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.
One of the main reasons a fireplace lover would switch to a fireplace insert is due to heat loss. The crackle of a traditional fireplace has charm, but is not an efficient provider of heat.
Fireplace inserts are a more efficient heat source than traditional fireplaces. The increased efficiency is due to the design of a fireplace insert creating a closed combustion system. In a closed combustion system, the device takes the air required for combustion from an outside source, recirculates the hot air, and allows it to escape through a duct (commonly referred to as a flue). This system allows for clean burning of your chosen fuel source and optimal heat efficiency.
The difference between a closed combustion system created by a fireplace insert and an open combustion system created by a traditional fireplace is where the air/oxygen is being taken in from. In a open combustion system, the air is being taken in from the room in which the fireplace resides and then the air, ash, and smoke escape through a separate duct (usually a chimney). This system results in a less heat efficient system, as most escapes through the chimney.
A traditional fireplace only converts about 20% of its fuel into usable heat, with some older fireplaces being as low as 5-10%. The closed combustion system of a fireplace insert can be 60-80% efficient.
Fireplace inserts can use a variety of fuels:
- Natural Gas
Are Fireplace Inserts Safe?
The most important consideration is to ensure your fireplace insert is professionally installed. Proper installation is important to both safety and to ensure you are getting proper heat efficiency. The experts here at Creative Energy can help you throughout the entire process- starting with an examination of the existing fireplace structure to ensure it is suitable for an insert.
The front of your insert is made of glass and helps emits heat into your room. Some of the glass or metal elements of your insert can become hot to the touch and should be handled with caution. However, many fireplace inserts are being created with new ‘Safe Touch’ technologies that keep the glass surfaces of your insert at an extraordinarily low temperatures.
A negative aspect of a traditional fireplace are the levels of smoke created inside your home and put out into the environment. The smoke from a traditional fireplace is a mixture of gases and particles which can affect your eyes and respiratory system. Whether you install a gas, pellet, or EPA-certified wood fireplace insert in your home, inserts result in a much cleaner fuel burn and less smoke.
Are Fireplace Inserts Worth the Money?
Overall, a fireplace insert gives most individuals the value the want including:
- Time Savings: Less maintenance such as cleaning, removing ash, and adding wood to the fire.
- Charm: You can still have the bright glow and intimate crackle of a traditional fireplace with a fireplace insert. You also open yourself up to a whole new world of decorating possibilities like glass rocks, stones, log sets, bronze doors, and more.
- Savings: Fireplace inserts can help you to cut down on your heating bill. A fireplace insert is not recommended as a sole use of heating but when used in conjunction with turning down your thermostat, can save you money on your heating bill. The exact amount will depend on the fuel source you use and the current cost of fuel.
Our experts at Creative Energy take pride in finding the perfect fireplace insert to fit your needs. We will guide you through the process every step of the way. Still have questions? Contact us today and one of our experienced team members will find the perfect match for you and your home.