Save Money on Heating With a Fireplace Insert Save Money on Heating With a Fireplace Insert

What You'll Need
Heavy cardboard
Flue liner
Aluminum snips
Chimney caulk

Having a fireplace in your home is a great way to provide heat and create a relaxing atmosphere. But what if your fireplace is old and/or non-operational? You might want to consider installing a fireplace insert, which has several benefits. First, it will produce more heat than an open flame. Second, it will also save you money on your heating bill. It's also 65% more efficient than traditional wood-burning fireplaces. Finally, an insert will also help protect your home from fire damage caused by sparks and smoke in the chimney.

The History of Fireplace Inserts

In 1896, a coal miner in Pennsylvania named Joab R. Donaldson patented the idea of using smokeless fuel made by certain types of coal. He also incorporated an electric blower to provide more efficient heat. Joab was looking for a way for low-income families to heat their homes with fuel they could dig up in their own backyards.

What Is a Fireplace Insert?

A fireplace insert with flames.

A fireplace insert is simply a fireproof box that creates a closed combustion system. This allows less heat to escape through the chimney and provides more heat in the room than traditional fireplaces. The insert is surrounded by cast iron or steel and has a front made of insulated glass. Inserts can be fueled by gas, propane, electricity, wood, coal, or pellets. Gas and electric inserts are most common in homes today because they are easy to operate.

Operating the Insert

A fireplace remote.

For gas and electric inserts, all that's needed to get the fire started and enjoy the comfort and warmth of the fire is a simple push of the button. Some of the more modern inserts may even come with a remote or use smart technology.


We have already discussed that installing a fireplace insert will save money on the energy bill. It is important to consider which type of insert to use in your home. A gas insert will produce more heat than an electric insert, which can help save even more money. An electric insert, however, will be easier to install since there will be no added pipe. Also, with an electric insert, there is no need to worry about gas fumes escaping.

Associated Costs

A chimney sweep standing on the roof cleaning a chimney.

The cost of buying a fireplace insert is typically below $2,000, which can easily pay for itself in the long run, especially during cold winter months.

You may also want to have your chimney inspected by a professional to ensure it's sufficient for operating and venting and that there are no building codes violated. This inspection will also add to the upfront cost of installing a fireplace insert.


The installation of a fireplace insert.

Installing a fireplace insert in an existing fireplace hearth is quite simple. Gather everything you need by referring to our tools and material list and follow the steps outlined below.

Step 1 - Set a piece of flat, heavy cardboard on the hearth in the front and center of the fireplace. Place the fireplace insert on the cardboard and slide the insert to the fireplace rear wall.

Step 2 - Take the chalk and mark lines along the sides and top of the insert in line with the sides and front of the fireplace opening.

Step 3 - Slide the insert back out far enough to access the pre-drilled holes of the insert. Fasten the top panel of the insert with the screws provided, but do not tighten them all the way.

Step 4 - Adjust the panel in position so that the panel covers the chalk line, and tighten the panel screws.

Step 5 - Install the two side panels in the same fashion.

Step 6 - Seal the seams between the side and top panels with chimney caulk. Also, caulk all the joints between each extender panel and the insert.

Step 7 - Insulation strips are attached to the back of the panel. Slide the fireplace insert back into the hearth until the extender panels sit flat against the front of the hearth opening.

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