A Step - By - Step Guide To Understanding Fireplace Inserts (2022)

Ready to upgrade your old fireplace to one that is more efficient and convenient? Fireplace inserts are perfect for homeowners who have a traditional fireplace but are looking for something with more features. The options are almost endless. Choose from wood-burning, pellet, gas, or electric models in a range of styles and sizes.

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Superior direct vent gas fireplace

Here's a comprehensive overview of what is available and how to choose the right insert for your home. We'll even cover brand recommendations and maintenance tips.

What is a Fireplace Insert?

A fireplace insert is a closed-combustion firebox that is installed into an existing fireplace to increase efficiency. Inserts are usually designed for existing masonry fireplaces, although some manufactured fireplaces accept inserts. There are several categories to choose from depending on the type of fuel you wish to use.

Inserts are available for burning wood (or wood pellets) or for burning gas. Gas inserts can be direct vent, natural vent or vent-free. Almost all inserts come with a blower, though for some, it is an optional addition.

Note that a prefabricated zero clearance fireplace is not the same as a fireplace insert. Zero clearance fireplaces are meant to be framed into a wall or mantel cabinet. Fireplace inserts require an existing fireplace.

Occasionally, you will find a fireplace insert model that is capable of being installed in either a framed opening or an existing fireplace. However, for our purposes, we will use the term " fireplace insert" to refer only to an appliance that installs within an existing fireplace.

Types of Fireplace Inserts

Fireplace inserts are often categorized by the type of fuel they burn. You can choose from wood burning, pellet, natural gas, propane gas, or electric models. The fuel type determines your venting options, as well as the overall operation of the insert. For gas fireplace inserts, you can choose from vent-free, direct vent, and natural vent options.

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US Stove Corn and Pellet-Burning Fireplace Insert

Fireplace Inserts vs. Traditional Fireplaces

One of the main advantages of fireplace inserts is that they offer better heating efficiency. Traditional, open-faced fireplaces are not very efficient when it comes to heating a room. Fireplace inserts are designed to burn fuel better and maximize the heat that radiates to the room. Less fuel is wasted, and less heat is lost to the chimney.

Their high-efficiency design cuts down on fuel and utility costs. They also offer better air quality because little to no smoke is released back into the room.

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Empire Direct Vent Gas Fireplace Insert

Another bonus is that they do not take up additional floor space. Instead, they upgrade a fireplace you already have. Depending on the type of insert, you can install them almost anywhere. Many models are rated for bedrooms and bathrooms and even mobile homes.Though, there are a few other issues to consider.

For one, the sealed front of the inserts somewhat limits flame visibility. They also require an existing fireplace and tend to be smaller in size. Also, although there are a few more modern styles, most of the options are limited to a traditional aesthetic.

If you want big, open, crackling flames or the ability to put a fireplace anywhere you want, an insert is not the best option. However, fireplace inserts are perfect if you are looking to upgrade your existing fireplace or simply want a replacement that is versatile, low maintenance, and more efficient.

How to Choose the Right Fireplace Insert

There are three main considerations when choosing a fireplace insert: the size of the existing fireplace, the type of fuel you want, and your venting preferences. Once you outline your preferences and limitations in those three categories, you'll have a much clearer idea of what model will work best for you.

Measure the Size of Your Existing Fireplace
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White tape measurer

Start by measuring the dimensions of the existing fireplace. This includes measuring the width and height at both the front and back of the fireplace. Sometimes fireplace openings are tapered, meaning the opening at the front is bigger than the width and height of the back of the fireplace. You'll also need to measure the depth of the fireplace.

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Measuring for a fireplace insert infographic

Fireplace inserts are designed to fit inside a range of fireplace sizes. They come with a metal surround that acts as a frame and covers the gap between the insert and the opening of the fireplace. If the opening is too small, the insert will not fit. If the opening is too large, the surround will not be wide enough to cover the gap between the fireplace insert and the opening of the existing fireplace.

