If you’re a homeowner with a fireplace, you’ve likely heard about the option of adding a fireplace insert. But how exactly is an insert different than your fireplace? What are the benefits of adding an insert? And if you’re interested in an insert, what are your options? Fortunately, at Tri County Hearth and Patio Center, our fireplace experts can answer all of your questions about fireplace inserts.

What is a fireplace insert?The difference between a fireplace and an insert - Waldorf MD - Tri County Hearth and Patio Center

As the name suggests, a fireplace insert is, essentially, a heating stove that is slid into your existing fireplace space. Whether you have a masonry fireplace or a factory-built fireplace, an insert can be fit into your fireplace. The fireplace insert will vent through your existing chimney, though a chimney liner may need to be fitted to the insert for optimal performance and safety.

What are the benefits of a fireplace insert?

The primary benefit of adding an insert to your fireplace is efficiency. Traditional open-heart fireplaces, whether they are wood-burning or have been fitted with gas logs, are poor heaters. With an open-hearth fireplace, approximately 90 percent of the fire’s heat is lost up the chimney, meaning your home is only benefiting from about 10 percent of the fire’s heat. Inserts, however, return anywhere from 60 to 99 percent of the fire’s heat to your home, depending on the type of insert you choose. That efficiency can lower your home heating bills.

Fireplace inserts also are cleaner. Because the fire is enclosed inside the stove, little to no smoke or fine particles from the fire make their way back into your home. The hotter fires also mean that inserts produce less smoke and pollution, and most inserts now are EPA certified.

Finally, inserts can help upgrade the look and value of your home. If you have an ugly, outdated or even damaged fireplace, upgrading with an insert can update the look of your home and increase its value. Fireplace inserts come in a variety of styles, from traditional to modern, meaning you’re sure to find one that fits your taste and your home’s style.

What are my insert options?

Fireplace inserts come in three main options: wood burning, pellet or gas. For people who enjoy the look and feel of a wood-burning fireplace, wood-burning inserts allow you to continue to burn wood logs while capturing more of the fire’s heat and producing less pollution. Pellet stoves, which burn dehydrated, compressed wood pellets or bio-fuel, are more efficient and require less tending than a wood-burning stove but still provide the gentle glow and ambiance of a wood fire. Gas inserts provide convenience. With a push of a button or the flip of a switch, you can enjoy a roaring fire. Many gas inserts can be fitted to a thermostat so you can control the heat your fire puts out.

If you’re interested in upgrading your fireplace with an insert, the experts at Tri County Hearth and Patio Center can discuss your options with you and help you select the insert that’s right for your hearth.