Choosing the Right Fireplace Insert
Deciding to upgrade from a standard masonry fireplace to a highly efficient top rated fireplace insert is a smart move for many homeowners. This is especially true when the fireplace’s primary function is to provide heat within the home, as opposed to simply providing aesthetic appeal. But the decision to purchase an insert involves several other factors, which we’ll cover here.
Things to consider when choosing the right fireplace insert:
Size of the existing fireplace
For a fireplace insert to do its job properly, it must be the correct size. Therefore the first step toward purchasing one of these units is to get accurate measurements of the height, width and depth of the mouth of your fireplace.
Your preferred fuel source
Your new fireplace insert can burn gas or wood. There are pros and cons to each type of fuel. Wood is very economical and produces an ambiance that no other fuel type can match. Some woods create wonderful aromas within a home, and people love to watch crackling wood logs in a fireplace.
A drawback to wood is that it doesn’t burn as cleanly as gas, and more maintenance will be required when it comes to cleaning both the firebox and the chimney. Burning wood emits a substance known as creosote, which is a common igniter of chimney fires.
Although modern wood fireplace inserts are designed to burn cleaner than those in the past, they’ll never burn cleaner than gas. Gas fireplace inserts require minimal maintenance, and a fire can be started with the flick of a switch.
Today there’s a wide selection of fireplace inserts with many features to choose from. When shopping, know ahead of time what you want out of your insert. A few things you’ll want to look for and ask questions about include:
- The unit’s efficiency rating
- Necessary maintenance
- For wood units, how long logs will burn
- Size of room to be heated
- For gas units, remote control capability
- Venting options
Style and finish
Finally, you want your new fireplace insert to blend in well with the décor of the room where it will operate. As you browse different models, try to imagine how they would accent your home. You can make a further aesthetic statement by adding a handsome surround or mantel to your fireplace, creating a hearth area that’s homey and pleasing to the eye.
As with any home heating appliance, selecting the right fireplace insert involves many factors. You want a unit that will best serve your specific needs and give you years of high performance. Today’s top insert manufactures can provide just that. All that remains is to determine the fuel source, unit size specs, available features and the style that will give you exactly what you’re looking for.
If you’re shopping for a new fireplace insert, count on your local United Fireplace & Stove member store to guide you in the right direction. To find a member store near you, use our handy store locater.