(Video) Troubleshooting Information for Wood Stoves and Fireplace Inserts

Most fireplace inserts are designed for traditional masonry fireplaces (i.e. fireplace openings made out of masonry materials like stone or brick). Finding an insert for a manufactured fireplace is more difficult. Many manufacturers forbid the use of fireplace inserts with their fireplaces, or they limit the inserts to certain approved prefabricated models.

Take note of any other aspects of the existing fireplace. Is it on an outside wall? Does it have a functional chimney? This will help you know your limitations when you move on to the next step of choosing the right fuel.

Choose Your Fuel and Vent Type

Fuel options for your fireplace insert include wood burning, pellet burning, natural or propane gas, and electric. The fuel you use will determine whether you need gas lines or power outlets. It also determines the venting and other installation requirements your insert will need.

Wood Burning Fireplace Inserts

Wood burning fireplace inserts function like a wood stove. They use a flexible or rigid vent liner that routes into the existing chimney. Flexible venting is the most commonly selected method for wood burning inserts and must be a minimum grade of 304 stainless steel, with 316 stainless being preferred.

Flexible liners must meet the requirements of the insert manufacturer and be rated to the UL1777 standard. Typical flexible liner installations will consist of a rigid appliance adapter with a separate or integral gear clamp, the flexible liner itself, a top support plate with clamp, and a cap and storm collar.

The other installation type for wood burning insert venting is rigid liners. While more costly, the rigid liner sections are typically factory insulated and seal very well. The sections will either screw together or utilize a lance and dimple system. Quite literally, think of how a Swiffer mop assembles; you match the two pieces together, slide one into the other and twist to lock it in.

Even if the system does utilize the twist and lock system, at least one screw per section should be used to ensure the liner sections do not separate in the event of a rotation of the liner or, even worse, in the event of a chimney fire.Using a rigid chimney liner is a bit more challenging than a flexible liner, as the excess cannot simply be cut off. Exact measurements for each portion of the liner routing must be taken. The liners must also compensate for offsets, narrow areas, and a specialize termination at the top of the chimney.

To summarize, rigid liner systems require more planning than flexible systems, but they eliminate the need for field installed insulation and are more durable than their flexible counterparts.

Many require a liner for the full length of the chimney. Wood burning fireplace inserts are a good option if you wish to continue using wood for fuel but want a more heat efficient appliance. But, they take more effort to operate and maintain than the other fuel options.

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Napoleon EPA Wood Burning Fireplace Insert

Wood burning stoves and inserts are subject to EPA efficiency standards, unlike a masonry wood burning fireplace. Current EPA regulations specify that stoves must produce less than 2.5 grams of smoke per hour. Unfortunately, there is a slight increase in the cost of the stoves, but the improved efficiency saves money on fuel, making it a trade-off.

While wood stove inserts have an edge on efficiency over wood fireplaces, you can't guarantee that having a wood insert will be more cost efficient. The savings of wood over gas heating can vary. If you buy your firewood in the offseason, you will get lower prices for your wood. If you buy the firewood in the season you need it prices may double.

One of the major disadvantages in wood-burning appliances is the rising costs of operating the appliance. From the cost of the unit itself, which has increased a lot as the overall efficiency rating has changed, rising costs of lumber have changed the overall pricing of owning a wood burning stove.

The cost of a wood-burning fireplace insert, including the purchase of the insert, the installation, and the necessary venting, can run from $3,200 to $10,800, with $4,000 being an average. This range covers both the venting and installation costs, as well as the cost of the inserts themselves.

The lower end of the range assumes that the receiving fireplace is in good condition and that the chimney and fireplace only need a chimney cleaning before installation. The lower end also assumes that the chimney is the correct height, is roughly 15 feet (of 304 flex liner with crimp seams) in length, and will be easily terminated using no custom parts. The higher end of the range assumes that the fireplace and chimney need some maintenance, the termination might need some custom fabrication, and up to 30-35 feet of 316 alloy liner with welded seams for the chimney.

