Fireplaces remain one of the most requested and sought after home features – across all ages and income brackets. A study by the National Center for Real Estate Research (NCRER) found that 40% of home buyers are willing to pay more for a home with a fireplace and that having a fireplace increases a home’s value by up to 12%.
Not all fireplaces are created equally, however. Open hearth masonry fireplaces are an impressive focal point, but most are inefficient and require serious upkeep and maintenance.
One way to modernize an open-hearth fireplace – while adding value to your home – is by installing a fireplace insert. Fireplace inserts are an excellent solution that can make your fireplace more efficient, allow you to switch fuel sources, save time, and avoid the hassle – and expense – of a major fireplace renovation.
What is an insert?
A fireplace insert is still a fireplace: it burns fuel to produce heat. Inserts, however, differ from open hearth fireplaces in that they operate using closed system combustion; in a closed system, less heated air is lost up the chimney and the fireplace can more efficiently heat a home. According to the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association (HPBA), installing a fireplace insert to an existing open-hearth fireplace can help reduce energy bills by as much as 40 percent.
Types of inserts
There is no one single size or style of insert. Instead, there is a wide variety of fireplace inserts to match the aesthetics of your home – as well as meet your heating needs.
Choosing the fuel source is often the most difficult choice when picking a new fireplace insert. Wood inserts remain popular as many homeowners want the look and feel of a real, wood-burning fire. Likewise, wood is considered a green fuel source; many are surprised to learn that burning wood is carbon neutral as trees over their lifetime absorb the same amount of carbon dioxide and the fire produces.
Gas is an equally popular fuel choice for fireplace inserts. Gas inserts provide heat at the press of a button with little cleaning or maintenance. While less environmentally friendly, gas is an inexpensive fuel source that provides consistent and controllable heat.
Three benefits of installing a new insert
There are a number of benefits to installing an insert.
1. Better efficiency. Open-hearth fireplaces tend to be inefficient and lose lots of heat up the chimney. Inserts with closed-circuit combustion, however, are significantly more efficient.
2. Fewer emissions. Because open-hearth fireplaces are individually built, their emissions cannot be regulated or controlled; this leads to open-hearth fireplaces being considered as a major cause of air pollution. Inserts of all fuel sources must be regulated, tested, and certified by the EPA. Minimum standards that produce significantly less particulate emissions must be met in order for an insert to be sold.
3. Avoid masonry repairs. A damaged fireplace must be repaired before it can be safely used. Some masonry repairs can be avoided, however, by installing a new insert. Because inserts can be installed into existing fireboxes, a flue resizing may be all that’s needed to begin enjoying the new fireplace.
A fireplace insert is an easy to install, energy-efficient way to upgrade your existing open-hearth fireplace. For more information on the benefits of fireplace inserts, contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today!
Gas fireplaces and heating appliances have steadily increased in popularity in the last several years. Homeowners are drawn to the low cost to operate, the ease of getting heat at the push of a button, and the draw of significantly less maintenance. While there are a number of benefits to switching to gas, it is important to remember that gas heating appliances still need regular maintenance.
Maintaining your gas fireplace or insert
Many homeowners have the misconception that gas heating appliances do not require maintenance. While they may not produce soot and ash the same way as their wood burning counterparts, it is still important to have them regularly maintained!
It is extremely important to hire a technician who is certified to clean and inspect gas fireplaces and inserts. Many of the components of gas fireplaces are delicate and must be handled with care; even a tiny shift to a gas line can create a gas leak or fireplace performance problems! Likewise, gas heating appliances have their own unique maintenance needs that differs from their wood burning counterparts. At Jack Pixley Sweeps, we are proud to be one of the few companies that has a NFI Certified Technician on staff for gas heating appliance maintenance.
Ask us about your gas fireplace!
