Fireplace Inserts: How You Can Make Your Fireplace Work Better for You
As the days are getting shorter and the nights are growing cooler, families all over the U.S. are gathering around their fireplaces. No matter how you slice it, a roaring fire in the hearth can warm up even the coldest nights. But is it possible that your wood fireplace could be doing even more to keep you warm?
While there’s little doubt that any wood-burning fireplace provides a little extra warmth and comfort on a cold day, not all fireplaces are created equal when it comes to efficiency and actually supplementing your home’s heating system. Your traditional fireplace may be providing the comfort you seek, but the return on investment in terms of heating efficiency might surprise you.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “designed more for show, traditional open masonry fireplaces should not be considered heating devices.” You may be asking how this could be true when you’ve spent many cold nights warming yourself by that old fireplace. It’s not that traditional fireplaces don’t provide warmth, it’s just that much of that warmth generated by the burning logs is immediately lost through the chimney, which is a losing proposition when it comes to efficiently heating your home.
So does this mean you can’t have a beautiful and stately old fireplace that’s also energy-efficient? Absolutely not.
Fireplace inserts can help increase heating efficiency
A fireplace insert is the answer to making your old fireplace more efficient without having to replace it. The beauty of fireplace inserts is they can be seamlessly retrofitted to most existing wood-burning fireplaces. While this will only slightly alter the look of your fireplace, it can take it from a net energy loser to a helpful tool in keeping heating costs at bay.
Fireplace inserts can be installed to use existing chimney infrastructure as its exhaust system. And if you don’t already have a chimney system, many fireplaces inserts can be installed into existing walls using less-complicated venting systems than yesterday’s hearth and chimney systems.
More choice with fireplace inserts
If you’re considering a fireplace insert, you have a few options. While you could increase your fireplace’s efficiency simply by installing an energy-efficient insert that burns traditional cord wood, fireplace inserts that burn wood, corn or flex fuel pellets also exist.
Pellet heat offers more flexibility in terms of the types of fuel you can burn, greater efficiency and increased burn times so you don’t have to load your fireplace as frequently. If you’re looking for an ultra-efficient option, pellet fireplace inserts are worth checking out as you consider a retrofit to your existing fireplace.
Whether you opt for a more efficient wood-burning fireplace insert or a pellet-burning insert, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll be getting more out of your fireplace than you were before.