A fireplace is not the best method to heat a home. Not only is it terrible at distributing heat throughout the house, but it requires a lot of maintenance. Luckily, there is a way to turn your old fireplace into an efficient heating source. Adding a gas, wood, or pellet insert is a great way to heat up the home and can save you a lot of money on energy bills. Here is a quick guide on everything you need to know about fireplace inserts.
Why Choose a Fireplace Insert?
If you have an existing fireplace, it can cost a lot of money to renovate it and get it running more efficiently. An insert, on the other hand, can be installed at a fraction of the cost. They also give off more heat by expending less energy than a traditional fireplace. While most of the heat from a fireplace is wasted outside, an insert actively blows the heat back into the home, making it an efficient way to warm up a house. Inserts are much easier to clean and maintain throughout the year than a traditional fireplace. All you have to do is remove ash periodically and brush the walls to remove grime on an annual basis.
A traditional fireplace allows a lot of inside air to escape through the chimney, which can cost you a lot of money on those monthly utility bills. A fireplace insert, on the other hand, can seal up a drafty fireplace and turn it into an energy efficient machine. Over time, the savings you make on the insert will pay for its installation. During the summer, the insert can help keep cool air inside, which means you will be saving money on energy throughout the year.
Installing a wood-burning insert is a relatively painless process. The insert itself is installed inside the fireplace and the chimney is then lined with stainless steel for a proper seal. A fan helps blow heat out of the insert and into the rest of the home. Wood-burning inserts come in a variety of sizes and can handle a house upwards of 3,000 square feet. A wood-burner will usually burn wood for around 3 hours before fuel is consumed, though larger models can last for as long as 10 hours. Of course, one of the biggest benefits is that you are burning wood to heat the house, which will save you in electrical costs.
Gas inserts use natural gas or propane to heat a home, and most feature decorative logs to make it look like a fire is going. These types of inserts can be more complicated to install, depending on how your house is set up. One of the big benefits to using a gas insert is that it does not take as much effort on your part to heat the house. You do not have to keep feeding the fire with wood or pellets, and gas inserts only require an annual inspection to keep up and running. They also come with a high energy rating and do not create a lot of waste. This is great for the environment and will save you money in the long run.
Pellet inserts work in a similar fashion as wood-burners. The biggest difference is that you are using pellets as the fuel instead of wood. Pellets are made from renewable materials, like recycled wood, and come in large bags. You can also use alternative fuels with pellet inserts, giving them a big advantage over their counterparts. The one downside to pellet inserts is that you are using more electricity to start and keep the fire running. Pellet inserts usually feature blowers, a fire starter method, and an auger that regularly refreshes pellets to keep things running. These inserts are rated for houses between 1,000 and 2,5000 square feet.