Fireplace Wood Insert Benefits

Improve the Heating Efficiency of your Fireplace with a Wood Burning Fireplace Insert

By Mark J. Donovan

Fireplace wood inserts offer numerous benefits. Fireplace wood inserts can transform an energy inefficient fireplace into a regular heating machine. A wood burning fireplace insert can easily be retrofitted into most existing masonry or zero clearance fireplaces. There are also other types of fireplace inserts that can burn fuels such gas, electric, or wood pellets if you are not interested in burning wood.

Though there is little that can beat the feel, sight and sound of a crackling wood fire emanating from a fireplace on a cold winter night, the sad truth is that fireplaces are notoriously energy inefficient.

When a fireplace is not used and if the damper is left open, a significant amount of heat is lost from the home via the chimney. Even when a fire is roaring much of the heat produced by the fire goes up the chimney.

The situation is further exasperated when the outside air temperatures is below freezing. Due to the higher temperature differential between the outside air temperature and the warm house air temperature, warm air is sucked up out of the home even faster. In general, fireplaces are typically only 5 to 10% efficient.

Fireplace wood inserts are specifically designed to improve the efficiency of a fireplace. They are similar in functionality to a wood stove. A wood burning fireplace insert consists of a steel or cast iron fireproof chamber that sits inside the masonry fireplace box.

Typically the front of the fireplace wood insert has insulated glass so that you can view the fire. The closed chamber, or box, acts as a combustion chamber for burning the wood.

The heavy steel or cast iron box also helps to trap the heat and radiate it outwards into the room and home. Some fireplace wood inserts also include thermostatic, variable speed blowers to push the hot air into the house or room.

Fireplace wood inserts can improve a fireplace’s efficiency by up to 10 fold, as wood burning fireplace inserts have heating efficiencies around 50%. Typically you can load a wood fireplace insert up with wood and not have to refill it for at least 4 hours. With larger wood fireplace inserts they can run up to 8 hours without refilling.

Fireplace wood inserts vary in size and heat output, expressed in BTUs (British Thermal Units). The average wood burning fireplace insert can typically heat between 800 and 2,000 square feet of living space and produce 60,000 to 70,000 BTUs.

Stone fireplace with Rumford style firebox.

Fireplace wood inserts can cost upwards of a couple thousand dollars. In addition, they should be installed by a professional and the chimney flue examined to make sure that it can support the wood fireplace insert. This said wood burning fireplace inserts are EPA certified for 30% Federal Tax Credits and dramatically improve your home’s heating efficiency.

So instead of letting your home heat go up the chimney while watching the crackling fireplace, consider installing a fireplace wood insert and reap its benefits. You will still be able to enjoy the beauty and charm of your fireplace, but feel much warmer and save a small fortune in winter home heating bills in the process.

For information on Restoring Baseboard Heating Element Covers, see the Restoring Baseboard Heating Element Covers eBook from The Restoring Baseboard Heating Element Covers Ebook provides easy to understand, step-by-step instructions, on how to restore Baseboard Heating Element Covers so that they look new again. Pictures are included for every key step in the process.

For information on how to maximize a wood stove’s heating efficiency, see’s Installation of Hood over Wood Stove eBook

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