If you’ve got an existing fireplace in your home, then you have a wonderful tool that can help you lower your heating bills. Fireplaces by themselves are not energy efficient units, but if you install a fireplace insert into one, you’re creating what amounts to a new stove that can heat your entire home if need be. How do you find the best fireplace insert that will work with your existing structure?
Information is what you need to be able to make an informed, empowered choice. The chart below will help you quickly see what fireplace inserts you’ll want to look at in more detail.
|Vogelzang Deluxe Wood Burning Insert with Vent Kit||Wood Burning||$$$||4.5|
|Ashley Hearth Black Wood Stove Insert||Wood Burning||$$$||4.1|
|Empire Innsbrook Medium Direct Vent Liquid Propane Fireplace Insert||Liquid Propane||$$$$||4.7|
|Duluth Forge Dual Fuel Ventless Insert T-Stat Control||Natural Gas||$$$$||4.6|
|GreatCo Gallery Series Electric Fireplace Insert 42-Inch Surround||Electric||$$||4.3|
|Modern Flames ZCR2 Electric Insert||Electric||$$||4.3|
What Does a Good Fireplace Insert Look Like?
The best fireplace insert is going to be made of a durable material that can stand up to the heating and cooling that take place inside of their firebox. You need something that has a good weld to it so that the expansion and contraction that occurs will not damage your insert or the structure of the fireplace itself. This means material is less important than the quality of the construction, so be sure to read each comprehensive review to take reputation into account.
A good insert will also have options to vent the exhaust out your existing chimney without much difficulty. Look for a fireplace insert that won’t require you to install elbow units or require side venting in order to operate. If you have a difficult chimney location, you may wish to consider a ventless heating unit instead so that you don’t have to route exhaust through the exterior of your home.
You’ll also want to consider the hearth of the insert as you shop around for the best one to meet your needs. Heat needs to be distributed from the metal that makes up the firebox somehow, so instead of demanding that your bricks, exhaust piping, and flexible chimney liner take on that responsibility primarily, a good hearth safely secure the heat and radiate into the room instead.
The final option to consider with your new fireplace insert is to have an adjustable air flow that you can control. Airwash is important for these inserts because that helps to distribute and control the amount of heat your home receives. This lets you have more precise control than limiting or increasing the amount of wood that is being burned.
What Are the Advantages of a Good Fireplace Insert?
As with other heating options that essentially take you off of the power grid, the primary benefit of using a fireplace insert is that you’ll save plenty of money on your heating bills. Even fireplace inserts that come with dual blowers can save the average homeowner up to 50% on their annual heating costs. That means the average insert can pay for itself within 2 years and some homeowners may see savings that make a unit pay for itself in just a year.
The secondary advantage of using a fireplace insert is that you get to use the existing structure of your home to heat the home. For houses that have a central fireplace, an insert is an effective heating option because the chimney will naturally radiate heat throughout the home. Any fireplace with a blower/insert combination will be able to accomplish the same feat, however, so you won’t have to install a new stove AND have a fireplace to clean as well.
Most fireplace inserts also work with current chimney exhaust venting with only a few minor modifications. You’ll likely need to install a flexible liner and potentially install some flue piping to route the exhaust directly upwards from the insert, but that’s often it. Even with these added costs and an additional faceplate like some models may require, you’ll still save more cash on this option than other off-the grid options for your home.
How Do You Find the Best Fireplace Insert?
The first feature and most important is the efficiency of the unit you’re thinking about purchasing. High efficiency units not only distribute more of the heat throughout your home for less overall fuel, but they also qualify many US purchasers for a potential tax credit. These are the other features you’ll want to consider with the best fireplace inserts today.
- Adjustable Air Flow: To get the most out of your new insert, you’ll want to have some method of controlling the airwash that comes over the wood or pellets that you are burning. This control will let you be able to regulate the heating that you’re receiving within the home so that you can always maintain a comfortable temperature.
- Direct Venting: Whether you are going for a vibrant flame or quality heat from embers, you’ll need the option to directly vent the exhaust from your unit in some way. There are a variety of different venting options, so select the one that best works with your current structure to maximize your investment.