At Jack Pixley Sweeps, we are dedicated to helping our customers get the most out of their gas fireplaces and inserts! After installing a new gas heating appliance, we are happy to answer any questions you may have; this helps you have the peace of mind to fully use and enjoy your new gas fireplace or insert! Some of the most frequently asked questions include:
- How do I adjust flame height?
- How do I adjust the heat output?
- How do I control the blower?
- How do I clean the fireplace and vent?
Other gas fireplace issues our technicians can help with include:
- Navigating issues with the pilot light
- Programming the fireplace to automatically turn off when a room reaches a certain temperature
- What kinds of fuels can be burned in the fireplace
- Whether or not it is normal to have blue flames
- What is normal regarding the temperature of the fireplace’s glass doors
- Cooking food using gas heating appliances
At home maintenance for gas fireplaces
In addition to regular maintenance by a certified professional, there are a number of things homeowners can do to keep their gas fireplaces and inserts burning safely and efficiently.
- Exterior fireplace components: Exterior glass doors or metal components can be cleaned using regular household cleaners and clean, dry cloths. Make sure to only clean the fireplace when it is completely cooled after use.
- Interior fireplace components: Interior fireplace components should be cleaned one to two times per year. Using a soft, clean brush or a soft bristled, clean paint brush, gently remove dust and soot from gas lines or ceramic logs. Use extreme caution when cleaning interior components to avoid shifting gas lines, which can create leaks or reduce fireplace performance.
Regular maintenance of your gas fireplace can ensure it burns safely and efficiently for years to come. For more information on maintaining your gas heating appliances or to schedule an appointment with our NFI Certified Technicians, contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today!
If you love your fireplace but are tired of losing money up the flue in wasted energy, it may be time to install a new fireplace insert! Wood burning and gas fireplace inserts are efficient and low maintenance additions to your home that can give you all the benefits of a masonry fireplace – without the energy loss.
At Jack Pixley Sweeps, we are proud to sell and install Regency gas and wood inserts. These high quality fireplaces are safe, efficient, and can keep your family warm and comfortable for years to come.
Benefits of fireplace inserts
There are a number of benefits to installing a fireplace insert in place of an existing masonry fireplace.
- Efficiency: Open hearth fireplaces have efficiency ratings as low as 5-10%; at these levels, most of your energy – and money – is going straight up the flue. The closed system combustion of fireplace inserts allows them to operate with up to 90% efficiency. Likewise, the Hearth, Patio, and Barbeque Association estimates that by reducing energy and heat loss up the chimney installing an insert can save as much as 40% on energy bills.
- Environmentally friendly: Modern fireplace inserts are required to be certified by the EPA. To earn this certification, inserts must create minimal amounts of particulate emissions; doing this reduces the environmental impact of burning in the fireplace and helps improve air quality.
- Fuel choices: Whether you want wood or gas, pellets or coal, there is a fireplace insert for you. With a number of different fuel choices, homeowners can find a fireplace insert that works well with your heating needs and budget.
- Style choices: In addition to choosing your fuel source, homeowners also have a wide variety of choices when it comes to the style of their new fireplace insert. Whether you want the look of a traditional fireplace or a sleek, modern design there is an insert to fit every style and price range.
About Regency gas inserts
If you’re tired of the work and effort of chopping, storing, and stacking firewood – as well as the mess after the fire – then a Regency gas insert may be the right fireplace for you. These high efficiency fireplaces can start at the touch of a button; this adds warmth and ambiance to your home without the work and effort of building or stoking a fire all evening.
About Regency wood inserts
Even though gas is an easy and efficient fuel source, many homeowners still prefer a wood burning fire. This does not, however, mean that they appreciate the energy loss that comes along with an open hearth. If you want to combine the energy savings of gas with the look and feel of a real wood fire then a Regency wood insert might be the right fireplace for you!
This winter, don’t let all your heat escape up the chimney. Keep the heat – and our cash – in the house by upgrading your drafty fireplace to a modern Regency insert today! Call Jack Pixley Sweeps to speak to one of our expert technicians about the kind of fireplace insert that is right for your family.