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!
With the end of winter around the corner, most of us are preparing to close up our fireplaces for the season. However, if your fireplace is looking out of date, old, or stained, now is the perfect time to get a new fireplace surround!
A fireplace surround is a great way to totally makeover the look and feel of your fireplace – when the fireplace looks new, your entire home gets an instant face lift! Below are four reasons why you should consider investing in a new fireplace surround.
1. Invest in your home’s value
Fireplaces add value to your home; According to the National Association of Homebuilders, potential buyers are willing to pay as much as $1,400 more for houses with fireplaces. While fireplaces add value to your home, how they look still has a major impact. More than 46% of buyers listed “looks” as the most important trait they look for in a fireplace.
By investing in a new fireplace surround, you are investing in your home’s value. A new, modern fireplace surround can become a beautiful focal point in your home – and add value to your asking price if you decide to sell.
2. Better reflect your home’s style
Do you have a sleek, contemporary style but are trapped with a traditional fireplace? Or is your style more French country, but your fireplace is clearly mid-century modern?
No matter what your home style is, a new fireplace surround can help carry that aesthetic to every part of your home. Because surrounds are custom built, our team can create a design that fits your home’s style and seamlessly blends in with the rest of your décor.
3. Make a major change – without a major price tag
If you don’t have the budget for a complete fireplace surround, there are still ways to update the look of your hearth. Even minor changes can refresh and revamp your fireplace, making it look brand new without a major remodel.
New glass doors, fireplace fronts, and screens can all easily be installed and can complement your existing fireplace design or give your hearth a new aesthetic. Even adding a new mantle can dramatically change the look of your existing fireplace!
4. Install a more efficient fireplace insert
While open hearth fireplaces are beautiful, they are far from being the most efficient fireplace option. Likewise, fireboxes that have been damaged by moisture or years or use may need to be partially or fully rebuilt before they are safe to use. Rather than rebuilding the firebox during fireplace surround construction, consider installing a more efficient fireplace insert!
Fireplace inserts are extremely efficient and can help lower heating costs in your home. Available in a wide variety of styles as well as multiple fuel sources, our staff can help you find the right insert for your home and heating needs.
If your fireplace is starting to look stained, tired, or old, and you live around Minneapolis, it may be time for a face lift. Contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today for more information on how a new fireplace surround can upgrade your existing fireplace!
The warm weather we have each summer means that very few homeowners use their fireplaces during these months. While you may not need the additional heat, many miss the ambiance their fireplace creates. One way to enjoy the look and feel of a fireplace without overheating your home is with a fireplace insert.
Fireplace inserts can be used decoratively or as a way to help heat your home. Likewise, these extremely efficient appliances are much easier to care for than traditional hearth fireplaces. This makes them an ideal choice for busy families who want the look and feel of a wood fire without the hassle.
Why install a new insert in summer
Summer is a great time of year to make repairs or upgrades to your fireplace system. Because fireplaces are rarely used during the warm summer months, you will not be “left out in the cold” if you are unable to use your fireplace while the repairs are being made. Likewise, some masonry repairs cannot be completed when the temperatures outside drop below a certain point; this makes the warm months of summer an ideal time to have masonry work completed.
The primary benefit of having your new fireplace insert installed this summer is that it will be already ready to use when temperatures begin to cool down in the fall! Finding the perfect insert now will allow you and your family to be warm and cozy when the first cold snap arrives.
Benefits of fireplace inserts
Below are just five of the many reasons to consider installing a fireplace insert.
- Efficiency. Fireplace inserts operate using closed system combustion. This allows them to much more efficiently and completely burn their fuel source, as well as minimizes the amount of temperature controlled air that is lost up the chimney. According to the Hearth, Patio, and Barbeque Association, adding a fireplace insert can reduce energy bills by as much as 40%.
- Environmentally friendly. Unlike open hearth fireplaces, fireplace inserts are strictly regulated by the EPA. EPA Certified inserts produce nearly zero particulate emissions; this makes them a greener fireplace choice as it significantly reduces your carbon footprint.
- Avoid repairs. If the inside of your firebox is damage, expensive masonry repairs may seem inevitable. However, installing an insert may help you avoid costly masonry repairs while still letting you enjoy a roaring fire.
- Fuel choices. Inserts are available for nearly every fireplace fuel source including coal, natural gas, pellets, propane, and wood. This gives homeowners a wide variety of choices to meet their fireplace preferences.
- Style. Modern fireplace inserts are available in styles to fit in the interior décor of any home. Whether you want the classic look of a traditional fireplace or a more modern or contemporary design, you can find an insert that matches your style.
Summer is a great time for a new fireplace insert! To learn more about how a fireplace insert can benefit your family, contact the experts at Jack Pixley Sweeps today!
Jack Pixley Sweeps services wood burning inserts!
In our busy, fast paced lives, many homeowners find that they no longer have the time or energy to use their wood burning fireplaces. Instead of letting the fireplace become a purely decorative part of the home, considering installing a fireplace insert.
Fireplace inserts minimize maintenance while still allowing you to enjoy the look and feel of a wood burning fire. Below are the top five reasons why you should considering installing a fireplace insert.
While wood burning fireplaces create a wonderful ambiance, they are not very efficient heating sources. Most fireplaces have efficiency ratings as low as 5-10% due to the open combustion of the burning process. Fireplace inserts, however, are sealed systems. This creates more complete combustion, a more efficient fire, and less energy loss. The Hearth, Patio, and Barbeque Association has reported that in some cases, installing a fireplace insert can reduce energy bills by as much as 40%.
Different fuel choices
With a wide variety of fuel choices available, there is a fireplace insert to meet every need. There are available inserts that burn coal, natural gas, pellets, propane, and even wood. Those looking for fires at the press of a button may opt for a gas insert, while others may choose a wood burning insert for a more traditional look and feel. The freedom to choose your fuel source gives homeowners the ability to find an insert that best meets their needs.
Minimize masonry repairs
If your firebox has been damaged, fallen into disrepair, or needs extensive renovations, installing a fireplace insert may be a way to let you continue to use and enjoy your fireplace without the hassle of a complete rebuild. Because the fireplace inserts are placed directly into the existing firebox, they can be installed and used even if the masonry of the old firebox has been damaged.
Fireplace inserts should always be professionally installed to ensure that they are placed correctly. In some cases, the flue may need to be altered to accommodate the new insert. New stainless steel chimney liners can easily be installed to ensure that the flue is the right size for your fireplace insert.
Unlike traditional wood burning fireplaces which cannot be certified by the EPA, fireplace inserts are required to be EPA certified. This certification shows that your insert produces a minimal amount of particulate emissions and has a smaller impact on the environment. Because of their closed system combustion, most fireplace inserts are able to reduce emissions to almost zero.
In addition to being able to choose their fuel source, homeowners switching to a fireplace insert can also select the aesthetic style of their new heating appliance. