Fireplace inserts can reduce heat losses by nearly 65% as compared with standard wood-burning fireplaces. They also reduce the chance of fire damage from sparks or cool burning wood fires that cause more build-up in the chimney.
Designs and functionality are different for a natural gas, wood-burning fireplace or electric fireplaces. Burning options may also include pellets or coal. If you want to use an insert for pellets or coal, you will need to have your chimney inspected by a qualified technician to make certain it is appropriate for burning a fuel other than wood.
A ventless natural gas fireplace insert requires the existing chimney to be closed off, putting an end to the draft that occurs as a result of the direct connection to the outdoors from your home. Ventless inserts can be a very cost-effective way to provide supplemental heat to your home.
Electric inserts can be portable and provide heat without any dangerous buildup found in a wood-burning fireplace, or a loss of heat through an old chimney.
High Efficiency Fireplace Inserts
High efficiency fireplace inserts come with their own ventilation requirements, whether they are fueled by wood or natural gas. These inserts typically require that a stainless steel chimney liner be placed inside of the existing stone or brick chimney to provide temperature-resistant ventilation for the insert. Most fireplace inserts are at least 80% efficient, with some approaching 99%.
Ventless natural gas fireplace inserts are among the most efficient options available as they do not exhaust any air, allowing all of the heat to remain in the room. A disadvantage is any hazardous emissions (such as carbon monoxide) would also remain in the room. It is important to properly size the fireplace, ensure adequate ventilation and install the necessary safety and monitoring equipment if you plan to make use of this type of fireplace insert. Any fireplace inserts should be installed by a qualified technician.