Fireplace inserts are devices that can be inserted into an existing fireplace for the purpose of increasing heating efficiency. Typically, they are steel chambers with glass doors and contain vents at the bottom and top of the device. Air enters through the bottom vents, heats up as it circulates throughout the main chamber, and then exits out the top vents. Both electric and gas fireplace inserts are available, and the choice between the two is relevant to individual tastes.
Electric fireplace inserts – As with any fireplace insert, these are placed within the existing fireplace opening. Electric fireplace inserts operate by emitting heat, but the emission of heat is done without burning any wood. Though the concept is quite innovative, there are those who take a cynical look at the use of electric fireplace inserts from the standpoint of redundancy. You already have one fireplace, why on earth would you want another one?
One of the chief reasons for purchasing an electric fireplace insert is the clean-up issue. With an electric insert, there really is no clean up to be performed. No wood is burned so there are no ashes or embers to contend with. Additionally, the need for purchasing firewood is non-existent as well as any of the accessories you would need with a wood-burning fireplace. As a result, electric fireplace inserts are extremely cost-effective.
Gas Fireplace Inserts – This type of insert is installed the same way that you would install an electric one, the only difference being the fuel or power source that is used. You are basically inserting this into the existing fireplace area for the purpose of converting from your existing heat source to a gas-burning heat source. These come with either a remote control or a thermostat, and are found in a wide price range.
Gas fireplace inserts (like electric ones) make decorating considerably easier and changing the décor around it is simple. However, the big advantage to a gas fireplace insert is the energy efficiency factor. Where the traditional fireplace is a source or heat loss, this is not the case with either an electric or gas insert. When you compare the impact to your utility bills, it is usually less costly using a gas insert versus an electric one. So there is a lot to be considered.
Overall, whether you choose the electric insert versus the gas one, you will still be afforded a decided advantage over your standard wood-burning fireplace. There are three key advantages of either insert over a wood-burning fireplace:
1. A fireplace insert seals the fireplace opening thoroughly enough so that only a minimum amount of air escapes from the room and goes up the chimney
2. You can control the fire within the insert, therefore ensuring longer burn times
3. It functions in much the same way as a furnace in that it utilizes radiant heat or forced air heating methods or both
The bottom line is that a fireplace insert is a much more efficient and cost-effective method of heating your home in San Diego County. Consider also the aesthetic value in that the insert will convert your existing fireplace into a key attractive focal of the room.