You have made a smart choice to upgrade your fireplace with a fireplace insert. You are looking forward to the high energy efficiency and environmentally friendly impact of your new appliance (along with the benefit of lower heating/cooling bills). Before you can enjoy the new perks, you have to choose the right one. With the many options that are available, the decision can seem daunting. The best way to start narrowing down your choices is by answering the following questions.
1. How big is the mouth of your existing fireplace?
It is very important to choose an insert that is the correct size to fit into your fireplace. To determine what size of insert you will need, measure the height, width and depth inside your fireplace.
2. What fuel do you want to use?
With a fireplace insert, you have the ability to choose what fuel you would prefer to use. While the efficiency ratings between fuel types do not differ significantly, there are other things to take into consideration such as environmental impact, cost and available features.
For environmentally friendly, budget conscious homeowners, wood continues to be a popular choice. Wood is the most cost effective fuel type. It is also a carbon-neutral renewable resource. While open-hearth fireplaces release a large amount of emissions into the atmosphere, EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) certified inserts are clean burning. They produce little smoke and extremely low emissions. Along with these benefits, a wood burning insert allows you to enjoy the aromatic scent and gentle crackle of firewood.
What attracts homeowners to gas inserts are their special features and simple maintenance. With a natural gas or propane insert you will not have to worry about cleaning out ashes or cutting firewood. You will be able to turn it on with a wall switch or remote control and have the ability to determine the heat output or alter the mood lighting. Though natural gas and propane are nonrenewable resources, they are clean burning.
3. What style and special features are you interested in?
Fireplace inserts are available in a wide range of styles with many different features. As you begin to browse models, you should decide on the features that matter most to you: efficiency rating, number of square feet it can heat, burn time (for wood inserts), ease of operation, etc. There are wood insert models available with self-cleaning glass, draft rods that adjust the heat output and burn for up to 8 hours without the need to add more fuel. There are gas inserts that offer remote control operation or thermostat control, and accent lighting among other things. A number of models allow you to choose between different faceplate designs and types of ceramic logs or firebed stones. No matter your preference, you are likely to find an insert that satisfies your desires.
Valor, Travis and Regency are some of the most trusted brand names in the industry with exceptional fireplace inserts. If you are still debating what model to choose or brand to trust, speak with a NFI certified professional. If you are in the Toronto area, feel free to stop into our showroom to look at our selection and talk to one of our staff members. We love helping homeowners find the fireplace insert that is the right fit for them.