Fireplaces are a wonderful addition to any residence. They provide a perfect spot for family gatherings and intimate affairs, all while keeping things toasty warm. The downside to a fireplace insert is their age. They take significant maintenance and if an owner puts it off too long, it could require masonry repairs to restore its functionality or make it safe for use. Even if you keep your fireplace in great shape, you might notice that you lose more heat than you’re getting—that it’s just not as efficient as you need it to be.
A fireplace insert can solve that problem with ease.
If you’d like to restore life and functionality to your once-charming fireplace, consider the following reasons for adopting a fireplace insert.
1. Environmentally friendly heating
Wood produces the same amount of carbon whether it’s decaying outdoors or being burned in a hearth. For that reason and a few others, wood is one of the most responsible fuel choices we have available to us. It’s both renewable and sustainable, too.
One of the big differences between traditional/older fireplaces and modern inserts is that older fireplaces emitted a larger amount of harmful combustion byproducts. What makes inserts more environmentally conscious is their design: they’re designed to burn up dangerous byproducts and to produce far less smoke (per hour). In fact, contemporary wood inserts generally exceed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) clean air standards by producing as little as one gram of smoke per hour.
2. Boosts efficiency of and cuts heating costs
When you’re heating your home more efficiently, you’ll spend less money and resources on the task. The fireplace inserts made today are designed to be more efficient. They’re capable of utilizing the same amount of wood but heat rooms for longer, at a higher temperature. The issue with traditional fireplaces is their open-hearth designs that cause their fires to burn faster but at lower temperatures, drastically reducing their efficiency. Comparatively, modern inserts boast an overall efficiency rating of 65%-80%, while old-fashioned fireplaces only rate between 5% and 10%.
Due to the airtight construction of inserts, they can further lower heating bills by providing insulation and blocking down drafts. From the insulation that’s installed alongside the insert to the glass doors of the insert itself, it keeps cold air from entering your home, reduces lost warmth, and retains cool air inside (benefiting you throughout the year, not just during the cold winter).
3. Saves costs on remodeling
Remodeling your existing fireplace can be very expensive, and very time-consuming.
Utilizing a fireplace insert is a way to update the look of a fireplace without the pricey overhaul. Some turn to inserts if there’s significant work that needs to be done to the hearth or chimney that prevents it from being used or safe. Installing an insert can actually restore the integrity and functionality of your fireplace with far less cost and labor involved.
4. Aesthetically pleasing and functional
Inserts run the gamut from intricately styled and simple so that there’s something for everyone. Because many older fireplaces already have very attractive surrounds, inserts can be made to blend in or accent the current décor. These include inserts that fit flush with the face of a fireplace or project further.
There are more than a few features you can choose when selecting your fireplace insert:
- Self-cleaning glass doors can burn off the build up of creosote to keep them clear
- Distributor fans to adjust the way heat is dispersed
- Thermostats provide temperature readings to help you set the fire to the most efficient
- A remote control that can be used to control the temperature from a comfortable distance
- And if you really wanted to, you can find inserts that run on a number of different fuel sources
5. They cost less to maintain than a traditional fireplace
Installing a fireplace insert drastically cuts down on the amount and cost of maintaining the fireplace over the span of its lifetime. By restoring the integrity of your fireplace with an insert, you’re investing in its care—without spending a fortune on masonry repairs or renovations. Long-term warranties are common with many fireplace inserts to help cover the cost of future repairs; and even without a warranty, repairing an insert is significantly less costly than dealing with a ruined masonry fireplace.
Having a fireplace can be a huge draw for renters and buyers, but some fireplaces just aren’t safe or efficient enough to be practical for use anymore. At least not without spending an arm and leg on masonry repairs and renovations. The benefits of installing a fireplace insert include being able to update the look and improve efficiency without going broke. Inserts can be an environmentally sound and efficient way of not only distributing heat throughout your home but also insulating your chimney against heat loss and denying cold air entry.