If you want to brighten up your living room as winter approaches, a fireplace insert provides warmth and comfort at a price to suit you.
There’s nothing more cosyand comforting in the freezing winter months than sitting warm and snug infront of a blazing fireplace with your family. Of course, traditional fireplaces have almost become a thing of the past, thanks to the high maintenance and dangers associated with them.
Benefits of installing a fireplace insert
By purchasing and fitting a fireplace insert, however, you’re saving on all the work and hassle of installing and running an older model without losing any of the heat or ambience thatcomes with it. Fireplace inserts are efficient and clean-burning and can be fitted directly into an old masonry or prefabricatedwooden fireplace. Plus there are a range of modern and antique designs for youto choose from, all of which can be tailored to suit the size and shape of yourchosen room. Here a few pointers to help you make certain of pick the perfectfireplace insert for your home:
Different types of fireplace inserts
Wood burning fireplaces
Old, traditional wood burning fireplaces found in large and often historic county houses are usually what people love about the idea of a fireplace in the first place; lounging away a peaceful evening in front of the warm crackling of the orange flames.
Unfortunately such models are extremely inefficient, as they use warm air from the room to continue burning so a large amount of heat escapes through the chimney. Wood burning inserts, however, are made of steel or cast iron, which forms a fireproof container in which the fire can burn.
This allows only minimal smoke to escape, plus the special two pipe ventilation system means air is also drawn in from outdoors rather than in. This improved efficiency also means you won’t have to use as much fuel as you might think.
Gas fireplace inserts
Like a wood burning option, gas fireplace inserts provide that glowing authenticity to a fireplace that adds a touch of luxury to any room in your home. It also operates with a two pipe ventilation system, using one to draw the combusting air in and another to exhaust the waste.
Instead of using natural wood, however, this option uses ventless gas logs (which draw off your main supply) to lend the impression of burning wood; meaning you get the look but avoid any mess afterwards. Gas can be more efficient than burning wood too but make sure you get your chimney lined and insulated properly beforehand; although it costs, it does improve the insert’s efficiency and prevent damage to the internal side of the chimney pipe.
Electric fireplace inserts
An electric insert is easy to use, needing no preparation before you want it on – all you have to do is flick a switch and it gets going! It also proves very efficient, as it takes such a long time to heat to full capacity and results in very little waste energy. The only downside is that it might not provide the rustic and authentic feel you’re looking for.
What fireplace insert designs are there?
All fireplace inserts, whether they burn from gas, wood or electricity, come with specially insulated glass doors to shield the flames. This improves the energy efficiency of thefire, subsequently reducing your heating bills and still allowing you to viewthe warm glow of the flames. Fireplace inserts also offer additional safety against potential burns or smoke inhalation; especially helpful with children or pets around.
There are a variety of styles you can choose for your insert, ranging from chrome or brass to a marble effect, or even a traditional Victorian or Edwardian model. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, some companies even allow you to design the exterior aesthetic of the insert yourself, allowing you to experiment with patterns and colours that will complement the décor of your home.
You can also choose to have a three-pane glass doors option by having your insert jut out slightly from the hearth; this may cost more but will allow heat to be radiated in alldirections around the room. Many models also come with fans or blowers, as well as thermostatic controls to adjust the temperature – some even by remote control.
Green fireplaces inserts tips
Fireplaces and wood stoves present some interesting dilemmas when it comes to going green in your home. While wood is a far more renewable resource than the various forms of fossil fuels used to heat the majority of British homes, burning wood for heat releases higher levels of pollution into the air, can present a serious health risk to homeowners by compromising indoor air quality, and it can be a dramatic source of heat loss in your home. Thus, green fireplaces inserts are rarely wood-burning, while green stoves are primarily concerned with energy-efficiency.
Avoid Wood Burning Fireplaces: According to Johnston, a wood burning fire exhausts as much as 24,000 cubic feet of air per hour out of the chimney, all of which is replaced by cold air from outside that must then be heated by your furnace or boiler. By installing an alternative fireplace insert option, such as a gas fireplace insert, you can eliminate a major source of energy inefficiency in your home.
Look Into Tax Benefits and High-Efficiency Upgrades: Many states offer tax incentives to homeowners who upgrade to high-efficiency units.
High Efficiency = Environmentally Friendly: Fortunately for the environment, a high-efficiency fireplace or stove is also a more environmentally friendly one. High-efficiency models convert a higher percentage of fuel to heat, which in turn creates less exhaust (or smoke) that is released into the atmosphere. Many high-efficiency units also have catalytic converters that further reduce the pollution exhausted into the atmosphere.
How much does a fireplace insert cost?
Fireplace inserts vary considerably in price; simple models can come in at as little as £300 – £400 but to get the best quality it’s recommended you don’t spend anything less than £500 on the complete fittings and installation.
Depending on the size of your fireplace and the designs you choose, this can increase to anything up to £1500 – £2000. But don’t be put off by price – as long as you shop around for the best deal, compare quotes and references and make sure your model comes with a certified warranty or guarantee, a warm and cosy new fireplace insert is sure to prove a worthwhile investment for you and the family as winter approaches.