Considering a Fireplace Insert? Here's Information To Help You Decide
Why Would I Want A Fireplace Insert?
If you have a fireplace, you may have noticed a draft coming from the fireplace into your room. One way to take care of that drafty spot is to plug it up with a fireplace insert. At the same time, a fireplace insert is a source of heat for your room or several rooms, depending on the size of insert you buy. Fireplace inserts come in wood or pellet burning and are often made by the same people who make wood or pellet burning stoves. You can also buy gas or electric fireplace inserts, which sort of defeats the purpose of trying to save on heating costs, but they are available to you if you don't want to deal with the messiness of firewood. A good quality fireplace insert will cost between $1,200 and $3,000, unless you can wait until the end of the cold season when they are most likely to go on sale for much better prices. Inserts are usually made of cast iron or steel, and most will have a glass window so you can enjoy the same view of flames as you did with your fireplace, but without wasting the heat from the fire in your fireplace. Inserts can be flush-mounted to the fireplace, or can extend out onto the heart. Some inserts have a cooktop surface so you can still have warm food in the event of a power outage. Most will also have blowers which blow the warm air out into the room. And what you will find on the market should be EPA rated, which means low emissions for our environment.
Best Fireplace Inserts
We've put together a listing of some of the best fireplace inserts we could find. We can't include them all, but we recommend that you do your own searches. We found information from the following web sites: Heart.com, Regency-fire.com, oldhouseweb.com, woodheat.org, chimneysweeponline.com and fireplacesnow.com.
Regency makes wood fireplace inserts in small, medium and large sizes. What you need will depend on your fireplace opening and how much of an area you want to heat. Their small models have a burn capacity of 55,000 BTU's. Minimum opening sizes are listed on their web site to help you choose the right size for your fireplace opening. The classic hearth style insert combines an insert with a wood stove, as it covers the fireplace opening but sits on the heart, allowing the heat to circulate more easily throughout the room and your home. The burn capacity is 70,000 BTU's.
- Pacific Energy
Pacific Energy makes several sizes and types of fireplace inserts. For example, in a small to medium sized wood insert they make the Vista, which has a heating capacity of up to 56,000 BTU/hr, heats an area of 600 to 1,400 square feet, comes with a limited lifetime warranty and has a maximum log length of 18 inches. The basic model lists for $1,495. If you're looking for a larger insert, the Pacific D-1 heats at a capacity up to 72,000 BTU and an area of 1,000 to 1,800 square feet. Also has a limited lifetime warranty. List price for the basic model is $1,795. And under the "Let's Heat the Neighborhood" category (found on chimneysweep.com) the Summit has a maximum output of 97,000 BTU's per hour, will heat 2,000-3,000 square feet, and the firebox can hold up to a 20" log. Prices start at $2,195 for this model, but if you're looking to heat a large area, this might be on your list to check out.
Hearthstone makes their fireboxes from soapstone, which has great heat-retaining capabilities. They make several sizes to fit your heating needs. The Morgan features a lifetime warranty cast iron construction with the soapstone lining, a maximum output of 40,000 BTU's per hour, and will heat an area from 700 to 1,500 square feet. Comes with a variable speed thermostatic blower and prices starting at $2,165. The Clydesdale is their medium-sized offering, with maximum heat output of up to 60,000 BTU's per hour, heating an area from 1,200 to 2,000 square feet. This model is cast iron construction with a solid soapstone firebox for maximum heat retention. A variable speed thermostatic blower is included, and prices start at $2,495 at the Chimneysweeponline web site.
Napoleon is a well-known maker of woodburning and pellet stoves, and they make fireplace inserts as well. If you're looking for a smaller insert, Napoleon's EPI 1101P Insert is rated to heat an area from 600 to 1,500 square feet, has a maximum heat output of 55,000 BTU's per hour, and is brick lined. Has a limited lifetime warranty. Moving up in size, the EPI 1402P Insert will heat an area from 1,000 to 2,000 square feet, with a maximum heat output of 70,000 BTU's. Both of these inserts come in several enamel finish color choices and have a "whisper quiet" blower. Napoleon also makes pellet inserts. The Pellet Insert NPI40 has a heat output ranging from 8,000 to 43,000 BTU's, and features an easy fueling "stay open" lid, an automatic igniter, variable speed auger and variable speed blower, as well as a "fail safe" system to avoid overheating. Napoleon also makes gas inserts, too.
Do your homework before you buy, and if at all possible, we recommend that you wait to purchase your fireplace insert at the end of the burning season, when prices are lower. Check your fuel sources too, for whichever type of insert you decide to purchase. You'll want to be sure that fuel for your insert is readily available, and know where to purchase your fuel. Since you are definitely dealing with a fireplace when you choose a fireplace insert, be sure to service your chimney before installing, as well as routinely servicing and having it cleaned afterwards, for safety and peace of mind.