Fireplaces / October 13, 2018 / Aitana Hsu.
The best place to settle into during the cold winter months is next to the fireplace. However, the fire has some issues; to solve these issues, a fireplace insert can a used.
The biggest problem with a fireplace is the smoke. Fireplace smoke cannot only trigger allergies and asthma, but it can also add to the local air pollution issues. The most effective way of dealing with the smoke would be to run it through a series of filters, as well as use a more energy-efficient fuel. Thus, the reason that the fireplace inserts as invented; it allows the fire to create heat still, even while eliminating most pollution.
A fireplace insert can easily a fitted into the space of a fireplace (thus the name; a hearth stove, by contrast, is something outside the fire, but with a pipe that leads up the fireplace’s chimney). Only a few require that any re-building need a done. Once the insert has placed, the idea is to use then specially prepared fuel that is cleaner and more efficient. There are several types of supplements, but all are wood stoves that have been modified to fit into a fireplace.
When looking at a fireplace insert, first look for EPA certification; most supplements must pass EPA certification ensuring that they are cleaner for the environment. Because the technology is relatively new, some salesmen and factories to try to pass off inserts that failed accreditation or just an even sent through it in the first place. Also, make sure that you do some research before even hitting the floor; some inserts do better for some uses than others, and that may be a consideration.
Some options you want to consider are blowers and those that protrude past the hearth. Fans increase the efficiency of the fireplace insert and can be controlled either manually or by the thermostat. Those that protrude past the hearth radiate heat, enabling you to heat the room faster, but may present a more significant safety hazard if you have children (note that any heated surface represents a safety hazard; however, one that protrudes can’t be placed behind a grating as quickly as one that fits into the fireplace).
However, inserts do have one potential problem. To clean the fireplace, the advertisement must be removed, which can be problematical as supplements can be as massive as 400 pounds. Because of this, it an advised that you leave cleaning to professional chimney sweeps. Also, be aware that the insert must have a connection to the flue so that creosote won’t build up and cause a fire (this doesn’t apply to vent-free inserts). Also, be aware that your local laws may have their specifications; Washington State, for example, has tighter regulations regarding how much emissions can be allowed into the environment.
However, a fireplace insert can be a worthy investment, especially if you are looking for a cleaner way to use a wood fireplace without all the smoke.