Pellet Stove Inserts

A pellet fireplace insert functions like a pellet stove, burning small compressed pellets of wood biomass as fuel. In addition to a chimney for the flexible vent liner, pellet inserts also require an electrical power source. The electricity used to power fans and pellet feed augers within pellet fireplace inserts offers some automation and control over the heat output of the fire. Thermostatic controls can be set to maintain the desired temperature range.

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Napoleon 45-Inch Black Pellet Stove Insert

Pellet stove inserts use a flexible vent liner that runs from the vent collar on the unit up through the chimney. We recommend installing a cleanout tee near the flue collar of the insert so that you can clean out the liner without taking apart the entire vent structure.

Pellet inserts are easy to operate, but they require more maintenance than gas or electric models. When compared to the cost of a gas system, pellet heating is a fraction of the price. When compared to wood burning, pellet heating is cleaner-burning and far more efficient than wood or gas heating by a mile.

(Video) How to Install a Wood-Burning Fireplace Insert | This Old House

Pellet fuel is manufactured for the intended purpose of providing efficient heating. It is quality controlled and tested, with the final product being prepackaged bags with a label showing precisely what is inside, so pellet fuel does not offer the variables to consider with even the best wood burning practices. A pellet-burning insert utilizes pellets for fuel, fed to the fire by an automatic auger, as such, they do require electricity to operate. Though, some models have a backup battery feature to allow operation in the event of a power outage. Pellets are harder to find than other fuel sources but are becoming a little more common.

With pellet systems, venting is not as simple as taking a rough measurement of the total height of the chimney, ordering more than needed and simply cutting away what isn't used. This type of venting depends on the liner you choose. If you choose to use chimney liner to vent your pellet insert, they are typically approved to use 4" diameter chimney liner that is stainless steel and listed to UL 1777, which is the same listing for liner used when relining a chimney for use with a wood insert.

If you do choose to go this route, it would be pretty straightforward & involve ordering more than needed and cutting away what you do not use. There are no manufacturer-specific liner brands you have to use, so long as the proper diameter is used, the liner is listed to UL 1777 and is constructed of stainless steel.

If you were to choose a Type PL pellet system, there is no flexible stainless steel liner to cut. Type PL venting is offered with flexible stainless sections, but each end of this liner commonly has a twist lock section for connecting to PL venting with these same twist lock connections. This typically 10' section is just meant to pass through the damper and smoke shelf to reach the vertical chimney where rigid twist lock sections extend to the top of the chimney, so pretty accurate measurements are needed. Adjustable lengths are available to accommodate any measurement.

The cost of a pellet-burning fireplace insert, including the purchase of the insert, the installation, and the necessary venting, can run from $5,000 to $6,100. This range is mostly in the installation, due to the electrical needs. The lower end of the range assumes that the existing fireplace and chimney are in good condition and that there is an electrical source nearby. The lower end of the range also assumes that the chimney does not need to be lengthened and that you need only up to a 15 foot run of 3-inch 304 alloy stainless steel chimney liner.

The higher end of the range includes the need for electrical relocation to power the insert, service to the existing fireplace and chimney, and the possibility of an outside air kit to be installed. The higher end of the range also assumes that you would be using up to a 35 foot run of a 4-inch venting system.

Gas Fireplace Inserts

Gas fireplace inserts require a gas line to accept propane or natural gas. If you do not have an existing gas hook up for the fireplace, you will need to hire a professional plumber to run a line for you. Most models also require an electrical power source. Choose from vent-free, direct vent, and natural vent options for venting the appliance.

The cost of a gas fireplace insert, including the purchase of the insert, the installation, and any necessary venting, can run from $3,200 to $6,600. The cost of gas fireplace inserts can vary wildly due to installation costs.

