What are fireplace inserts?
What is a fireplace insert? A fireplace insert is a fireproof metal housing box with an insulated glass front, which makes it a closed combustion system, and that is installed into an existing masonry fireplace. Fireplace inserts are available in Wood or Gas (Natural Gas or Liquid Propane).
Why should I install an Insert? There are several reasons as to why you may want to install an insert. First, as opposed to masonry fireplaces that generally pull heat into the fireplace and up the chimney, inserts are a great heat source for your home. Masonry fireplaces are used mainly for creating an ambience in your home. Most inserts today come with an optional blower on them which will also help spread heat around your home. Second, in comparison to masonry fireplaces which are vented up a clay liner, gas and wood inserts are installed with a new stainless or aluminum venting system (depending on if the fireplace insert is wood or gas). Over time, the existing clay flue lining in a masonry fireplace tends to crack or flake, which is a danger to your home.
Wood burning inserts are a great option for someone who likes to burn wood, enjoys the ambience of a traditional wood fire, and wants more efficiency than a traditional open-hearth masonry fireplace. All wood burning inserts on the market are regulated by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, which means they must meet certain criteria for emissions and efficiency to be considered a heating appliance. So, when you are purchasing a wood burning insert and with efficiency in mind, look for the EPA 2020 certification, and you will know that is an efficient, clean burning fireplace.
Wood burning inserts are connected to a stainless-steel liner that runs the entire length of your chimney. The stainless-steel liner connects to the top of your insert through your fireplace and also connects to a sealed top plate and rain cap system on the top of your chimney. Lakeview’s stainless-steel liners come with a lifetime warranty, so as long as you have your fireplace annually serviced (which includes an annual chimney sweep by a Certified Chimney Sweep), you can rest assured knowing your liner is safe.
Gas (Natural or Liquid Propane) direct-vent fireplace inserts are connected to a dual aluminum chimney liner system that goes up the entire length of the chimney. One liner brings in fresh air to the insert, and the other liner allows the exhaust to safely exit the system. Like the wood burning insert system, the gas insert system’s liner connects to sealed top plate/rain cap system on top of the chimney. Gas fireplace inserts are great back up heat sources for your home, as they do not require electricity to operate. The ignition is powered by standard household batteries. If you were to lose power, the only things that will not continue working on the system are the blower and the lights (if your insert has these options). If your gas insert is equipped with a thermostat (most remote controls have thermostat capabilities), you can keep it set to a low temperature, and if your heat goes out when you are not around, it will automatically turn on and could potentially keep your house from freezing.
What is the process of installing a fireplace insert? If your insert is gas, we would coordinate a plumber to run a gas line over to your fireplace and an electrician to run power (the power is for the fan and lights – if your insert is equipped). Installing an insert is usually a one-day project. We first lay down floor protection in the area we are working. Next, we will clean the existing clay liner if there is creosote in there. Then we install the necessary liner system, which includes the top plate and rain cap which covers the top of the clay flue and the flexible liner which we drop down the clay flue. Next, we bring the insert into the home with our electric dolly and slide the insert into the existing masonry fireplace opening. Finally, we attach the liner that we dropped down the clay flue to the top of the insert, and then install the metal surround (the piece which covers the area between the insert and the fireplace facing). Once everything is installed, we will then go over the process of using the insert with the homeowner and answer any questions that they might have. If it is a gas insert, the firebox panels, log sets, and embers are set up, and the unit is fired up to ensure proper operation.
Inserts are becoming an increasingly popular option the more that people are aware of this heating alternative. Every year, our installation number at Lakeview increases. Many people do not enjoy the amount of work involved with burning wood (cutting, splitting, hauling, and stacking), so they choose gas inserts that are extremely convenient and can be turned on and adjusted with a wireless remote. For those that love the feel and noise of a traditional wood burning fire, the wood inserts are a great choice. They are clean burning, have great heat output (which will cut down the heating bill in the winter), and they have glass doors on them so you can still see your fire like the masonry fireplaces. Also, inserts are a great way to add a new look to any home, and with so many options out there, you can pick the one that feels right in your home. With so many options in gas and wood burning inserts, you can pick the one that fits your house and your needs perfectly. Whether you’re searching for a traditional/rustic or a modern/contemporary look, we guarantee there is a fireplace insert that will fit your needs.