Reviews of the Best Electric Fireplace Inserts in 2017
For some people, a fireplace is just a heating arrangement made of bricks and stones that keep them warm during the winter days while for some others it is more than just stones and bricks, it is more of a state of the art home décor piece! Historically speaking, a fireplace used to be a domestic necessity used as a heating and cooking arrangement but with time modern fireplaces have come to attach a more sophisticated value to it.
As depicted in many European movies, plays, and stories or even as seen in many of the age-old European households, a fireplace may have a firebox / fire pit, a mantelpiece, a chimney, a smoke chamber, a throat, an over-mantel, a grate and a flue. If you are looking forward to having such magnificence built at your place, you are about to read just the right article!
Looking at the Best Fireplace Inserts Available in the Market
Feeling all full with information? It is time to look at some of the best fireplace inserts available in the market.
Timberwolf Economizer EPA Wood Burning Fireplace Insert
You know what defines a good fireplace? EPA approved fireplace inserts make a good fireplace. And this one right here is just the one, meets all the standards set by EPA.
This insert is super-efficient with an additional feature – a dual-blower which facilitates the warming of your house. It has about 86% energy efficiency and is quite pocket-friendly (both installation and maintenance wise).
Besides the fact that it does carry the traditional feel of a fireplace from the good old days, it also showcases a unique style statement. Being fitted with a cast iron door with flashing this unit has a heating capacity of up to 2,000 square feet and keeps burning for almost as long as 8 hours. Those long hours of service are definitely one feature you want to cherish because it will reduce the amount of seasoned wood you will have to buy per season. What more? This insert has an 18-inch dimension and a heat output capacity of 65,000 BTU’s.
Napoleon Wood Burning Insert
All of you who love the traditional feel, here comes another wood burning fireplace insert model that might as well make you feel the feels!
However, this fireplace insert is a great breakaway from the yesteryear fireplaces in certain of its own ways – firstly, unlike the past fireplaces this one is a lot more spacious and large and also allows a clearer view through the arched cast iron doors.
This fireplace insert comes fitted with complete standards flashing and two extremely quiet heat circulating blowers that warm up the atmosphere real quick. One interesting fact about this insert- it exhibits a 24-karat gold plated cast iron door which is painted black on the top (this is one variation of the model, this model is also available with normal cast iron doors which do cost a little less). It has a heating capacity of about 1,000-2,000 square feet and it has a thermostatic blower system that functions at variable speeds. Approved by the EPA, this fireplace insert might just be the right one for you.
Pleasant Hearth Vent Free Gas Fireplace
Coming over to gas fireplace inserts this is one model that might be the one you are looking for. This gas fireplace is truly a one of a kind masterpiece owing to the features that I have listed here.
The pleasant hearth gas fireplace is bound to make your hearth a pleasant place indeed and will up the class of your room with its rustic feel and warmth and design which is par excellence for a gas fireplace. It can produce up to 20,000 BTU’s (British Thermal Units) which I feel, is more than sufficient to heat a room. For fuel, it makes use of either natural gas or liquid propane, making it a very versatile and popular choice within the community of gas fireplace enthusiasts. To top it all off, it comes with a two-year manufacturing warranty so in case you find a defect, you are guaranteed to get a fresh piece or the service required to fix it. The best in class, this gas fireplace is one epic fireplace indeed.
ProCom Vent Free Gas Fireplace
The masterminds at ProCom came up with a genius vent free gas fireplace and lo, here it is charting to be one of the best fireplace inserts available in the market.
You are bound to fall in love with the statistics – this model here boasts a whopping 32,000 BTU’s (British Thermal Units) of heating capacity that can heat up to a 1,100 square footage.
Quite like its predecessor in this article (the Pleasant Hearth) this model too enables the user to have a versatile fuel choice as it can use either of natural gas or propane. Its large and rustic look gives your room or home a cozy, warm and inviting feel. While it is more expensive than the Pleasant Hearth, the cost factor is quite justified as it offers more fuel efficiency and heat output.
All about Fireplace Inserts
Fireplaces have had a long history. A primitive fireplace of the middle ages was somewhat like a fire pit right in the middle of the ground in a cave or something. With time humans raised hearths, then were added the roof vents and smoke canopies. The problem of the fumes (from the wood burning in the fire pit) prolonged and gave way to the invention of chimneys during the 11th or 12th centuries. Over the time, different ages have fashioned different styles and designs of the fireplace. One such invented design by Joab R. Donaldson of Oliphant furnace in Pennsylvania was the fireplace Insert. One simple idea and it changed the whole scenario of traditional heating methods.