The lower end of the range assumes that your existing fireplace is in good condition, you already have the gas line to your fireplace, and that you are installing a vent-free unit which won't require any venting components. The upper end of the range assumes a direct vent gas insert that will require a co-linear vent system to be installed, possible custom termination flashing or modifications, as well as routing of a gas line from existing gas infrastructure within the home.

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Real Fyre mSeries Direct Vent Gas Fireplace Insert

We recommend getting a price quote to get an estimate for the costs for running a new gas line or having an existing gas line extended. Make sure the insert you use is designed for the type of gas you intend to use.

If you need more information to help you understand the differences between natural gas and propane, click here to read this article. It explains the differences between the two gases, tells which gas is best for certain situations, and describes the process for converting from one gas to the other.

Vent-free gas models do not need outside venting. Instead, they rely on room air for oxygen and vent the tiny amount of smoke they produce back into the room. Vent-free inserts are convenient, but check to make sure they are allowed where you live since they are restricted in some areas. They are also not recommended for anyone with air sensitivities.

Direct vent gas inserts are completely sealed from the room and exchange combustion air through the outdoor venting system. This makes them a good option for anyone especially concerned with air quality since none of the smoke produced ever enters the room. Many direct vent gas fireplace inserts have blowers or electronic ignitions that require electricity. So, be sure to check that you have an outlet nearby if you decide to go with a direct-vent option.

Direct vent gas fireplaces use a rigid coaxial vent pipe that features a small pipe within a larger pipe. The small pipe is responsible for venting the exhaust gases and the larger pipe draws in outside air for combustion.

However, a direct vent gas fireplace insert is designed to vent through the chimney of the existing fireplace. Instead of a rigid coaxial pipe, the inserts use two flexible liners called co-linear vent pipes that run side by side up the chimney. One liner draws in air from outside and the other expels the exhaust gases.

Direct vent inserts are also an excellent choice for customers with homes that have been retrofitted with very tight insulation, resulting in a limited amount of oxygen to supply a naturally drafted system. The combustion chamber is sealed with a solid pane of tempered or ceramic glass and, since all combustion air is drawn in from the outdoors and all combustion gases are exhausted to the outdoors, there is zero air exchange with the home.

So if an existing, leaky hearth is causing heating costs to rise, adding a direct vent gas insert can almost eliminate this headache. Direct vent inserts also release minimal emissions into the atmosphere for those who are environmentally conscious and are safe to install in every state and province. Because many of these systems may be operated with a remote, wall switch or thermostat, they are an excellent choice for customers who want convenience and ease of use.

Unlike direct vent gas inserts, natural vent (b-vent) gas fireplace inserts are not sealed to the room. They require a chimney liner for venting much like a traditional wood burning fireplace. Not all models require an electrical outlet, but always check to make sure you have one if it is needed. These units are mostly used for aesthetics since they have tall, beautiful flames but are not very heat efficient.

(Video) Creating a fire in a fireplace insert by 502 Insights

Electric Fireplace Inserts

Electric fireplace inserts are the most versatile option. They do not require any venting or gas lines and can be installed almost anywhere. The only consideration is the electrical supply. The flame technology of electric models has come a long way in producing a lovely, realistic fire display. The inserts can come with or without a heating component. Click here to learn more detailed information about electric fireplace inserts, including the different types available, the proper ways to install and clean them, and a list of some top manufacturers.

