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
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
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 chimney sweep.
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
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 your home.
A fireplace insert is an easy
way to increase the efficiency
of your existing fireplace
while at the same time
enhancing its visual appeal.
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.