Wood Stove Inserts
Wood Fireplace Inserts have grown in popularity recently, due to economic uncertainties, higher fuel costs, higher taxes, etc. More and more families are resorting to incorporating a wood-burning appliance to off set the higher heat bill, and lower their expenses at the same time.
The ability to convert and existing wood fireplace into a heat producing, energy efficient device has many advantages. Wood in most areas of the United States is still readily available at an affordable price. Wood heat has the reputation of being the most comfortable form of heat available, drying out the cold damp air of a room into a desert oasis inside your home, the heat from the inserts gives off is radiant heat that will dry the moisture from the room. Often is even recommended to add moisture back into the home to offset the dryness from the stove. Many consumers are attracted to a wood appliance just to have a backup heat source that is not dependant on the power grid, yet adds functionality and can enhance a room, with contemporary styling.
Most inserts not only serve a functional need, but with so many manufactures and designs available it has become possible to enhance the living space where the unit will be installed. Most inserts now incorporate a see thru glass door for viewing the fire, plus a variety of sizes and styles that enhances the ambiance of any room.
The design of a wood fireplace inserts has to be inserted into an existing wood fireplace, which will not require any additional space to be allocated for the appliance. Care must be taken to make sure before you purchase the insert that the unit is of the correct size, and can physically fit into the existing opening. When measuring the opening measure the Height, Width, and Depth. All three dimensions must be considered before purchasing the unit. If the opening is very large, most wood insert have an optional larger surround available to cover up the excess opening. The bigger problem is the smaller fireplaces. Your choices become very limited to what will fit into the given opening. Most of the metal fabricated fireplaces fall into these categories. If your fireplace has wooden siding on the outside of the home or if when you look up inside the fireplace and see a eight or 10 inch round opening where the chimney exhaust the fireplace, you have a manufactured fireplace. There are several inserts built small enough to accommodate this type of fireplace, but you will have to live with less available heat to heat your room, as the firebox of the insert is also very small, and will require frequent reloading of fuel.
Certified or exempt stoves are still a choice in much area. The exempt stove is not as efficient or as clean burning as the more stringent certified stove. They do cost less, which is an appeal to many people however the true cost of buying a stove is not only the cost of the unit, but also the cost to operate the stove. If you buy a car that gets 8 mpg verses a car that get 25 mpg. If you want to save money you would buy the car that gets the higher mpg car than the low mpg car. The same holds true for your stove. Buy the more efficient certified stove and save yourself a lot of money on wood fuel, and as the certified stove is also cleaner burning, there is less pollutants that go into our atmosphere (your neighbors will be happier as well as there is less smoke and smell for them to breath). More and more states are banning the Exempt wood stoves because of the high pollutants that they emit.
Cost you will incur is not limited to just the wood fireplace insert, but also the material needed to install the insert. With the new Certified stoves, it does not always require a full chimney liner system to be install, but a liner is always a better installation. The new certified wood inserts are more energy efficient. Which means to you more heat coming into the home, less heat going up the chimney. If you do not use a chimney liner system there is a high probability that the stove will not draft very well causing smoke to come back into the home. Most chimneys are a lot larger then the exhaust needed to vent the insert. Consequently the chimney never gets hot enough to induce a good draft. A blocking plate will be a minimum installation into masonry chimneys, which is a safe way to install the insert, but that does not solve the draft issue. All metal fireplace chimneys are required by code and testing criteria to be relined with a Stainless Steel pipe by code.
A professional installer normally does installation. The unit needs special equipment just to handle them; Fireplace inserts can weigh anywhere from 350 lbs. to 500 lbs.
An average cost to purchase and install a typical insert is between $2500.00 to $3000.00. It does pay to shop around to get the best price. Many people are purchasing their appliance from the Internet. Be forewarned that you will need to find your own installer; your local hearth dealer will not be your friend, as he did not make any profits from the stove. Normally they will do nothing to help you, but it may possible to save substantial amount of money from the more competitive Internet. Most wood fireplace inserts have no moving parts, so the odd of having warranty issue are much smaller. Most problems that are incurred are with the installation being done incorrectly which is not a warranty issue.