A fireplace insert is nothing but a device that is inserted into an existing masonry or fireplace. However, it is not essentially necessary that a fireplace insert has to be inserted into a fireplace. It is, after all, a self-containing firebox which can cover real wood fires both electric and gas. Fireplace inserts are most commonly made of cast iron or steel with self-cleaning glass doors. The self-cleaning feature makes use of the “air wash” technique in which a forceful stream of clean air is directed across the interior surface of the glass to keep it clean of deposits.
Manufacturers of the modern fireplace inserts add up features to the simplistic design. Features may include fans and thermostatic controls (which depends on the fuel type). A typical fireplace insert has fresh air entering the chamber from the vent present down under. This air circulates inside the main chamber, gets heated up and as expected rises up and exits through the vents present on the top.
Pros and Cons of Owning a Fireplace Insert
Every customer has the right to know what is best suited for them, which is why it is of extreme importance to know about a product’s advantages and disadvantages before you get your hands on one. In most cases, a retailer would want to make you aware of only the positive aspects of the product in order to sell it to you. However, here I am, your friend and guide, allow me to inform you of the various pros and cons of a fireplace insert.
As I mentioned earlier, a fireplace insert may or may not be inserted into a fireplace. The Fireplace Insert in itself is a fire containing box that can be fashioned sans all the fireplace paraphernalia. In case you do want to fit it inside a fireplace, its convenient box-shaped design makes your work easy. Modern designers often bring out sleek fireplace inserts bejeweled with various calibrations that can be hung around as a decorative item. But for those who still want the feel of the olden days, the traditional cuboidal fireplace inserts are available.
Fireplace inserts can prove to be bliss for people who do crave a fireplace yet do not like the rigorous cleanup routine that is associated. Fireplace inserts nowadays do fashion a self-cleanup mechanism like the “air-wash” system I mentioned earlier. Such self-cleaning insulated glass doors allow the flames to be seen while making the fireplace more efficient. Fireplace inserts are a wonderful option for people who have an existing open fireplace since it effectively improves the fuel efficiency and heat output of such fireplaces while giving it an additional attractive casing as well.
Opposed to such a long list of advantages of a fireplace insert there are only a few disadvantages. In comparison to a free standing wood burning stove they are slightly more expensive (installation is expensive, while maintenance costs remain lower or equal at the most). But then again, isn’t absolute perfection a utopian scheme?
Types of Fireplace Inserts
Fireplace inserts are mainly categorized by the type of fuel they make use of which is natural gas or propane or EPA-certified wood, pellet, coal or electric. However, the main two types are gas and wood fireplace inserts. In spite of many available choices many people still like to associate the image of a fireplace or a fireplace insert with only burning wood.
Gas Fireplace Inserts
Installing a gas fireplace insert can be quite a task and hence it is deemed the job of a qualified specialist. A gas fireplace insert is brilliantly fuel efficient as it ensures 100% usage of all the gas. This is made possible due to the use of the catalytic technology that is otherwise used in cars. Such a complete burn out of fuel does not produce many fumes and hence does not need a vent and hence can be termed “fuel-less”. However, there might be some gas fireplace inserts which do not implement this technology and hence the incomplete burning of the fuel may result is heavy fumes which need to be channeled out either through an existing vent or straight out through the wall.
Burning Wood Fireplace Inserts
The most conventional of all is the burning wood fireplace inserts. A traditional fireplace stove or insert would be more suited as a free standing device away from walls as it would dissipate most of the heat to the metal casing which would further it to the walls and up the chimney vent. Placing it in a room makes this type of fireplace inserts highly heat effective as it improves the heat output. A wood burning fireplace insert would also need a vent or a chimney because it produces a lot of smoke and fumes.
It also needs a constant oxygen supply to keep the fuel burning, so a closed wood burning fireplace insert is a far cry. However, advanced technology has made it possible. Such closed wood burning fireplace inserts do have the problem of soot formation over the glass panes, which is why some models do exhibit the “air wash”. That said, not all models fashion the “air wash”, so make sure you check the specifications of the product before you buy it.
The Final Showdown
Still confused? Don’t be. Set your priorities right. Look up the various designs available and choose the one that you like the most. Fireplace inserts were built with a moto to make living easier so do not complicate your life fussing over the various models. There are many varieties and features. The number of permutation combination that is possible might boggle your mind if you come to think of it.
So, instead of looking through the various specifications, try to fix your own priorities and specification that you want in a fireplace insert. Next up, try to search for a fireplace that matches the portfolio you created. Once you have found a suitable model, go for the design and search for the one that you would like to have at your pleasant hearth! Once this job is done you are set for all the winters to come. I hope this extensive study that I presented to you has been able to help you. Happy fireplace insert hunting, au revoir!