You love the look of a fireplace, but you do not want to be bothered with buying or chopping down wood for the fire. Fireplace inserts are an ideal solution, but you should know the difference in the different types of inserts to get the desired effect. Here is quick breakdown of inserts and some of the pros and cons for each one.
Electric Fireplace Inserts
Electric inserts are extremely low maintenance, but also offers a less realistic experience. Some of the lower end models have very poor effect, but you there are models that have impressive flickering flames to enhance the overall look and feel of the fireplace. A major benefit of using one of these fireplaces is that you do not need any ventilation. There are also mountable and freestanding units available for homes that currently have no fireplace.
Gas Fireplace Inserts
If your home uses natural gas and you want to have something that is closer to a real fire, a gas-burning insert is a good choice. Gas fireplaces tend to be more effective as a heat source than most electric fireplaces, as they are capable of a higher BTU output. This type of unit is very effective for zone heating. Typically, the logs used for these fireplaces are made of ceramic. While they do not all require ventilation, be sure to check the manufacturer’s guidelines before installing.
Wood Fireplace Inserts
While this is the most natural of all inserts, it is also one of the more costly and least efficient as a heat source. Since you will need ventilation, much of the heat created will escape through the chimney. However, wood can generally be found cheaply, so this may offset the heat loss financially compared to gas or electric. You may also require some modifications to your existing fireplace or the unit itself before it can be used safely. If you were trying to avoid chimney maintenance costs, know that annual inspections are still recommended.