Choosing the Right Fireplace Insert Image - Waldorf MD - Tri-County HearthIf you are in the market for a new fireplace or insert, the good news is: You have a lot of options. The bad news is: You have a lot of options. If you don’t know just want you want in your new fireplace or fireplace insert, all of those options can seem overwhelming.

There are a few simple decisions to make that can help steer you in the right direction when selecting your new fireplace or fireplace insert.

Fireplace, heating stove or insert

First, you have to decide which type of fireplace you would like to have in your home. If you have an existing fireplace space, you may be able to purchase a fireplace insert. A fireplace insert can make your hearth more efficient, update an outdated hearth or alter your fireplace fuel type. If you are building a fireplace from scratch, you might choose a more tradition fireplace. Your final option is for a free-standing heating stove. A free-standing stove can be placed onto a hearth, or it can stand by itself to add warmth and character to your home’s living space.

Fuel type

When selecting your new fireplace or fireplace insert, you will have to choose which type of fuel you would like to use. There are four basic types of fireplaces:

  • Wood burning. A wood-burning fireplace provides classic comfort. There’s the warm glow of the fire, the crackle of the wood and the pleasant smoky smell. Wood-burning fireplaces and inserts do have one major disadvantage: They can be extremely labor intensive, as you stack, store and haul firewood. The fires have to be tended to keep a consistent flame. While open-hearth fireplaces have traditionally been poor sources of efficient heat, there are EPA-rated wood-burning heating stoves and fireplace inserts that are relatively efficient.
  • Pellet. For someone who wants the charm of a wood fireplace but doesn’t want the work, a pellet stove can be the perfect answer. Pellet stoves burn dehydrated wood pellets. Pellets are placed in a hopper, and an automatic auger feeds the pellets into the fire. One load of pellets can feed a fire for up to 24 hours, which means your pellet stove will provide consistent heat without the work.
  • Gas. Gas heating stoves, fireplaces and fireplace inserts are becoming more and more popular. They offer the most efficient heat source among fireplaces, and they require virtually no work; you just flip a switch and enjoy your fire.

Electric. Similarly, electric fireplaces provide an easy source of ambiance and heat. They can be placed in nearly any room to enhance décor and ambiance.


You will need to determine the heating capacity of your fireplace, fireplace insert or heating stove. The heat output will depend on the space you plan to heat. As you shop for a fireplace, you should receive feedback on how large or small the fireplace should be.

If you are in the market for a new fireplace, fireplace insert or heating stove, call the hearth experts at Tri-County Hearth & Patio Center, or drop by our showroom today! Our fireplace experts can help you determine what fireplace type, fuel source and size is right for your home.