Having a roaring fireplace during a cold winter's day is an excellent way to warm up or keep the living or bedroom cozy. It can also lend a romantic ambiance to a date or the celebration of a special anniversary. If you have an older fireplace, then buying the best wood burning fireplace insert may be the right solution for refurbishing your fireplace quickly.
DIMENSIONS OF INSERT
32 H x 42-inches W
11, 500 up to 70,000 BTUs
2,000 square feet
From about $2,600 to $3,000
21 1/2 H x 24 1/8 W x 22-inches D
Up to 65,000 BTUs
1,600 square feet
Around $1,600 to $2,100
31 3/4 H x 44 7/16-inches W
Up to 65,000 BTUs
800 to 2,000 square feet
21 1/2 H x 25 W x 15 1/2-inches D
Up to 76,000 BTUs
1,200 to 2,200 square feet
Under $2,200 to around $2,500
2 3/4 H x 30 1/2 W x 14 3/4-inches D
Up to 79,000 BTUs
Around 2,200 square feet
From under $2,200 to $2,500
Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about wood burning inserts.
A fireplace insert fits into an existing fireplace, whether it is brick or there is only a chimney without a fireplace.
Fireplace inserts can burn one of three fuels: wood, wood pellets, or gas. They install quickly and easily because they fit inside of an open fireplace, but first, it is vital that you make sure the flue works, and the chimney has a good lining.
Many inserts include a chimney lining, so carefully read the information to save some money when you buy one. Also, it only costs about $150 to $165 to have professionals install an insert, which may include capping off a gas line and removing the damper or some bricks to fit the vent tube.
Wood burning inserts have heavy duty doors that can protect the house from sparks or exploding wood when the fire is burning, so they are safer than using an open fireplace. They are also more energy efficient than open fireplaces due to their construction and, as a result, you’ll save money on your energy bills by installing and using one.
Many people install inserts because their brick fireplace needs repairs or replacing. If there are cracks in the fireplace, then they can be filled cheaply. It only costs about $200 to fix the cracks. However, if the fireplace needs repairs or replacing, it can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 depending on what needs repairing.
Wood burning inserts are available for purchase at some home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s, at stores that sell fireplace accessories, inserts, wall-mounted or electric fireplaces, and online from eBay, Amazon, and websites that specialize in fireplaces and fireplace supplies.
To find the best fireplace insert, we researched them to find the best brands and the sizes in which they are available. We also discovered how much square footage they can heat, and we read both reviews and testimonials from homeowners who own them. Then, after reviewing the information, we came up with this list of the best fireplace inserts.
The price of an insert depends on the size that the homeowner needs and its options. An insert that can heat between 1,000 to 3,000 square feet can cost between $2,000 to $4,000.
This list of fireplace inserts is some of the best we found during our research.
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A fireplace insert can make a brick fireplace more efficient when trying to add warmth to your home.
This Napoleon 1402 insert burns either wood logs or pellets for fuel to provide warmth for a living or bedroom that have a brick or rock fireplace. Most fireplaces are inefficient because the heat goes up through the chimney and never goes where it’s needed, into the room.
The insert controls the disbursement of the heat with air blowers, and this Napoleon model has two fans that run quietly so that you could talk on the phone without disruption. The insert, along with the flashing, is black with black, almond, or green porcelain enamel finishes, and the top of the cast iron door looks elegant with its arched design. It has a shelf above the door for a tea kettle or Dutch oven.
The door has a full-view glass window that adds ambiance to the room. The insert, along with the flashing and trim measures 32 H x 42-inches W. The insert can put out about 11, 500 to 14, 500 BTUs, at high burn it can be as high as 70,000 BTUs, which is enough to heat rooms of 2,000 square feet. This insert is not suitable for a mobile home, and it needs a chimney liner.
Fireplace inserts are available online from eBay, Amazon, and the eFireplaceStore.com. It’s also available at brick and mortar retailers specializing in the sale of fireplaces, fireplace supplies, and accessories.
Limited Lifetime Warranty
The Osburn company not only specializes in wood burning inserts, but they also make woodstoves.
This Osburn 1600 wood burning firebox is an efficient way to use your home’s fireplace. It fits into an opening in a brick or stone fireplace measuring 21 3/4 H x 26W x 14 ½-inches D. The over dimensions of the insert are: 21 1/2 H x 24 1/8 W x 22-inches D. It has a black metallic finish with a door made from cast iron.