- Cast Iron Doors: Although the main body of most fireplace inserts today are steel, at the very least you’ll want to purchase a unit that has a cast iron door. The cast iron resists the heat more effectively for you, letting you access your coal bed with less risk that simple steel doors that come standard on certain units.
What Are the Best Fireplace Insert Prices?
Fireplace inserts are one of the most cost-effective methods of heating your home that you’ll find today. Entry level inserts can be found for less than $1,000 and are price similarly to entry level cast iron stoves. The difference, however, is that you get to use your existing structure to install the unit and so the needed installation accessories often cost less than any other model. Top of the line models are also competitively priced, topping off around $2,500 on websites such as Amazon.
The average price point for a quality fireplace insert is about $1,600. At this price range, you’ll find some variable air flow control, cast iron features, stay-cool handles, and easy connections to your venting system.
What Do Our Comprehensive Reviews Have To Say?
If you are looking for a fireplace insert that goes hand-in-hand with commodity and technology, look no further. Assembled in the U.S. the Duluth Dual Fuel Ventless insert is what you need, this fireplace offers a great 32,000 BTU with either natural gas or liquid propane as fuel, it’s built with a variable control thermostat which offers a wide variety of customizable settings, delivering a maximum of 1,500 sq. ft. area heating, ideal for a relaxing autumn night as well as a cold winter morning.
When it comes to style, this Duluth insert brought home the big guns, with 6 hand-painted ceramic fibre logs to make it pleasant to the eye, without actually creating the emissions of a burning wood log.
Last but not least, one of the main features it offers is safety, this insert comes equipped with a battery assisted oxygen depletion sensor (ODS) which will immediately shut down the heater if carbon monoxide or lack of oxygen is detected.
This beautifully crafted wood burning insert delivers major heating for its size, equipped with a stainless steel vent kit and a 150 CFM blower, the Vogelzang deluxe rimes with efficiency and safety, this fireplace’s design is made to minimize possible ember jumps thanks to its ceramic glass, it also comes with a stay-cool handle attached to a cast iron door frame, no matter how long the fireplace is in use, you can rest assured the handle will not overheat.
This wood burning unit offers a whooping 69,000 BTU, enough to heat 1,800 sq. ft. without any issues while delivering low emissions, this particular model is certified by the EPA (Environmental protection agency), keeping your home warm and your carbon footprint low.
Oh and one more thing, for this particular insert, Vogelzang offers a limited lifetime firebox warranty, which means it’s very unlikely that the main body of the fireplace will present issues overtime, all the other parts, including the electric components will get a 1 year warranty, which is a pretty good safety net for your money.
If you have a fireplace and your heating bills are high, the best fireplace insert for your home’s structure can help you save a lot of money. Use our reviews to get the information you need to select the perfect fireplace insert today!
Difference between built-in fireplaces and inserts
When choosing the correct fireplace for your home, having the right information can make the difference between a good and a bad experience, there are many aspects that should be taken into consideration to make the optimal decision. Understanding the differences between inserts and built-in fireplaces is imprescindible to find the right product for you.
As we discussed before in this article, fireplace inserts are only placed directly into existing fireplace openings, renovating the space and making it functional again, they are much cheaper than a regular wood log fireplace, it only requires minimum renovation expenses and the installation is very easy.
When talking about built-in fireplace sets, the main characteristic to consider is that, as the name describes it, it is built into the wall of your home, because of this, it requires some assistance when it comes to installation and renovations due to having a specific set of guidelines to be followed in order to achieve a correct functionality and appearance, a magnificently designed wall mounted fireplace can alter any room and because it’s literally inside the walls, it will not take away space, making it ideal for small homes.
It’s important to mention that built-in fireplaces can also be used as inserts, if you find a unit that can fit within an existing fireplace opening, it can be installed without much renovation costs, however this can be harder to achieve given that built-in sets tend to be made in different sizes and lengths, this is why you should be aware of the main differences between a built-in fireplace and inserts before making your final decision.
