Vent free is not an option with wood, pellet or coal inserts.
Many, but not all, new fireplace inserts are equipped with a blower for even heat
distribution and can be thermostatically controlled. If the blower isn't standard
equipment on a particular model, a blower kit can be purchased separately.
The front of the insert should be sealed with a glass door to make the insert air tight
and maximize fuel efficiency.
Wood and Pellet Fireplace Inserts
Depending on the model purchased, the insert will either fit flush with the fireplace
face brick or protrude onto the hearth. The protruding design is more efficient since it
provides additional radiant heat from the exposed top and sides.
The National Fire Protection Association requires that wood fireplace inserts be
installed with a direct connection between the insert exhaust outlet and nearest
section of flue liner. This allows smoke and gases faster passage and less time to
condense in the flue and form hazardous creosote.
Weighing in at around 400 pounds, it’s no easy task to move the insert when it comes
time to clean the chimney. This in itself is good reason to rely on a professional
Although they’re not easy to find, some fireplace inserts have wheels for easier
moving. You can avoid moving the insert altogether for chimney cleaning if you install a
stainless steel pipe liner from the insert outlet up through the entire chimney.
When you’re pricing fireplace inserts make sure to find out which accessories, such as
blowers, catalytic combustors, or glass doors, are standard or optional equipment.
High Efficiency Fireplace Inserts
New EPA certified wood fireplace inserts are rated 75% efficient and provide the
added benefit of reducing emissions to almost zero. Fireplace inserts are classified by
the fuel they burn and the method of venting. The available fuels are: natural gas,
propane, wood, wood pellets and coal.
Gas Fireplace Inserts
Gas fireplace inserts offer instant heat and ambiance with the push of a button.
There's no fussing with logs, pellets, or other solid fuels which means no ashes or
residue to clean up.
If natural gas is unavailable as a fuel for your fireplace insert, you can purchase an
inexpensive kit to convert natural gas inserts to propane. Also, if you live more than
4,000 feet above sea level, your gas insert will require a smaller orifice jet to
compensate for the lack of oxygen.
Fireplace inserts have four basic venting options: through an existing chimney, direct
vent, b-vent or vent free.
B-vent units draw air from inside the home through ports in the firebox itself. Direct
vent units draw air through a pipe from outside the home into a sealed firebox.
Direct vent models are usually more efficient and safer for today's airtight homes since
they don't use inside air or cause a conflict with range hoods and bathroom fans
circulating the same air. B-vent units are generally less expensive to install, but are
more sensitive to air flow inside the home.
Specially designed to fit
smaller wood burning
fireplaces. No venting
required. Heats 700 sq ft
85% steady state max.
24.125" H x 36" W x
15.25" D Heats 700 sq ft
High efficiency and low
emissions. No catalytic
combustor to replace. Heats
2,000 sq ft. Uses outside
or inside air combustion
High efficiency fireplace
inserts aren’t intended for
whole house heating, but add
supplemental, or zoned, heat to
A fireplace insert is an easy way
to increase the efficiency of your
existing fireplace while at the
same time enhancing its visual
Most older fireplaces are only 5-
10% efficient. This inefficiency is
the result of an open hearth
that produces only slightly more
warm air than it consumes.