Older Fireplaces Often Rob a Room of Heat Instead of Adding Warmth
You may think a fireplace adds heat to a room. Chances are, however, that you need to add a fireplace insert to make it work more efficiently.
From the earliest times, nothing has elicited a feeling of home and family like a glowing, inviting fire. While humans initially used fire outside and essential for survival, it eventually moved indoors. Hearths and other types of wood burners were still crucial elements of homes until central heating took over in the 20th century.
For many years, fireplaces have served a decorative function primarily. Yet now, as homeowners are trying to become greener, fireplaces are once more in vogue to zone heat a house. Even if your fireplace is only 25 or 30 years old, however, in other words, one that is not a direct vent design, it can rob your home of heat instead of adding warmth. For more on fireplace features, see this article.
What are Fireplace Inserts?
Fireplace inserts are composed of three main pieces–the insert itself which is placed inside the fireplace, made from cast iron or steel, a faceplate, and glass doors that allow the fire to be seen while the doors remain closed, making the fire safer and more efficient. Modern fireplace inserts have self-cleaning doors so you can view the flames distinctly with the doors shut.
The type of insert selected depends on the type of fuel you use–natural gas, propane, wood, pellet, or coal. Some insert systems also offer state-of-the-art features such as fans, which distribute heat into a room, and thermostatic controls to improve performance.
Size also varies, ranging from small to extremely large. The critical factor in selecting a size is based on the opening of the existing fireplace. To learn the right size, you must measure the following:
- Opening height and width
- Opening depth (top and bottom)
- Rear width
- Depth of the hearth (area in front of the fireplace
How Inserts Work
Older fireplaces are not very efficient because of their open combustion system which allows heated room air to be pulled into the fire, causing it to burn too fast and consequently wasting energy. An insert slows the fire down and increases its temperature to facilitate more complete combustion. As the temperature increases in a room with a fireplace fitted with an insert, the burners decrease their output but still emit a continuous flame.
Many older fireplaces have an efficiency rating of under ten percent. The closed combustion system of fireplace inserts can generate fireplace efficiencies of more than 65 percent, which translates into a far greater energy output.
How Much Do Fireplace Inserts Cost
On average, a fireplace insert will set you back anywhere between about £500 to £2,000, depending on the condition of your chimney and the insert model you choose. Some electric models cost quite a bit less, but they give less heat output than wood or gas fireplace inserts.
Remember that having a fire in your home is like having a silent friend. An insert in your fireplace will make that flame become an even better pal by helping it to be more efficient.