Are you ready to upgrade the efficiency and usability of your fireplace with a new fireplace insert? If you’re in the market for a new hearth appliance, it can be difficult to know where to start. Generally, the most important thing you need to know when selecting a new fireplace insert is what type of fuel you’ll want to burn: wood, pellet or gas. Here’s what you need to know about the three different types of fireplace inserts.

Wood-burning Fireplace Inserts

If you love the look and feel of a wood-burning fireplace, or if you have access to free or low-cost firewood, you might be inclined to choose a wood-burning fireplace insert. A wood-burning insert can dramatically increase the efficiency of your fireplace! While wood-burning open-hearth fireplaces send as much as 90 percent of the fire’s heat up the chimney, an EPA-certified wood-burning insert can increase the efficiency of your fireplace between 60 and 80 percent. If you’re using an outdated wood insert or if you have an open-hearth wood-burning fireplace, a wood-burning fireplace insert also will lower the air pollution within your home and in your neighborhood. You also will find yourself burning less firewood to create more heat.

Pellet Inserts

A pellet insert, meanwhile, can provide you with the warm glow of a wood-burning fireplace without the work. A pellet insert burns biofuel, usually in the form of compressed, dehydrated sawdust pellets. Pellet inserts have efficiencies between 50 and 80 percent. Pellet inserts come without the maintenance of wood-burning inserts: Pellets are loaded into a hopper and then automatically fed into the stove via an auger, which allows stoves to burn for anywhere from 24 to 48 hours without being reloaded or stoked. The fuel is relatively inexpensive and can be purchased at big box or home-improvement stores in 40-pound bags.

Gas Inserts

If you love the look of your fireplace but rarely use it because of the work involved in building and tending the fire, a gas fireplace insert might be the perfect option for you. Gas fireplaces are fully automatic, so you can ignite or extinguish your fire with the push of a button. You can even wire your gas fireplace to your thermostat so that the flame is automatically tied to the temperature within your home. Gas fireplace inserts also are the most efficient option, with efficiency ratings between 58 and 85 percent. If you prefer the look of a wood-burning fireplace, many gas fireplaces very closely mimic the look of wood fires. Or, you can go for a contemporary look with a gas fireplace that features free-floating flames, smooth river rocks or glass stones.

If you’re ready to choose a fireplace insert to upgrade your fireplace this winter, stop by the Tri-County Hearth & Patio showroom today! Our fireplace experts can help you weigh the pros and cons of different types of fireplace inserts and select a fireplace insert that fits your home and your heating needs.