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  • Writer's pictureHearth and Home

What Is A Fireplace Insert? And How Does It Work?

nordik34i gas insert kozy heat

When the chill of winter sets in and the snow blankets the world outside, there's nothing quite like cozying up to a warm, crackling fire. A fireplace has been a symbol of comfort and hearth for centuries. But have you ever wondered how a fireplace insert can make your home not only cozier but also more energy-efficient? In this post, we'll take a closer look at what a fireplace insert is and how it works its magic to keep you warm and toasty during the cold months.

What Is a Fireplace Insert?

A fireplace insert is essentially a heating appliance that is designed to be inserted into an existing fireplace. It's a clever way to transform your traditional, open-burning fireplace into a more efficient and environmentally friendly heating source. Fireplace inserts come in various sizes, styles, and fuel options, making them a versatile choice for any home.

How Does a Fireplace Insert Work?

One of the key differences between an open fireplace and a fireplace insert is the way they handle heat. Open fireplaces tend to lose a significant amount of heat up the chimney. In contrast, a fireplace insert is designed to contain and distribute heat efficiently. Here's how it works:

Containment: The insert is placed within the existing fireplace, sealing off the open hearth. This containment prevents warm air from escaping up the chimney.

  • Insulation: Many fireplace inserts feature insulation around their fireboxes. This insulation helps to keep the heat inside the insert and radiate it into your home.

  • Blowers and Fans: Some inserts are equipped with blowers or fans that help circulate warm air into the room, increasing the efficiency of heat distribution.

Fuel Options

different fireplace inserts and what they do

Fireplace inserts can be powered by various fuels, including wood, gas, pellets, and even electricity. The choice of fuel depends on your preferences, available resources, and the level of convenience you desire. Here's a brief overview of these fuel options:

  • Wood Inserts: These are perfect for those who love the classic ambiance of a wood-burning fire. They burn wood logs efficiently, offering a traditional and cozy experience. Wood-burning inserts are primarily a manual heating source. They rely on natural convection to distribute heat throughout the room. They do not have electric fans or blowers that require electricity to operate. You can control the heat output by adjusting the airflow through the stove's dampers and vents. One of the best parts about wood inserts is that they do not rely on external utilities, like gas and electric fireplaces. Similar to pellet inserts, they can still operate with a loss of electricity or gas lines. Check out what kind of wood inserts are available at Hearth & Home here.

wood insert burning in basement room with wood stacked next to it

  • Gas Inserts: Gas inserts are heating appliances designed to be installed into an existing wood-burning fireplace or masonry fireplace. They are an excellent choice for homeowners who want to convert their traditional wood-burning fireplaces into more efficient and convenient gas-burning ones. Gas inserts are known for their convenience. They offer instant ignition, precise temperature control, and the option for remote operation. They can run on natural gas or propane. Check out what kind of gas inserts are available at Hearth & Home here.

gas fireplace insert replacement for exisiting wood fireplace

  • Pellet Inserts: Pellet inserts use pellets made from compressed sawdust or wood chips as fuel. They rely on mechanical systems, such as augers and fans, to feed pellets into the combustion chamber and distribute heat. However, most pellet inserts also have backup systems like gravity-fed pellet systems or manual auger controls that allow them to function without electricity. These backup methods may require manual intervention but can keep the stove running. They are highly efficient and produce minimal ash. One of the best parts about pellet inserts is that they do not rely on external utilities, like gas and electric fireplaces. Similar to wood inserts, they can still operate with a loss of electricity or gas lines. Check out what kind of pellet stoves and inserts are available at Hearth & Home here.

pellet fireplace burning and brick surronding

  • Electric Inserts: Electric fireplace inserts are incredibly easy to use. They simulate the look of a real fire with the convenience of simply plugging them in. They usually are not able to recreate similar amounts of heat as their wood and gas counterparts. Electric fireplace inserts can be good for heating a small living space or a singular room, and they should not be used as a primary heating source. Check out what kind of electric fireplaces, log sets, and inserts are available at Hearth & Home here.

electric fireplace insert surronded by brick and wooden mantel

Clean and Efficient Combustion

Fireplace inserts are designed to burn their respective fuels cleanly and efficiently. Modern inserts use advanced combustion technology, such as catalytic converters or secondary burn chambers, to minimize emissions and maximize heat output. This not only benefits the environment but also reduces your heating costs.

Aesthetic Appeal

Apart from their functional benefits, fireplace inserts also enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home. They come in various styles and finishes, allowing you to choose one that complements your decor and personal taste. Some even feature decorative glass doors that provide a stunning view of the fire.


In conclusion, a fireplace insert is a remarkable heating appliance that can transform your traditional fireplace into an energy-efficient and cozy focal point of your home. By containing and distributing heat effectively, offering various fuel options, and ensuring clean combustion, these inserts provide warmth and ambiance while reducing your heating costs and environmental impact. So, when winter arrives, embrace the comfort and efficiency of a fireplace insert, and let it warm your heart and home.

what is a fireplace insert?



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