The door has an adjustable handle with full-view glass with a system that can clean itself. There is also a blower that helps distribute the fire’s heat into the room, rather than up the chimney. It uses wood logs or pellets for fuel, but the logs can only be a maximum of 17-inches in length. The unit puts out up to 65,000 BTUs to heat a room that’s up to 1,600 square feet.
The six-inch vent pipe the unit needs is available separately, as is a door overlay, face place kit and faceplate trim. These items should be available from the retailer from where the customer purchases the insert.
This fireplace insert is available from eBay, Amazon, Osburnwoodstoves.com, and eFireplaceStore.com and offline from fireplace and fireplace supply retailers.
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The Timberwolf Economizer is on the list as the best wood burning fireplace insert, and it's from the Napoleon company.
This fireplace insert comes with the flashing, so it measures 31 3/4 H x 44 7/16-inches W. It has a black metal box with a black cast iron door. The flashing is adjustable at 1/4-inch increments to provide a minimum hearth depth of 14-inches. It fits in a fireplace opening of 22 H x 25 7/8 W x 14-inches D.
The insert has two blowers that circulate heat for about 800 to 2,000 square feet, and they both have automatic thermodiscs with speed control to make the room more comfortable during cold weather. It has a heat output of up to 65,000 BTUs. The door has a large ceramic glass opening that allows you to check on the fire safely.
The insert has approval from the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA. The firebox has a full refractory lining, and it fits logs up to 18-inches long. This insert will need a vent pipe with a six-inch opening.
This insert is available from eBay, Amazon, eFireplaceStore.com, and individual fireplace and fireplace supply retailers offline.
Limited Lifetime Warranty
This fireplace insert provides an efficient way to make your home cozy during a wintry or early spring day.
The IronStrike Montlake 230 insert can convert masonry fireplaces into a clean-burning, efficient wood burning fireplace. It is from IronStrike's Country Collection so that it would fit well in any home with a country décor and an empty fireplace. The insert consists of heavy gauge steel, a cast iron heat exchanger, and high-density firebricks that retain heat for more efficiency.
It has one blower with variable speeds that delivers the heat from the insert into the room. The Montlake provides up to 76,000 BTUs that can warm areas measuring about 1,200 to 2,200 square feet to keep family rooms warm on even the most bitter winter evenings. Buyers can choose a top warming area that is heavy gauge steel or cast iron.
There are also door options that can give the fireplace insert a decorative look. Buyers can choose nickel or brushed nickel door trim instead of black. The insert fits fireplaces as large as 21 1/2 H x 25 W x 15 1/2 -inches D, which can fit logs that are a maximum of 18-inches long. The door has ceramic glass that provides a full view of the interior, and it has an air wash system that keeps it clean.
The IronStrike Montlake 230 is available from eBay, firesideonline.com, and both online and offline retailers specializing in fireplaces and fireplace supplies.
Limited Lifetime Warranty
If the fireplace in your house doesn’t see much use because it doesn't provide enough heat, then this IronStrike insert can improve its efficiency.
With most fireplaces, the heat doesn't disperse well if there isn't a blower because it will go up the chimney. You'll end up spending more money on burning wood or pellets, and you'll still need to use the central heat to stay warm. However, fireplace inserts fit into most fireplaces snugly, and they have an enclosed design, with a blower, to distribute the heat evenly.
The Legacy puts out as much as 79,000 BTUs, which is more than most other insert models. The blower disperses the hot air from the firebox, and the sealed doorway, plus the afterburner tubes that create a secondary burn, makes for a very efficient, energy-saving fireplace. The insert can fit into fireplaces that are 22 3/4 H x 30 1/2 W x 14 3/4-inches D, which can hold logs up 22 1/2-inches long.
This unit can provide heat for areas as large as 2,200 square feet. The glass on the door offers an open view of the fire, and an air wash system keeps it clean. IronStrike has options for making the insert more aesthetically pleasing like doorways that are black, brushed metal or brushed nickel. The surrounds and trim are also available in black or nickel.
This IronStrike model is available from eBay, firesideonline.com, and both online and offline retailers specializing in fireplaces and fireplace supplies.
Limited Lifetime Warranty
If your home has a fireplace you've been unable to enjoy, then a fireplace insert can allow you to use it once again. After researching them for this review, we concluded that the Osburn 1600 was the best wood burning fireplace insert for most homes. It can keep an area of 1,600 comfortable when it's cold outside, and it is one of the lowest price inserts from this list.
