Efficient Winter Heating in Frederick, Maryland
For people interested in enhancing the look and feel of an existing wood burning fireplace, we have great news. It’s now easier than ever before to increase the efficiency of a fireplace by adding a gas fireplace insert. The installation of a fireplace insert can turn an occasional source of warmth into a convenient and easy-to-use supplemental zone heater that can help control high home heating bills while protecting winter air quality. Click here to view more of our gas inserts!
Fireplace Insert Basics
Fireplace inserts are designed to enhance the operation and appearance of an existing wood burning fireplace, whether masonry or factory built. Categorized primarily by the fuel burned for operation (natural gas, propane, EPA-certified wood, pellet and coal), a fireplace insert is installed into an existing wood burning fireplace. Fireplace inserts are made from cast iron or steel and have self-cleaning glass doors that allow the dancing flames of the fire to be viewed while the insulated doors remain closed, making the fire more efficient. Many manufacturers also augment the operation of fireplace inserts by offering state-of-the-art features such as fans and thermostatic controls (depending on the fuel).
Almost all North Americans with older wood burning fireplaces can benefit from the installation of a fireplace insert. Generally, older fireplaces have efficiency ratings of just five to ten percent. This low efficiency is due to the open combustion design that allows an abundance of heated room air to be drawn into the fire, causing the fire to burn too fast and wasting energy. In contrast, a fireplace insert is an insulated, closed-door system that slows the fire down and increases the temperature of the fire to facilitate more complete combustion. This closed combustion system can assist in generating efficiencies of above 65 percent in many cases which can translate into more heat output.
Variety of Fuel Options
Determining which fuel type to select when purchasing a fireplace insert depends on the cost and availability of the fuel, the desired efficiency and heat output, as well as the level of maintenance requirements and the desired appearance of the fire by the user. While most fireplace inserts manufactured today are extremely efficient, the choice is often dictated by a person’s individual needs.
Type: Fireplace inserts are distinguished by fuel. There are five different types: natural gas, propane, EPA certified wood, pellet and coal.
Size: There are many sizes of fireplace inserts, from small to extremely large. The key factor in selecting the size is based on the opening of the existing fireplace. To determine the right size, measure the following: opening height; opening width; opening depth (top and bottom); rear width and the depth of the hearth (area in front of fireplace).
Location: A fireplace insert needs to be placed in an existing masonry or factory-built fireplace with a working chimney.
Venting: Fireplace inserts are either vented naturally through a working chimney, direct vented or vent-free, depending on fuel choice. In most cases, a chimney liner is required. The type and size of the liner is specific to the fuel.
Features: Fireplace inserts are made from steel or cast iron and have self-cleaning glass doors to provide a view of the fire. Fireplace inserts may also have optional fans to distribute heat into a room, as well as thermostatic, or remote controls, to help regulate the fire automatically.
Style: The style of fireplace inserts varies among fuel types. However, no matter what the fuel type, all fireplace inserts come in a variety of colors, finishes and designs, from modern to traditional.