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People love the rustic feel and ambience created by a traditional looking wood burning fireplace insert. Not only do they look stunning in almost any surrounding, but with the rising costs of fuel, they are starting to have a practical financial appeal too.
This is especially true for those who live in rural environments, where firewood is readily available. Still, many people wonder how easy they are to maintain. What size stove do you need?
In this article, we will be answering some of the most common questions about wood burning inserts and we will be reviewing some of the most popular wood burning inserts available. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section below.
*All links above will take you to the latest prices on Amazon.com or you can read our best wood burning fireplace inserts reviews below.
#1 Vogelzang Colonial EPA Wood Stove
It’s a great price comparative to other models that are similar in other stores as elsewhere you could be paying double the price for pretty much the same product or possibly even worse!
The door is more than up to its job which is made out of heavy duty cast iron and ceramic glass for viewing your spectacular fire. It also features a wooden handle which is cool to the touch so that you can open and close it without getting your hand burned.
It’s capable of heating up to 1,800 square feet and that’s more than plenty for most living rooms in the US. Additionally, it meets EPA requirements and the requirements of Washington State of having a low rate of emission at 4.02 grams/hour.
#2 US Stove Certified Wood Burning Fireplace Insert
The surround that’s included is adjustable giving you more ability to fit it into your existing hearth. Whilst it’s not the largest insert available it can fit 18” logs for the burning and it is super fuel efficient and effective at heating your room where similar inserts would see the heat escaping through the chimney.
The interior is lined with firebricks which retains the heat that’s produced by the fire instead of it being lost elsewhere. You can control the main air flow to the fire with the adjustable damper which gives you the ability to manage a comfortable heat output.
The fire also received air through secondary air tubes which come in through the back of the fire, this provides with a constant, smaller supply of air to ensure the fire stays alive regardless of the position of the damper by encouraging secondary combustion.
This works well to make the fuel last longer meaning you won’t have to use as much which in turn, saves you money and fuel in the long run. The door is made from heavy duty cast iron and the handle is a cool to touch stainless steel design whilst air washed ceramic glass grants you a great view of your fire.
#3 Timberwolf Economizer Wood Burning Insert
The blower kit and surrounds are included with this product and also has a fan included but like many products, the default fan may need to be replaced with a better one as it doesn’t perform as well as it could. You can check out our article that gives you a good idea with what to expect from fireplace fans here.
What’s quite a downer about this stove is that, due to its lightweight build (which is a good quality to have) the metals expands and contracts as a result of the heat. This sometimes causes the stove to make banging sounds which can be a bit unsettling.
#4 Sunpentown Pint Heavy-Duty Evaporative Cooler
This is another fireplace insert by Napoleon that’s being sold by Rockford Chimney Supply.
What’s great is they offer free shipping which is always a blessing with such large products.
The heat circulating blower that’s included is described as whisper quiet; it’s not going to disturb the atmosphere that the fire creates with any machine-like noise. This insert is also fully approved by the EPA.
It’s fully capable of heating up to 1,600 square feet which is not as powerful as others featured on this article but still powerful enough for most living rooms and more. The package that you buy here includes everything you need to get the insert installed except form the chimney lining kit that’s sold separately.
The Difference between a Fireplace and a Wood Burning Insert
After looking through the products, you may be somewhat confused, you may have thought you were looking for at open fireplaces rather than inserts and now want to know the difference between the two?
Let’s get some clarification on the matter:
When you think of a fireplace it conjures an image of an opening that’s connected to the chimney which allows for fires to be burned within them. The trouble is, the fire isn’t enclosed this way and it can be physically unsafe whilst allowing carbon monoxide fumes to escape into the room.
That is what is called a masonry fireplace, or an open fireplace.
On the other hand, a fireplace insert is there to replace the open fire and is inserted into the already existing masonry fireplace.
The inserts are usually enclosed and have an exhaust hole in the back or on the top which allows fumes to only pass through the chimney.
They often spruce up the look of a room whilst also providing more safety to the members of the household by keeping the fire enclosed and also ensuring those harmful fumes do not escape into the room.
Why Choose a Wood Burning Fireplace Insert?
Even though having a wood fire in which-ever room you are trying to get warm (usually the living room) adds such a unique and beautiful atmosphere to it, it is not the only reason to go for a wood fire.
Utility bills are on average one the largest house hold expenditures in the US, and the cost of energy is rising every year. What’s even more unfortunate is these increases do not seem to be slowing down anytime soon!
Apart from the rustic charm, burning wood as a fuel is actually cheaper than gas and electricity most of the time. Not only can wood be sourced for less money, it is also more sustainable as trees can be replanted whereas natural gas is finite.
There has been some controversy surrounding the burning of wood for heat and cooking in the past due to carbon dioxide emission beings quite high. However, in recent years, technology has made it more viable for wood burning with the adoption of better filters and the increase in fuel efficiency.
Gas VS Wood Fireplace Inserts
Gas fireplace inserts are more commonly found in households than electric and wood but when you actually take a look at why a wood fireplace could save you more money you may think otherwise.
The fundamental reason why a wood burning fireplace insert will save you money in comparison to a gas and even an electric is because you can physically see how much fuel you are using.
We tend to just switch gas and electric heaters on and leave them without much thought as to how much fuel we are actually consuming.
This visual connection you have to the fuel you are using makes you much more mindful especially if you are paying for and having your wood delivered.
This brings me onto my second point and that’s if you live rurally, having a wood burning fireplace insert is a major advantage to you. Of course, you would need to have access to plenty of trees which you can easily replant. We have a guide on how to source and prepare the best wood to burn in a fireplace.
But if you are able to source your own wood, and replant those trees you are essentially living completely sustainably. You can even get a wood fuelled cooking stove and boiler and you’ll hardly have to rely on electric or gas companies again if at all!
What about Wood Burning Stoves?
Wood burning stoves are just as a viable method for heating a room as a wood burning fireplace insert and they are both as relatively safe as each other because the fire is contained.
Wood Stove Insert Price
One major difference between the two is the price tag, wood burning stoves are in fact quite a bit more affordable than fireplace inserts. This does however depend on your installation needs and how much you’re willing to spend.
Wood Burning Insert Flexibility
The stove is slightly more portable since it can be vented through the wall, you could use it in any room. A fireplace insert on the other hand has to be installed within an already existing hearth that’s the correct size which can sometimes be difficult to get right.
Wood Fireplace Inserts Efficiency
Stoves also typically have a better fuel efficiency than fireplaces. The simple reason is that they tend to use less wood to give the same output of heat at very similar capacities. Again, this does make stoves a superior heating method than fireplaces if you happen to be torn between the two this should be your answer.
Final Thoughts on Wood Burning Inserts
A wood burning fireplace insert is there to replace your existing masonry fire, they are safer, easier to maintain and also cheaper to run than gas and electric fireplaces but they may not necessarily be your best choice as stoves are more affordable and more efficient.
It is not however, just a matter of practically but also of aesthetics and there’s no doubt that the dancing flames within a hearth warming the family on a cold night is a unique experience unmatched by no other, even a stove.
Sometimes using a fire to heat up your home during the cold winter months can cause the air of the property to become dry. This can cause illness as a result as it interferes with the normal function of your respiratory system.
To combat this, people turn to using various kinds of humidifiers to add moisture to the air. Those who have a furnace find that a furnace humidifier is the most effective and easiest to use for the whole home.
About the Author
Dave Miller is a HVAC technician with over 10 years in the industry. Dave created HeatTalk with the ambition for it to become a resource for individuals looking for answers, whether they be a layman, student or a professional.