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An Overview of Wood Burning Fireplace Inserts

Jul 18, 2008
Wood burning fireplace inserts really enhance the look of your existing fireplace as well as providing you with a cheaper means of heating your home. Nothing beats the sound of a crackling fireplace on a cold winter's night when the wind is howling outside. In addition, a fireplace insert increases the efficiency of your fireplace.

It doesn't matter if your existing fireplace was factory built or if was built by a mason onsite. The inserts you can buy that will enable you to burn wood are made of either cast iron or steel. They have glass doors that allow you to see the fire as it is burning. These doors are also self-cleaning so you won't have any extra work. Many of them also come with fans or thermostats that can control the heat.

All older wood burning fireplaces can benefit from having one of these inserts installed. This is because the traditional method used in older fireplaces was open combustion, which meant that they have very low fuel efficiency. Because of the open combustion, too much air gets into the fireplace and the fire burns very quickly, which in turn uses a lot of wood. When you install a fireplace insert, the closed doors prevent air from reaching the fire and this controls both the fire itself and the heat.

With the many types of fireplace inserts you can choose from, you want to choose one that suits the style of your fireplace. Since these inserts can burn different types of fuel other than wood, you need to consider the fuel in your choice. One of the factors that can help you make this decision is the ready supply of fuel. If you do not have access to a ready supply of wood, then perhaps you are better off choosing an insert that burns gas or propane. A cheaper type of fuel that is now on the market is wood pellets. This fuel is relatively inexpensive and a bag of pellets will last for a full day when you have the fire burning in the fireplace continuously.

The size of the insert depends on the size of the opening in your fireplace. Take the measurements of the opening before you visit a dealer or have a professional come in to take the measurements for you. It is important that you already have an existing fireplace with a working chimney in order to have an insert installed. The fireplace must vent through either a chimney, but if not then it has to be vented through a chimney or directly. If you are using a chimney, you should have it checked out to make sure it is safe and install a liner appropriate to the fuel you intend to burn in the insert. When you purchase the fireplace insert, you will not be permitted to install it yourself. This installation requires the skill of a qualified installation professional.

The benefits of having an insert in your fireplace for burning wood or wood pellets are many. They are clean, convenient and easy to use and will save you money, especially with the rising costs of gas and propane.
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