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Buying Guide

How to Select a Fireplace Insert

Fireplace Insert Sizes
a living area featuring a rectangular fireplace insert
  • Fireplace inserts are not one-size-fits-all. 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. Thermal output is measured in BTUs and most inserts are created to deliver anywhere from 30,000 to 80,000 BTUs each hour. 
  • The larger the room, the more heat you’ll want it the fireplace insert to produce. This is a major factor when choosing the right size fireplace insert.
Fireplace Insert Fuel Types
a fireplace and mantel featuring a wood burning fireplace insert

Fireplace inserts can be powered by many fuel sources. The three most common are electricity, gas and wood and pellet.

Electric fireplace inserts are designed for those who want the look and feel of a real fire without the hassle and cleanup. They are the easiest to operate since there’s no need to worry about permits, venting, airflow or combustion. Simply plug it into an outlet and wait for the heat to radiate throughout your space.

  • Most electric options display flames or an image of heat beaming from blocks of wood for a more realistic-looking presentation. Many people like these for the ease of use and low maintenance design.

Gas fireplace inserts offer the most heat output and require proper venting for safe use. Venting kits are usually available from the insert manufacturer and can help make the installation process easier.

  • There are vent-free options available that are usually made with a non-combustible material like granite, brick or slate. These are great for larger rooms that need an additional heat source, but they must be directly connected to the gas line for operation.

Wood-burning fireplace inserts are ideal for those who appreciate the look and feel of a real, wood-burning fire. These do not require electricity or a live gas line, so it’s a great option for regions prone to winter storms and power outages during the colder months.

  • These inserts require proper ventilation and insulation for optimal use. Using a chimney liner is also recommended for added safety.
Fireplace Insert Benefits
a living room featuring an electric fireplace insert

There are multiple benefits to using a fireplace insert: 

  • Save energy – When you use a fireplace insert, less heat escapes through the chimney and is recirculated back into the room. 
  • Prevent air leaks – Even when the chimney flue is closed, warm air can still escape through the fireplace in cooler months. An insert seals the opening and reduces leaks.
  • Style and design – Sleek, cast iron or steel finishes add a sophisticated touch to your favorite gathering areas.