A fireplace insert is a smart investment, whether you want to renovate your fireplace at a fraction of the remodel cost or turn it into a more efficient heating appliance. Fireplace inserts are prefabricated combustion chambers that have been designed to decrease drafts and increase heat efficiency.
Benefits of a fireplace insert
There are many benefits to having an electric fireplace insert installed. These are the main advantages of investing in a fireplace insert:
- It is an economical solution to repair a damaged firebox or improve the looks of a stained fireplace.
- It is 70-80% more efficient than a traditional fireplace, which makes it a more efficient heating alternative.
- It’s a simple and affordable way to convert a wood-burning fireplace into a gas, pellet, or electric fireplace.
You can reduce your heating and cooling bills year-round by preventing drafts and preventing heated/cooled air from escaping through the chimney.
Buying a fireplace insert is simple as long as you follow these 5 tips.
Choose the right type to suit your preferences and lifestyle
Fireplace inserts are available in four different types: electric, wood, pellet, and gas. Which one is right for you depends on your preferences and lifestyle. If you love the aroma of burning wood and don’t mind feeding the fire and cleaning the ashes, a wood or pellet fireplace is the best option for you. A pellet fireplace insert is a good option if you are looking for added comfort. Pellet inserts burn small pieces of compressed recycled wood (pellets) that are stored in a hopper or container in the appliance. Some models can contain enough pellets to power the fireplace for 36 hours. With a pellet fireplace insert, you’ll significantly reduce the number of times you’ve got to usher in fuel to heat your home.
If you do not want to possess the effort of fueling the hearth or cleaning up the ashes, a gas and electric fireplace are going to be the simplest option for you. These inserts also offer the most customization. You can choose a model that allows you to control the height of the flames and the background lighting with remote control. You can also create a unique fire display with faux driftwood, fire stones, or fire glass. Note that you will need access to a gas line or you will be able to install a propane tank to install a gas insert.
Make sure your fireplace meets ventilation requirements
Electric fireplace inserts are the only ones that do not have ventilation requirements. Wood, gas, and pellet inserts do. When the insert is installed, a metal liner will also be installed for the flue that will connect to the insert. If you want a wood, gas, or pellet insert and have a fireplace with an unusually small chimney, you should consult a fireplace expert to make sure it will suit a metal duct liner and meet ventilation requirements.
If you expect to install a fireplace insert in a pre-fab or factory-built fireplace, check your owner’s manual to see which inserts are compatible with it. You may find that an insert cannot be safely installed in it.
Measure your fireplace and the area you plan to heat
In practical terms, the most important part of choosing a fireplace insert is making sure you choose one that is the correct dimensions and produces the proper heat output for the area you plan to heat. As with a well-made outfit, you want a fireplace insert that is neither too big nor too small but fits perfectly. Before you go shopping, you need to measure the width, depth, and height of your fireplace’s firebox. Be sure to bring your measurements when you stop by a showroom to see live models.
You also need to measure the area you plan to heat and calculate the square footage. Heat production varies from model to model. If you plan to heat a small room, a fireplace insert with a low heat output (around 30,000 to 40,000 BTUs) should be suitable. If you plan to heat a large area, a large electric fireplace insert with a higher heat output (between 50,000 and 85,000 BTUs) will be a better option. So, If you only plan to use your insert to ambiance and decrease a draft, you won’t need such a large heat output either. Conversely, if you expect to use your insert to zone-heat your home and rely less on your oven, you will need an insert with higher heat output.
The best thanks to determining the perfect heat output for your fireplace insert is to talk with a hearth expert. Talking to a fireplace expert can also save you time. Rather than perusing dozens of insert specs looking for the ones that are the correct size, they can tell you which models to compare that have the heat output and dimensions you’re looking for.
Take advantage of customizable features
For many homeowners, the simplest part of choosing a hearth insert is that the customizable features. You can choose whether or not you want an insert that is remote, switch, or thermostat operated. The gas and electric models allow you the most customization as you can make aesthetic decisions about what type of logs, fire stones, or glass you would like for the fire display. Take advantage of customization! Think about what features would be most convenient for you and the way you would like your fireplace to seem. If you cannot find what you are looking for, consult a fireplace specialist. A model that interests you may offer options that you don’t know about.
Hire a Professional for Installation
Installing a fireplace insert is a home improvement project that you shouldn’t tackle yourself. The installation process requires an inspection and cleaning of the chimney, the installation and connection of the chimney liner, the electrical wiring, and if you have a gas insert, the connection to a gas line. Neglecting or tampering with any of these steps could cause a serious safety risk.
Like all fireplaces, a malfunctioning fireplace insert could cause a house fire, explosion, or carbon monoxide poisoning. That is why building codes in many areas require professional installation. It is also the reason why most warranties on fireplace inserts are void if they are not installed by a professional.
The small cost of a professional installation is well worth it. It gives you peace of mind and protects your home from the risks and costs of improper installation.