary depending on the added features such as thermostatically controlled fans, blowers, special finishes, hardware, and materials.