Best Fireplace Inserts

Enhance Home Comfort

Fireplaces add coziness and cheer to a home, especially during the colder months when the world outside is harsh and uninviting. They draw family and friends closer together to share its warmth and in the comfort of each others presence. If an existing fireplace needs updated or modernized, that can be done, without sacrificing the fireplace’s charm, by installing a fireplace insert. Gas/propane, wood, and pellets are three commonly accessible fuel types. These fuel types are not identical in function and each one has its own unique set of pros and cons.

Before examining each of the fuel types available for fireplace inserts, it’s important to first determine the type of structure the fireplace is which the insert will be installed into. Gas/propane fueled inserts are versatile and compatible with either a masonry or factory built, zero clearance fireplace. Wood burning inserts, however, are approved for only masonry fireplaces, even if the existing factory built, zero clearance fireplace is a wood burning one.

The second thing to consider is the square footage of the area the fireplace insert will be expected to heat. Each fuel category offers a variety of models, and each one is designed to heat a certain size of area. One that is larger than needed isn’t necessarily better. A unit that provides too much heat is as equally inefficient as one that produces too little. One that is too large would require more fuel than necessary to heat the designated space, which negatively impacts the cost of operation as well as the comfort of your home.

Now lets take a closer look at some of the pros and cons within each fuel category.

Gas/Propane Fueled

Of the three fuel types discussed in this article, gas/propane fueled fireplace inserts are the cheapest to install but more expensive to operate. Operational cost is comparable to pellet fueled inserts, but more than the wood fueled inserts. One aspect that sets it above pellet or wood fueled inserts is its cleanliness and convenience to operate. Since the fuel is piped directly into the fireplace insert, there is no time or effort required to carry fuel into your home. Gas/propane stoves are the perfect choice for someone who wants the coziness of a fire without the requirement of daily maintenance. Kozy Heat is a high quality, American made brand which offers several gas/propane fueled models in a variety of designs. Each model flickers with a realistic flame while operating with the utmost efficiency.

Wood-burning Fireplace

Wood Fueled

Wood fueled fireplace inserts, along with pellet fueled inserts, are more expensive than gas to install. Its cost of maintenance is the least out of the three fuel types, but it also requires the most work. Whether you cut and split the wood or buy wood that is ready to burn, operating a wood burning insert requires manually starting a fire and periodically adding wood to keep it burning. Even when buying pre-cut wood, the wood must be toted to the fireplace insert’s location which requires time, strength, and a sweeping afterward as wood tends to shed bark and small tinder. However, every pain has its reward and no other heat compares to that of wood fueled fires. Its heat permeates and warms the air and even the floors more thoroughly than gas or pellet fuels can. Pound for pound, it provides the best heat for the amount of fuel needed. Pacific Energy is a brand that outperforms other wood burning fireplace inserts. It burns cleanly, with great efficiency, and provides a controllable, steady burn.

Pellet Fueled

Pellet fueled fireplace inserts are the middle child of fuel types. Their cost of installation is comparable to wood, but more expensive than gas. They rank between wood and gas in terms of maintenance, requiring more than gas but not as much as wood. Pellets, as a fuel source, are purchased in tidy bags and easier to manage than loose logs. Unlike gas/propane that is piped directly into the fireplace inserts, the pellets must be manually poured into the insert’s hopper. However, once the fireplace insert has been replenished with pellets, they automatically feed the fire (similar to gas/propane) which creates a consistent heat output that doesn’t need the frequency of attention which a wood insert does. Pellet inserts require more mechanical parts to operate than gas or wood inserts do. Enviro is a brand constructed with high quality components, even more so than most other brands, and is a great choice for a pellet insert.

Wood-burning Fireplace

Finding the Perfect Fireplace Insert for Your Lifestyle

Choosing the best fireplace insert fuel type for your lifestyle could rest on one question: “How much time and energy do I want to put into heating my space?” The effort and time, or lack thereof, required to maintain each of these inserts might be the weightiest question with the most repercussions affecting not just how you heat your home, but the lifestyle you wish to create.