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Dimplex electric fireplace insert

Leading Brands

  • Kingsman - This manufacturer is notable as a pioneer of gas-fueled fireplaces and inserts in the hearth industry. With modern products featuring exclusively gas-fueled operation, Kingsman fireplace inserts offer considerable customization options at a price that many can afford. In many cases, several decorative overlays, surrounds, and media options are available for a single insert, allowing the consumer to tailor the appliance to their exact needs.
  • Napoleon - It's difficult to find a more all-inclusive product line up than Napoleon products. Realizing early on that the best way to build a strong company was to build something for everyone, Napoleon offers inserts in wood burning, gas, electric, and pellet fueled models. All of their models are built to high standards and are constantly evolving and improving based on real-world needs.
  • Quadra-Fire - A long-time manufacturer of high-quality hearth products, Quadra-Fire offers consumers a limited, but handsome looking assortment of wood, gas, and pellet fueled inserts. Their products are timeless and built to a level of quality that makes them stand out.
  • Dimplex - Unmatched in quality or variety, Dimplex manufactures one of the widest range of electric fireplaces and inserts in the industry. Well-known as an early player in electric fireplace technology, Dimplex continues to lead the industry in electric flame realism. They offer a range of products that can be installed like an insert, giving consumers an alternative to gas and wood-fired options.
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Types of fireplace inserts infographic

How to Install Fireplace Inserts

There are four basic phases of any fireplace insert installation. The first is the planning stage, which involves finding the right model and planning out the installation. The next stage is the prep work to prepare the existing fireplace for the insert. The last two stages are installation and inspection, which involve installing the insert and testing it to make sure it works properly.

Phase I: Planning
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Two male contractors at an installation site

As mentioned in the section on choosing the right insert, finding an appropriately sized unit is key. Depending on the type of fuel you choose, fireplace inserts are designed to fit a range of openings. Whether you choose to install yours into the opening of existing fireplaces or an opening in a framed wall structure, measure the installation location carefully and double-check that the unit you buy will fit. Once you decide on your fuel preference and size limitations, you can begin planning for the venting components and provisions for a gas line installation.

We recommend hiring a professional to run gas lines or install electrical outlets. Ideally, the electrician will install a recessed outlet behind the fireplace insert. This keeps any cords from trailing out from the unit to nearby power outlets. It's usually best to have a power supply on a dedicated circuit, but this is somewhat dependent on the type of appliance.

Purchase all the appropriate venting components, including chimney liners. If you are converting from one fuel supply to the other, buy the conversion parts you will need.

Phase II: Prep Work
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Fireplace prep for insert installation

The prep work involves any fuel conversion and preparation of the existing fireplace. If the fireplace has a damper, you will likely need to remove it to make room for the chimney liner. Masonry fireplace openings often have rough edges that must be smoothed so the surround of the insert can sit flush against the front of the fireplace.

If the fireplace is stone or brick, the edges can be smoothed with a grinder. Don't use a grinder on material that shatters easily (such as slate). Instead, screed a small layer of cement around the opening to create a smooth edge.

Wood to Gas Conversion

Have a plumber install a gas line for the new fireplace insert. The components required for fireplace inserts are slightly different depending on whether they use natural gas or propane. Make sure the model you buy is rated for the type of gas you intend to use. You will likely need a 120-volt power supply as well.

Always read your owner's manual for details on your specific model. The manufacturer will specify what the appliance requires in terms of the power supply, installation restrictions, and maintenance.

Gas to Wood (or Pellet) Conversion

Remove the gas log lighter and seal the gas supply line. This must be done properly to ensure safety. We recommend hiring a professional plumber to remove gas components and seal the gas lines. You will also need to remove the chimney damper and make sure that there is sufficient venting for the wood-burning fire.

A wood stove insert may or may not need a power supply. But, all pellet stove inserts require a power supply to run the fuel auger and blowers.

Wood or Gas to Electric Conversion

Electric fireplace inserts do not need venting, so close off the chimney flue and damper. Remove any gas lighter or log sets and properly seal off the gas lines. Hire an electrician to install a recessed outlet behind the electric insert to keep the cords hidden. If a recessed outlet is not an option, you can use a nearby outlet.