Also, homeowners who have it are happy with this product. One customer has had theirs for over 20 years and says it is still working very well. If you need to improve your fireplace’s efficiency, consider installing one of these wood burning inserts.
Featured Image Source: Pixabay
If you own a wood-burning fireplace, chances are you already know the work that goes into keeping it burning day after day. Whether your fireplace is for the occasional romantic night at home or for heating your house on a full-time basis, it can require a large amount of cut wood to maintain a consistent temperature.
But how much wood is too much, and how do you know if you don't have enough? For that matter, how exactly is firewood measured?
Firewood, after all, is not uniform, so every piece varies in weight, length, and width, making it hard to know exactly how much heat you can get out of any given amount. Luckily, there is a system in place for measuring firewood, and it includes estimating how long each set amount will last a given user.
This estimation is called a “cord,” and, as we'll see, it is an easy and effective way to figure out how much wood you have and how much use you can expect out of it. So, what is a cord and how long does a cord of wood last? Many have asked this same question, and we're going to provide the best and most accurate answer in the following sections.
Mainly, a “cord” of wood refers to a dry volume of product, equaling 128 cubic feet.
As mentioned before, wood is not uniform from piece to piece, so general terms like “well-stacked” and “tightly-stowed” are used to refer to the use of space within that 128 cubic feet. In general, a cord will be four feet high, eight feet wide, and four feet deep, and be stacked so that all the wood pieces are parallel, aligned, and touching.
As for how long a cord of wood lasts, the most accepted answer—barring the many factors we will discuss later— is two months. Now, as we'll see, that is only a general answer, and there are dozens of ways this number can be affected.
We've already established that a “cord” of wood is a standardized measurement, which means it is used both by wood suppliers and those who cut their firewood from nearby trees, logs, and other sources.
The measurement of a standard cord is four x eight x four, and assumed that all the wood inside is touching, parallel, and aligned.
However, there are still lots of factors that will affect how much wood is in a given cord, and how long it will last. They include:
In the following discussion, we'll touch on each one of these and see if we can provide a more precise answer to the question.
There are hundreds of types of wood available for burning, and each one has its pros, cons, and specific uses. From a general standpoint, however, it can be assumed that wood from hard, dense trees will burn more slowly than that from softer trees. On the other hand, softwoods burn hot and fast, providing near instant relief from the cold, whereas hardwood takes longer to get going.
Examples of hardwood include:
Examples of softwoods include:
Those who live in areas with snow or heavy rain will also have to be sure to cover the wood adequately, as wet wood and dry, seasoned wood provide very different results when it comes time to burn.
If you're entirely new to firewood, there are a few additional points with which you might want to familiarize yourself. Including:
Proper Seasoning: When one first cuts wood, it boasts a very high water content which can make it extremely hard to ignite. The process of "seasoning" allows this water to evaporate, and allows the firewood to burn more effectively and efficiently. This process, however, can take at least six months, so be sure to inquire about when any wood your buying was cut.
The Storage Site: Where you decide to stack your cord is nearly as important as what type of wood you choose. Not only should the stacking site be convenient, but it should also be relatively dry and covered to protect the seasoning process. Under no circumstances should the wood be stacked against your home, as this could lead to a termite infestation.
Consider Seasoning Yourself: The early bird gets the worm, and those who want to season the wood themselves will often pay a much lower price than those who buy lumber that is already seasoned. Just be sure to purchase wood at least six months ahead of the time you'll need it, and to keep it adequately covered throughout the entire drying process.
Expiration Dates: There is a point where wood will become too dry and too brittle to use. At this time, it's best to discard it instead of wasting energy burning it. In general, that happens roughly four to five years after cutting the wood. If you do manage to have it for this long, it is best simply to chip it down for mulch or ground cover.
So, how long does a cord of wood last?
Unfortunately, there can't be a simple, perfect answer. However, if you consider the above factors and do some rough trial and error, it should be relatively easy to estimate your monthly wood needs and then translate that into a required stockpile. Once you get some experience, adjustments can be made from year to year, depending on the factors that affect you most.
If there's no time to perform this sort of evaluation, it's fair to estimate that one well-stacked cord of hard firewood heating a small house will last approximately two months. From this estimate, newcomers have a reliable place to begin and the most basic information they need to stay warm throughout the winter.