Traditional masonry fireplaces provide benefits that most people enjoy, but those advantages almost exclusively involve aesthetics. Watching dancing flames or warming to a roaring fire on a cold day is a genuine pleasure and hanging Christmas stockings or otherwise decorating the mantle is special but that’s about where the benefits end. Old-fashioned fireplaces produce a very small amount of heat for the household, though some researchers report that fireplaces actually lose more heat than they produce, with warmed air from the home escaping up the chimney. Fortunately there is a solution, and it has its origins in colonial times.
The first fireplace insert was invented by Benjamin Franklin. That initial version had serious flaws, but it led to the invention of the Franklin stove that most are familiar with today and that many still use. The fireplace inserts of today are installed directly inside masonry fireplaces, and they provide the following notable benefits:
1 – Eco-friendly
Anyone who is environmentally conscious can freely enjoy using a wood-burning fireplace insert. These helpful appliances burn up more harmful combustion gases, the longer the fire burns. Whereas traditional fireplaces produce about 40 grams of smoke each hour, on average, fireplace inserts are capable of producing as little as 1 gram of smoke in the same time frame, which meets the strictest clean air standards.
Heating your home with either wood-burning or pellet-burning fireplace inserts is an excellent way to go green. Wood is a sustainable and renewable fuel source, and pellets are made with wood that would otherwise be dumped in a trash heap. Wood is also deemed “carbon neutral” because the same amount of carbon is released from wood whether it is burned or whether it decays naturally.
Advancements in the technology of fireplace inserts have resulted in the appliances being viable alternative heating systems. A room can be heated three times longer using a modern fireplace insert than with the same amount of fuel in a traditional fireplace. One reason for the huge difference is that heated air is pulled into a traditional fireplace, causing the fire to burn more quickly at significantly lower temperatures. Overall efficiency rating of a fireplace is between 5% and 10%. Fireplace inserts, which have sealed, airtight doors and high temperature after-burn technology, allow the firewood to burn much hotter and much slower. Depending on the type of fireplace insert you choose, the overall efficiency rating is somewhere between 65% and 80%. Using a fireplace insert is a more affordable heating method when it’s cold outside.
With the added insulation of fireplace inserts and the reduction of draft problems, the appliances can go a long way toward cutting your utility costs. Upon installation of fireplace inserts, insulation is added around it, which means less heat escapes the home in winter and less cool air escapes during summer. Fireplace inserts have sealed glass doors which prevent cold blasts of air from blowing down the chimney and into your home. Year around, it’s an appliance that helps to lower your heating and cooling bills.
3 – An Affordable Option
When a fireplace or chimney is in need of a rebuild or renovation, the price tag can get very high. In addition, the process of repairs can cause lengthy disruption of normal home life. Neglecting needed repairs, on the other hand, can result in a fire hazard. Fireplace inserts can restore a fireplace’s structural integrity for a much lower cost and with far less labor.
4 – Appealing Designs
The attractive styles and designs of fireplace inserts range from rustic to modern to ornate. There is a model to suit just about any taste. Among the choices are an insert that is flush with the fireplace face or one that projects out from the hearth. Whichever style you choose, it will still provide the beautiful focal point that fireplaces are widely appreciated for.
Contact us to learn more or for helping choosing the fireplace insert that’s just right for your home.