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Coverting fuel for fireplace inserts infographic
Phase III: Installation
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Two men delivering a shipment

Many fireplace inserts are heavy, so enlist extra help lifting the unit into place. Start by assembling the venting. Hook up any gas lines or power supply to the unit. Fit the insert into place and use the included hardware to mount the surround around the unit. The surround should sit flush to the opening of the fireplace. Don't forget to add new veneer facing around the perimeter of your fireplace opening if the old one no longer works!

(Video) Fireplace insert instructions 2

Just make sure to read the instructions for your unit before starting the installation. Depending on the type of model, there may be slight variations in the installation.

Phase IV: Inspection
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Gas pressure meter

Inspection is a critical part of ensuring the safety of your new fireplace insert. We'll go over inspection tips for each of the main categories of fireplace inserts. If you have any concerns about how your fireplace insert is operating, do not hesitate to call the manufacturer or one of our NFI Certified technicians.

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Phases of fireplace insert installation infographic

How to Inspect a Fireplace Insert

  • Start the initial kindling fire and watch to see that smoke is drawn to the vent liner and does not spill into the room.
  • Once fuel logs are added and burning, close the door. Verify that you can control the rate of the burn by adjusting the air control handle between the high and low burn settings.
  • During operation, inspect for smoke leaks around the door gasket. Check that the doors close and latch properly.
  • If equipped with an outside air kit, test to see if it operates as it should.
  • Complete an external inspection of the chimney to make sure smoke is exiting properly and not pooling at the chimney termination.

How To Inspect Pellet Stove Inserts

  • When first starting the unit, test the control board to see if the system responds properly.
  • Listen to the pellet feed auger. It should sound relatively quiet and consistent.
  • Check that the auger is dropping a metered amount of pellets into the burn pot. It should not be over or under-filling the burn pot.
  • Monitor the burn pot to see if the igniter is lighting the pellets and combustion air is helping them burn evenly.
  • Watch for any smoke leaks from the glass front or the back of the unit.
  • Verify that the convection blower cycles on when it should and that heat is being emitted into the room. If the fan has a manual adjustment, check that all the speed settings work.
  • There should not be any smoke smell in the home when the unit is operating.

How To Inspect Vented Gas Fireplace Inserts

  • During initial use, check that the pilot light ignites and remains stable prior to igniting the main burner.
  • Monitor the main burner ignition. The sequence should be controlled and not sudden or violent.
  • Watch the flame pattern. Look for burner ports with no flame or overly sooty or blue flames. If the flame pattern appears incorrect, verify the air shutter is set properly. (The manufacturer will have instructions for these adjustments.)
  • If equipped with a fan, test the fan to ensure it cycles as it should.
  • Gas appliances release an odor that smells like burning paint when they are first used. Odd smells should not linger after the unit has been used for more than 4 hours.

How To Inspect Vent-Free Gas Fireplace Inserts

  • Vent-free gas models follow the same inspection rules as vented gas models.
  • However, there is an additional step. You'll need to check that the flame is not being blocked by a log and that there are no acrid odors emitting from the unit.

How To Inspect Electric Fireplace Inserts

  • Inspect the unit to see that the backlighting and other lighting features work.
  • Verify the heating element operates and the fan-forced heat can be felt in the room (if applicable).
  • Listen for odd sounds such as clicking or grinding.
  • An odor of hot metal will be present initially but should dissipate within an hour.
  • Verify the remote and other controls all function as designed.

Fireplace Insert Maintenance Tips

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Vacuuming the firebox with a brush hose

The owner's manual will contain specific instructions for the care and maintenance of your specific model. Wood and pellet fireplace inserts require the most frequent maintenance. Gas and electric models are easier to maintain but should still be cleaned and inspected regularly.

Wood and Pellet

Always use the proper fuel for wood or pellet stoves. Do not burn trash or any unauthorized fuel since this can lead to harmful creosote buildup. Clean out the ash regularly according to the instructions. Schedule a yearly inspection to make sure all of the components are working safely.

If you installed a cleanout tee on your pellet insert, it should be easier to periodically sweep out the vent liner. Simply remove the surround and gently pull the unit forward. Detach the cover of the cleanout tee to sweep the liner.