When it comes to remodeling, sometimes the structural integrity of our homes could not be optimal to add a built-in fireplace or create a whole space to install a masonry fireplace opening. Either way, there is another good solution when it comes to adding an electric, or natural gas/propane fireplace-like heating device to your home that is non-invasive, fast and easy to use and could save you some money, these are known as mounted or hanged fireplaces. Equipped with high end heating technology, these devices are made to be placed against a wall, a piece of furniture, or even placed in the ground, they are a great stylish addition that will not sacrifice space for functionality, they can also be placed in the opening of an existing fireplace if you have one, basically, they can be placed almost anywhere!
To go a little bit further into these units, and help you make the best choice, a key characteristic is how slick and/or heavy these devices are, some of them are better suited to be hanged, and some of them are better designed to be installed within a wall.
Aside from the fact that these fireplaces are highly customisable in options such as, color, intensity and heat, another aspect to consider when choosing the best option for you is comfort, specifically for electric fireplaces, a great feature these units offer is that you can choose between a plug-in mounted fireplace or a hard wired one, you can even directly connect it to a lightswitch or turn it on/off via remote controls.
Here are some of the main aspects and differences to consider when choosing between these two:
- You have an existing masonry fireplace that you want to give a second life or simply make it better.
- The size of the room in which the fireplace will be installed.
- You want to be able to move the fireplace around for future renovations.
- Budgeting and posible extra expenditures.
- Overall home design.
Here we have our selection of the best built-in fireplaces available on amazon:
For homes without an existing fireplace
If you don’t have a fireplace opening but you are looking to convert your living room or bedroom with a classic masonry-style fireplace space, you should consider getting a fireplace with a mantel, this exquisite looking ornaments can give you the heating you’re looking for, while also delivering the appearance of having a masonry-style fireplace without actually going through renovations. With a mantel fireplace you can give that finishing touch to match the decoration of your particular home. From wooden mantels to rock mantels, there is a style that matches with your specific needs.
Let’s look at some characteristics; it’s easy to confuse a regular mantel with one designed to carry a fireplace, a regular mantel is a piece of furniture that can be placed in the surroundings of a fireplace opening, completing the body of the fireplace and acting like a shelf, on the other hand, a fireplace with a mantel will give an illusion of having that masonry fireplace, adding its functionality with the device attached to it. One of the biggest benefits this fireplace brings to the table is that it can be moved around, if you get tired of your current decoration or furniture orientation, you can just move the fireplace to another location and it will look just as good.
The fireplace functions just the same as a built-in fireplace would, in fact, it is considered a built-in fireplace with the added functionality and style of the mantel-like-furniture that comes with it.
We have made a list of some of the best fireplaces with a mantel for you, available through amazon.
Using electric logs set heating devices on your existing fireplace
There are many reasons why some people tend to stop using their fireplaces even in the cold seasons, some of them may include, little or no access to wood logs to keep the fire burning, lack of time to clean up the remaining ashes after using the fireplace, high emissions and carbon footprint, amongst others. If you are having trouble with your existing fireplace or you are thinking of putting your old one to good use again, maybe you should consider adding an electric log set heating device onto your old fireplace opening, here are some reasons why.
As mentioned before, an electric log set heating device is engineered so you can place it inside your old fireplace, but some of them can also act like a built-in fireplace, this solution can make your masonry opening feel brand new and will definitely make your life easier in terms of maintenance and overall usage, these sets, aside from being eco-friendly, can completely revamp and give style to your home, aside of offering ease of use, it is also worth mentioning that the logs that come within the sets are made of durable, good looking materials and its purpose is entirely aesthetic.
Here are some thing to consider when choosing a log set electric heating device:
- These units are made to be installed specifically inside an existing fireplace opening.
- The use of an electric set will eliminate the emissions you create from burning wood and will save you money.
- Fast maintenance and cleaning.
- Great design options to transform your home to your liking.
Here you will find some of the best options that are currently available in amazon!
|Dimplex Revillusion 25" Plug-In Electric Log Set||$||4.3|
|Napoleon Woodland 18" Electric Logs Set||$$||4.7|
|MTTLS Electric Fireplace Insert Log Set Heater with Remote||$$||4.2|