Improve Efficiency With a Fireplace Insert

A fireplace is often a big selling point for homeowners in the real estate market. Sometimes, buyers are lucky enough to find a home with a fireplace in good condition that requires little to no repairs. But then there are those times when the home is great, but the fireplace needs a ton of work to get back its glory days.

You love the home so you make an offer, but you can’t stop thinking about what to do with the fireplace – should you tear it down and rebuild it? That’s a huge expense on the heels of buying a home. Should you seal it off and give up the fireplace dream completely? You can’t even think about it because that’s one of the things you loved most about the home.

Well, Smalling Masonry has the perfect solution for you – a fireplace insert. Reach out today. We serve Carmel, Indianapolis, Greenwood, Avon, Plainfield, Fishers, Zionsville, Merdian Hills, Mooresville, and all of their surrounding Areas.

What Is a Fireplace Insert? How Do Fireplace Inserts Work?

A fireplace insert is exactly what it sounds like – a closed-combustion firebox that is designed to fit within an existing fireplace opening. Inserts are usually steel or cast iron and the front of the box is a self-cleaning insulated glass. Your fireplace gets a whole new look and you get more improved heat output – all without compromising the look and setup of your current system.

Fireplace inserts are a popular choice for many homeowners looking to retain the charm of their traditional fireplace, but improve both its fuel efficiency and heat output. An insert is essentially a fireproof box that is enclosed in steel or cast iron. The front of this box is self-cleaning insulated glass. The insert is either placed into an existing fireplace or a newly fabricated fireplace structure.

What are different fuel options for fireplace inserts?

There are several fireplace inserts available depending on your preferred fuel source.

  • Wood. Wood-burning inserts offer the look, feel, and ambiance of a traditional masonry fireplace, empowering you to maintain that classic aesthetic – just with heightened efficiency and more heat output.
  • Gas. If you want to move away from the work and stress of wood-burning setups, a more convenient-to-use gas insert might be a suitable option for your home. You will need to run a gas line to your existing firebox if you opt for this insert.
  • Electric. Electric inserts are the most eco-friendly, low-cost option since they don’t burn any fuel. They produce zero emissions or harmful byproducts and don’t require venting. If you live in an area with restrictive building codes and laws, an electric insert may be the way to go. The downside of an electric insert is that there isn’t any open flame, so it’s a bit less authentic.
  • Pellet. These inserts are similar to wood inserts but instead of using regular firewood, they use pellets that have been crafted from compacted sawdust and wood waste. They’re also easier to operate, while still getting that wood-burning vibe.
A gray stone fireplace decorated for Christmas with garland and a stocking. There is a miniature Santa and a painting of santa on the mantel.

What Are the Benefits of Choosing a Fireplace Insert?

If you’re still on the fence about making the switch to a fireplace insert, here are a few facts to keep in mind.

They’re More Efficient

Fireplace inserts are known to give off better heat when professionally installed and regularly maintained. It’s possible that an insert can be your primary heating source for your entire home, depending on the size of your house. Fireplace inserts are the result of innovative design, and they have heating efficiencies of up to 80% or more.

Inserts are made of cast iron or steel, and they are built to be installed inside an existing masonry fireplace. These systems have glass doors, which allow you to enjoy watching the flames. The enclosed design, together with the heavy insulation, results in more heat for the home.

Many models have fans which move warm air that has circulated in the firebox into the home. There is a wide variety of sizes and models, and areas between 1,000 and 3,000 square feet can be effectively heated using a fireplace insert and nothing more. Being able to switch off your central heating can reduce your utility costs significantly.

They Have Higher Fuel Efficiency

A fireplace insert offers more efficient heating than a traditional wood-burning fireplace with less smoke and pollution going out the chimney, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Studies have shown that as much as 95 percent of the residual heat in a traditional wood fireplace is expelled outside.

A wood-burning fireplace insert offers a slower, more efficient burn rate providing up to five hours of uninterrupted heat. It consumes less fuel and has heating efficiencies of 80+ percent! A fireplace insert is an enclosed combustion system which means you won’t feel drafts from the chimney when the fireplace is not in use and you won’t lose heated or cool air from your home out of the chimney.

They’re Better for the Environment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers several certified fireplace inserts. These products have been tested and are proven to give off less emissions than traditional open wood fireplaces. In fact, electric fireplace inserts give off zero emissions.

They Can Lower Your Utility Bill

Fireplace inserts are designed to minimize heat loss while maximizing heat output. If you have to run fewer heating appliances in the cold months, your utility bills will reflect that change.

They Prevent Air Leakage

Although it is standard procedure to close the damper in a masonry fireplace when it is not in use, what many people don’t realize is that a lot of air escapes the home up through the chimney, even with the damper closed. Dampers rarely have an adequate seal to prevent the heated air in a home from escaping through a fireplace that is not in use. Having a traditional fireplace can be like having a window in your home cracked open year-around. With a fireplace insert, air leakage is no longer a concern. The glass doors form an efficient seal that prevents the back-and-forth flow of air from chimney to the home and vice versa.

Since fireplace inserts are available in EPA-certified wood, gas and electric models, you have a choice of fuel for your fireplace. You can easily convert your traditional fireplace into a more energy efficient and environmentally friendly wood-burning fireplace or choose the convenience of gas, pellet or electric fireplace inserts that are as easy to use as flipping a switch. A thermostat allows you to control the heat and maintain a comfortable room temperature.

To determine which insert is best for your fireplace, contact Smalling Masonry and consult with a certified chimney sweep today.

Ready To Make the Switch? Call Us Now

You’ve thought about it. You’ve weighed the pros and cons. And you’ve decided that a fireplace insert is the right choice for your home. Congratulations! Now let our team do the heavy lifting. Call Smalling Masonry to set up an appointment for your fireplace insert installation now. Our technicians are knowledgeable and ready to give you the home you deserve.

Reach out to us online or call us at 317-903-8121.


Whether you are thinking about a masonry fireplace or a manufactured fireplace, we’ve got you covered with our fireplace installation services.