Vented and Vent-Free Gas Models

Make sure to have the unit inspected each year by a certified professional to make sure everything is in working order. Periodically vacuum the components to prevent dust buildup. Do this gently so you don't damage any parts. The glass can be cleaned with a soft cloth and a water-based cleanser.

Electric Models

Electric models require the least amount of maintenance. Keep an eye on the electrical wires to make sure they are not frayed or chewed. This is especially important if you have rodents near your area. Vacuum the unit to prevent dust from building up on the fan or other components. You can wipe down the glass periodically.


Small, lightweight fireplace inserts are capable of being shipped via small parcel post. Larger units will require LTL carrier shipping. Always inspect the unit as soon as it arrives to check for any damage or missing parts. Contact the manufacturer immediately if you notice anything amiss.


Fireplace inserts breathe new life into old, inefficient fireplaces. Whether you opt for wood-burning, gas, or electric, you can find a model that fits your space and meets your needs. The range of options for fireplace inserts is quite broad. So, focus on your main priorities for your space to help you narrow down what will be the best option.

As always, reach out to us with any questions! Our NFI Certified Technicians are available to help!


How do I choose a fireplace insert? ›

Fireplace Insert Sizes

They must be the right dimensions for your particular space, so measure the height, width and depth of your fireplace from the back wall to the front opening. Use those specs to ensure a proper fit. Additionally, the insert needs to produce the right amount of heat for your room.

What is the difference between a fireplace and an insert? ›

Differentiating Wood Fireplaces & Wood Inserts

If there are gaps and the existence of a stone/masonry encasing it is an insert. If there are no gaps and the fireplace is built into the wall, it is a fireplace.

How does a wood-burning fireplace insert work? ›

A wood-burning fireplace insert consists of a metal firebox installed inside your existing fireplace. Fuel is loaded into the firebox through a pair of doors that face toward the interior of the room. Oxygen for the fire is supplied through vents located below the doors or on the sides of the insert.

What do I need to know about fireplace inserts? ›

Fireplace Insert Installation

Measurements should include the height and width of the front opening of your fireplace, the depth of your fireplace, and the height and width of the back wall of your fireplace. Knowing these measurements can help you to choose a fireplace that will fit in your firebox.

What is the best type of fireplace insert? ›

Electric inserts are your best bet. The flame-free inserts are safe and simple to install with a plug-in design that washes the room with cozy warmth and the glow of (faux) flames and embers.

What is the metal box in my fireplace? ›

What is a fireplace insert or box? A fireplace insert is a fireproof box that is surrounded by steel or cast iron. It can also be fronted by insulated glass. Steel or cast iron help trap heat where as some have blowers that push the hot air back into a room through vents.

Why does my fireplace have a thermocouple and a thermopile? ›

Gas fireplaces and fireplace inserts use thermocouples and thermopiles primarily to generate electricity. When turned on, the pilot in a gas stove generates heat, which travels through a thermocouple. As the heat reaches the second junction of the thermocouple, it generates electrical voltage.

Do you need a grate in a fireplace insert? ›

Does A Fireplace Insert Need A Grate? A wood burning fireplace insert will not typically need a fireplace grate, but should be confirmed with the manufacturer of the insert prior to doing so. Firewood can burn best when sat on a layer of ash, and a grate can take up important space within a fireplace insert.

Is fireplace insert better than regular fireplace? ›

No question about it – a roaring fire with crackling logs in a traditional masonry fireplace provides a visual that's hard to beat. But a wood insert will give you essentially the same thing. Wood inserts use real wood logs and burn real fire – they just do it more efficiently.

Can you take out a fireplace insert? ›

Since the wood-burning insert is only attached with caulking and bolts, you should be able to remove these and pull out the insert on your own. The moment you get into removing additional pieces, such as the chimney liner or the firebox, it's best to call in a professional.

