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.
How Do Fireplace inserts work?
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.
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. It is also necessary to ensure that the chimney is properly lined for use with an insert.
Fireplace inserts 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.
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.
Prevents 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.