Many people love their fireplaces, but if you have an open masonry wood-burning fireplace, you may want to consider updating it with a fireplace insert. Every minute they are burning, open masonry fireplaces can exhaust as much as 300 cubic feet of heated room air outside your home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That means 18,000 cubic feet of heated air escapes your home every hour your fireplace is in use, while drawing cold air in through the windows and doors. You may feel warm close to the fireplace, but heated air is being sent straight up the chimney and outside your home.
Now is a good time to transform your open masonry fireplace into a highly efficient heat producer with a fireplace insert. As the name suggests, a fireplace insert fits directly into an existing fireplace, greatly enhancing its performance and beauty. As part of the installation, a vent pipe is installed inside the chimney that expels the fire’s combustion outside the home, protecting indoor air quality. Inserts are available in multiple fuel types, so you can choose what fuel you’d like to burn – natural gas, liquid propane, cordwood or pellets.
“When choosing a fireplace insert, consider fuel cost and availability in your area,” says Stephanie Miller, vice president of marketing for Hearth & Home Technologies, a leading producer of hearth products. “Many people enjoy the convenience of a gas fireplace insert, and others prefer to burn renewable fuels like cordwood or pellets. It can depend on how much interaction you want to have with your fireplace.”
A fireplace insert can cost as little as $2,900 including installation, and a professional can complete the job within four to six hours. Gas-fueled inserts operate at the flip of a switch or remote control, offering the greatest convenience to homeowners. With realistic logs and illuminated embers, models like the Heat & Glo Escape I35, retain the aesthetics of a wood-burning fireplace, but with the convenience of gas. This particular model is outfitted with fuel saving intermittent pilot ignition and a one-piece molded ceramic refractory called FireBrick, which radiates 25 percent more heat than metal fireboxes.
Wood-burning fireplace inserts that are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and pellet-burning inserts can save money, especially given the volatility of fuel oil, electricity and gas. Cordwood is plentiful in many areas of the country, as are pellets, which are made from byproducts like sawdust and wood chips. Pellet inserts burn so clean that EPA certification is not necessary, but EPA-certified wood-burning inserts are required to pass stringent emission tests. Both cordwood and pellets are renewable energy sources that are harvested and produced in North America.
Winter makes its way back into our lives every year. Upgrading your open masonry wood-burning fireplace with an energy efficient insert this spring or summer will help to save money and make your home warmer this fall and winter. Visit fireplaces.com to learn more.