How do you start a fire in a wood burning fireplace insert? ›

Place the kindling in the firebox, scatter crumpled newspapers throughout, then use extra-long fireplace matches to light the newspapers. “Once the kindling burns down, put smaller pieces of wood on the fire, then start adding a few larger pieces,” he explains.

How do you use a wood insert? ›

How to Operate Your Wood Stove More Efficiently - YouTube

What should I look for in a wood burning insert? ›

The main things to look for when buying a wood stove are:
  1. Wood burning, multi fuel or pellet stove.
  2. Freestanding or insert.
  3. Steel or cast iron body.
  4. Size & heat output.
  5. Efficiency.
  6. EPA Certified or DEFRA Approved.
  7. Catalytic & non-catalytic.
  8. Airwash.
Jan 27, 2020

How long does a fireplace insert last? ›

A wood-burning fireplace insert needs to last a minimum of 10 years, and it will experience considerable heat stress.

How much heat does a fireplace insert produce? ›

The heat output of a fireplace insert is measured in British thermal units (BTUs). A fireplace insert with a low heat output typically produces around 30,000 BTUs per hour. A fireplace insert with a high heat output can produce as much as 85,000 BTUs per hour.

What's the most efficient fireplace insert? ›

The 10 Best Fireplace Inserts
ProductForbes Advisor Rating
Classic Flame 23” 3D Infrared Quartz Electric Fireplace Insert4.1
Vogelzang Plate Steel Wood Burning Insert with Blower - 69,000 BTU4.1
Home Decorators Collection Brindle Flame 20 in. Candle Electric Fireplace Insert with Infrared Heater in Black4.0
1 more row
Jul 13, 2022

What is the average cost of a fireplace insert? ›

Table of Contents
Average Gas Fireplace Insert Cost
Average Cost$2,000
Highest Cost$6,000+
Lowest Cost$1,000
Dec 22, 2021

Does fireplace insert need chimney liner? ›

When installing a fireplace insert in your existing fireplace it is now required that you install a chimney liner system to vent the appliance. In addition to your installation being compliant with local code, there are many other benefits to installing a stainless steel chimney liner.

Can you put a fireplace insert in an existing fireplace? ›

Professionals can install a fireplace insert into your existing fireplace with a masonry chimney. This not only enhances the beauty and performance of your fireplace but also allowing you to enjoy the warmth of a clean, safe fireplace from within your home.

Are fireplace inserts worth the money? ›

Studies have shown that as much as 95 percent of the residual heat in a traditional wood fireplace is expelled outside. A wood-burning fireplace insert offers a slower, more efficient burn rate providing up to five hours of uninterrupted heat. It consumes less fuel and has heating efficiencies of 80+ percent!

What is the standard size of a fireplace insert? ›

Most fireplaces are 42 inches wide, while some smaller fireplaces can have as little as a width of 36 inches. Some somewhat bigger fireplaces can even be 48 inches wide. With the height, generally, a mantle should at least be 12 inches above the opening.

What should I look for when buying a gas fireplace insert? ›

How to Buy a Gas Fireplace Insert | Regency Buyer's Guide - YouTube


1. Starting a Fire in a Catalytic Insert | Fireside Tips | Regency Cascades Series
(Regency Fireplace Products)
2. Millivolt Pilot Lighting Instruction for Fireplace Xtrordinair Gas Inserts and Fireplaces
(Fireplace Xtrordinair)
3. Wood Burning Stove & Fireplace Insert - Atlanta: How to start a fire in your wood stove.
(The Fireplace Place)
4. Our Montlake 230 fireplace insert
(The Thrifty Suburbanite)
5. Quadra-Fire Pellet Stove Video Manual - 1100-I Insert, 1000 Classic, 800 Nova
(Sir Mix-A-Lot Rare Music)
6. Wood Burning Fireplace Inserts
(The Fireplace Place)

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