The Benefits of Wood Burning Inserts
A wood insert is an appliance that can be added to your existing masonry fireplace, and is traditionally installed when the existing fireplace is not working efficiently or economically. In many cases, traditional masonry fireplaces let a large percentage of the heat produced escape from the home. With a wood insert, you can still enjoy the look and crackle of a wood-burning fireplace, with a higher retention of heat.
The heat produced by a wood burning insert is known as “radiant heat”, and is a result of the insert’s cast iron construction. The heat absorbed by the cast iron is radiated back into the room, resulting in a quicker, higher heat-output.
Unlike a traditional wood fireplace, a wood insert uses a blower or fan to push the radiant heat into the room. If the floor layout is conducive to air flow, an insert could heat a large portion of the house. However, if the layout doesn’t allow for this, you will feel most of the wood insert’s heating benefits in the room in which it is located.
In addition to being highly-efficient, some wood burning inserts can run independently of utilities. This can be particularly useful in the event that your home loses power. However, not all inserts work well without electricity (because of the blower), so if this is a selling point for you, be sure to refer to the manufacturer for details before purchasing.
When a wood insert is installed in an existing fireplace, the entire chimney system must be thoroughly inspected for functionality, safety, and compatibility. Many chimney sweep professionals will use a video scanner to get a 360 degree visual on the inside of the chimney system. Using this technology, they can be sure that the chimney system is ready to work with a wood insert, and make the required repairs or flue changes if it is not.
Once the chimney system is inspected for damage or flaws and is cleared for use, the chimney sweep professional can begin installation. It is important that you have your wood insert professionally installed by someone with experience. If an insert is installed improperly or installed with a flue that is not properly sized, you will have problems with smoke and insert-efficiency which can easily be avoided by hiring a professional.
When installed by a professional with experience, a wood insert can be a wonderful, cost-effective alternative to a traditional wood-burning fireplace. Unfortunately, we find that most inserts are not installed with the properly sized flue, which leads to the production of massive amounts of creosote and smoke. This is not only a health and inefficiency hazard, it is a serious fire hazard!
For More information go to the Chimney Institute of America.
Don’t put your family’s health and safety on the line. Call the professionals and make sure that your insert is installed properly and according to code!