Fireplace vs. Fireplace Insert: What’s the Difference?
Whether you’re a long-time homeowner or recently purchased your first home, if you have a fireplace you’re going to want to use it. However, before you light your next fire, you may want to consider using your fireplace vs a fireplace insert. “What’s the difference,” you ask. Read on to find out.
Defining a fireplace
First, we want to define the specific part of your chimney system known as a fireplace. Take a look at yours right now. Most likely, you noticed a few distinct components. Those are:
• Your mantle;
• Your hearth;
• A set of doors;
• And the spot where you burn wood.
It’s that latter we want to focus on here. This space is called your firebox, though it’s essentially a masonry-based recess everyone refers to as a fireplace. Made of non-combustible materials, your firebox has a flue above it that allows smoke and gasses to vent to the outside. Here is where you place seasoned wood to start a fire either for ambiance or to help keep your living areas warm.
So what’s a fireplace insert?
A fireplace insert is literally what it sounds like: a self-contained unit that you insert into your existing firebox. It replaces your wood-burning fireplace by using the current chimney system, but changes to an alternative fuel source: gas, wood pellets, and even electric.
Fireplace vs fireplace insert: what’s the difference?
When describing both a fireplace and a fireplace insert, we intentionally made it a point to highlight the fuel source for both. That’s the most obvious difference between a fireplace and a fireplace insert. A traditional fireplace is a wood-burning fixture within your home.
However, some types of fireplace inserts will use the same natural heating supply as your home’s furnace. Others will use electric power as the fuel source.
Both a fireplace and a fireplace insert should be inspected by your Burlington Fireplace technician each year. The difference is the focus on annual sweeps will be different. With a wood-burning fireplace, you’ll have a higher risk of creosote buildup and ash debris. With a fireplace insert, keeping the gaskets and valves in working order and clear of dust and rust is the primary cleaning task.
Benefits of an insert
Overall, there is more annual maintenance with a traditional wood-burning fireplace. While all types will require an annual inspection of your outside masonry, cleaning the flue is more involved with a wood-burning fireplace. Both electric and gas-powered fireplace inserts provide a more consistent level of heat.
In addition, when looking at home renovations, a fireplace insert is often a more economical method than overhauling or repairing an existing wood-burning fireplace.
Deciding between a fireplace and a fireplace insert
Which should you use: your fireplace as is or should you consider adding a fireplace insert? Ultimately, the decision is something you’ll want to consult with an expert. They can help you choose which option is better for your home.
Would you like to learn more? Then contact Burlington Fireplace & Solar today by giving our team a call at 262-763-3522. You can also send us a message via our short contact form.