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Wood Fireplace Inserts Upgrade Your Fireplace!

Wood Fireplace Inserts Upgrade Your Fireplace!

I feel by now most Clevelander’s should be well adapted to the Northeast Ohio climate. We start the year with a bitter cold January and February, which slowly turns into a rainy Spring. Then the Summer gives us a glimmer of hope to enjoy picnics and pool parties, but are then dashed by a cool rainy fall and a subsequent frigid October, November and December. Our eternal wishes of tropical weather most of the year and a short winter season are nixed year after year after year. If we can almost bet on Cleveland’s weather roller coaster ride, why don’t we properly prepare to better enjoy the coldest 6 months out of the year?

In a 2011 Hearth Industry Report conducted by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), it was reported that “There were approximately 1.2 fireplaces per American home in 2010, with 80 percent of the homes having at least one fireplace or stove, and 21 percent having two or more.” It is safe to say that a majority of homes have a fireplace; however, how many people actually use their fireplace? The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) revealed, “Fireplace owners report that they typically use their fireplaces 52 times per year, most often in the winter (average 34 times) and fall (average 10 times).” At first glance, it may seem like wood fireplaces are adding a lot of heat to the average home as a secondary heat source. The Consumer Energy Center states “On the average, an operating open-masonry fireplace can have efficiencies ranging up to 15 percent, depending upon its type and operation.” In actuality up to 85% of the heat produced from a wood fire is lost up your chimney. The rest of the story may be even more shocking: “if there is no fire and the damper is left open, a fireplace can actually have a “negative efficiency” as warm air from the house escapes through the chimney!” In our experience as a specialty hearth retailer, even with your damper closed your home may still be losing heat all winter long!

Ok, so we recognized that most homes in Cleveland have a serious heating problem. Heat produced from your furnace is escaping up your chimney whether or not your fireplace is in use and regardless of your damper being open or closed. So how do we fix this problem? You could always start by continuing to pay inflated electric bills and gas bills! But, who really wants to do that? The best alternative to correct the problem would be to close off the fireplace opening and add a high efficiency wood burning fireplace insert.  Unlike a traditional open burning fireplace, a wood fireplace insert will be 70-80% efficient. So in simple numbers, wood burned in an open fireplace produces 15% of heat into your home and wood burned in a fireplace insert produces 70-80% of heat into your home. Essentially a wood insert produces 5 times as much heat from the same number of logs as an open fireplace. Since the wood being burned in a fireplace insert is much more efficient, wood burn times can increase ten fold over an open wood burning fireplace. An open burning fireplace may burn a load of wood for one to two hours. It is common to achieve 8 to 10 and even 12 hour burn times per load of wood in a wood burning insert.

Outside of being a phenomenal heat source, there are also other benefits to owning and operating a wood burning fireplace insert. Proper installation of a wood burning insert requires a top plate being placed on top of the chimney sealing off the extra space around your chimney liner. This prevents unwanted cold air from blowing and circulating down your chimney. Additionally, the wood fireplace insert panel that covers the opening of your fireplace is sealed with fiberglass insulation to further prevent cold air from entering your home, but more importantly the panel prevents heated air from your furnace escaping up your chimney. This means that when you burn in a wood fireplace insert you are producing 5 times as much heat (70-80% efficient) and eliminating heat loss resulting in higher home heating efficiency. Compare that   with the the 85% heat loss while burning and negative efficiency of an open burning fireplace when not in use.

On a strictly aesthetic note, wood burning fireplace inserts offer many design options to match or compliment any home decor. Wood fireplace inserts span from traditional designs to contemporary designs. For traditional homes a hearth stove or bay design may fit best, while modern or contemporary homes may look best with a flush mounted unit with either an arch or rectangular door. Wood stove insert manufacturer’s have focused their efforts on increasing the glass viewing area for more ambiance and a better view of the fire. A large roaring fire means your current fireplace can transform from an outdated eye soar to an updated centerpiece in your main living space.

I believe all of the bases have been covered to give good reason to make an investment into both form and function. Wood fireplace inserts allow up to 5 times as much heat and 10 times less wood usage compared to open burning fireplaces. Wood fireplace inserts are the best alternative to seal off your cold drafty fireplace from both top and bottom and prevent heat loss up your chimney. This results in a higher heating efficiency from even your current furnace. Top the new found energy savings off with an attractive roaring fire and new face design and you have succeeded in upgrading your current fireplace with both heat and ambiance!

Wood Fireplace Inserts Upgrade Your Fireplace!