Fireplace Insert to Heat Your Home Efficiently
Do you have a traditional fireplace? Are you interested in improving your home’s energy efficiency? A fireplace insert may be the answer.
You may have noticed that it feels colder in your house when you build a fire in your traditional fireplace unless you have a good blaze going. This is because 90% of that heat escapes through the chimney rather than heating the room.
Do you know what else happens when you light a fire? It can hurt your energy bills on the coldest days as the convection pulls the heated air from the room up the chimney as well.
Unless you have a well-insulated chimney and flue, some warm air is escaping up your chimney all the time.
Nothing beats the beauty and charm of a traditional masonry fireplace. Still, a fireplace insert can not only stop cold air from coming in and warm air from going out.
However, certain fireplace inserts can also supplement or even completely replace your furnace power by warming up to 3,000 square feet of space.
According the Energy.gov, “High-efficiency fireplace inserts have proven effective in increasing the heating efficiency of older fireplaces.”
What is a Fireplace Insert?
A fireplace insert is an extra, closed firebox connected to an insulated flue that fits up your chimney. It has a door that allows the heat from your fire to stay inside the firebox and a fan to help force out and circulate the hot air around your house. Inserts are made to fit into your existing fireplace.
However, not all fireplace inserts burn wood. Some of them can burn wood or biofuel pellets, which are even more energy-efficient, or gas.
Wood Burning Inserts
Firewood burning inserts may be the easiest to find and most likely to work with a standard masonry chimney, as they require a 6″ vent pipe. They are also the most like a wood-burning fireplace if the ambiance and cheer is something you would like to keep while making your fireplace more efficient.
If you have access to free or cheap firewood, the insert will pay for itself in no time, as you decrease your heating costs.
Even if you don’t have access to free firewood, an insert will make the act of building a fire energy-efficient, cutting down on heat loss. It won’t save you as much money, but it will still save you some.
As with a traditional fireplace, you will have to clean out the wood ash and find something to do with it.
Wood Pellet Inserts
If you are looking for efficiency, an insert that burns wood pellets is much better than one than burns firewood. It’s a mess-free wood burning stove that feeds itself pellets as they burn.
Wood pellet inserts require electricity to keep the mechanism going but can operate with battery backup power during a power outage. If you want good heat with virtually no ash and high efficiency, this is your insert.
However, they are harder to find, and although the fuel is usually available at big hardware stores, it is expensive, and you may use up to 40 lbs. of fuel in a day. Other pellets available include biofuels made from corn, sunflower seeds, and wheat.
One of the great things about a gas insert is its ability to be put, in some cases, where there is no ventilation. You could have a fireplace overnight without having any masonry.
You still get the advantage of heat, efficiency, and a dancing flame to watch, but without any cleanup. There are sleek and ultra-modern designs and models made to look like the “real thing.”
The only drawbacks are that you need a gas line to be run or already present and that your gas bill will go up as you use the insert.
Bringing it Home
If you need to take control of your home’s heat efficiency, and have a traditional wood-burning fireplace, you should consider a fireplace insert. In many cases, these inserts will pay for themselves in savings, and they will turn your winter fires from heat-sucking to heat-producing.
You may also like to read Top Energy Efficient Home Improvements to Ultimately Save Money