Fireplace vs. Fireplace Insert: Which is Best for Your Home?

Fireplace vs. Fireplace Insert: Which is the Best Way to Heat Your Home?

If you’re unsatisfied with the look or output of your current fireplace, you may want to consider making an upgrade. As you plan, be sure to consider the differences between fireplaces vs. fireplace inserts before making your selections.

Many folks in our area rely on alternative heating sources. The average monthly energy bill in Pennsylvania is $122.92, and that average only goes up when we experience more significant winter weather. Fireplaces and fireplace inserts help offset the cost of heating your home during these cold winter months.

Some folks may not consider updating their fireplace because they’re unfamiliar with the possibilities provided by a brick fireplace insert. If you’re wondering if a fireplace or insert is right for you. We would love to help you learn more and design a beautiful and efficient heating solution for your home.

What is a Fireplace Insert?

Everyone is familiar with fireplaces but fireplace inserts may be a good solution for homeowners looking to upgrade an old fireplace. Some of our customers want to know, “how do they work?” As the name suggests, a fireplace insert is a fully functioning heating source that is inserted into an open masonry wood-burning fireplace.

Rather than demolishing and rebuilding a fireplace from scratch, some people choose to add a fireplace insert instead. An insert often provides better heat than older fireplaces and can upgrade the look and aesthetic of your living space.

Now that you understand the difference between a fireplace and fireplace insert let’s look at the perks and potential pitfalls of each option.

Fireplace Pros & Cons

Who doesn’t love the ambiance provided by an open fireplace? Relaxing by a roaring, crackling fire on a blustery day with a hot beverage in hand evokes warm feelings and sets the tone for a welcoming environment for family and friends. Fireplaces come in all shapes and sizes depending on when your home was constructed.

In other parts of the country, fireplaces are merely for interior design, but that is absolutely not the case in South Central Pennsylvania. We rely on alternative sources of heat during cold seasons.

However, despite the pros of a traditional fireplace, there are cons that often lead people to consider fireplace inserts.

Maintenance is the biggest drawback when you consider a fireplace. Not only will you need to have your chimney inspected and swept, but it’s necessary to have your flue checked every few years to ensure it’s not cracked.

Gaps in fireplaces tend to make them less efficient. Masonry wood-burning fireplaces can lose up to 85 percent of the fire’s heat through the chimney. Decades of wear and tear eventually take their toll and despite the nostalgia, some homeowners find that inserts are the best choice considering their priorities.

Fireplace Insert Pros & Cons

Let’s start with the advantages. A fireplace insert radiates much more heat than a fireplace. Because it is enclosed, it retains more heat. Additionally, zone heating saves 20 to 40 percent of energy.

From a care and upkeep perspective, fireplace insert maintenance requires less time and is simpler than a fireplace. This means you will need to place fewer calls to professionals for inspections.

Finally, fireplace inserts are safer because there is little to no chance of sparks escaping and igniting home furnishings.

The only major con of this option is that fireplace inserts detract somewhat from the traditional fireplace experience and aesthetic.

From a design perspective, a fireplace insert may not be as visually pleasing as an open brick or stone fireplace. In terms of experience, many people who replace their fireplace with a fireplace insert may miss the sensation of sitting in front of an open flame.

Fireplace inserts are generally more affordable than a complete fireplace remodel, so cost may override tradition for many looking to make a change. But even considering these cons, we can help you make a smooth transition if an insert is the best choice for you.

AES Hearth & Patio: Your Fireplace and Insert Experts

Whether you’re looking to update or replace an existing fireplace or would like to check out our selection of inserts, the knowledgeable experts at AES Hearth & Patio would love to discuss the possibilities.

We offer several types of fireplace inserts including wood-burning, gas, pellet, and electric inserts. To decide which kind is right for you, consider your fuel preference, which style best suits your home, and your efficiency needs.

Make an appointment today to talk about your existing space, discuss your priorities, and have us help you achieve a result you will love.

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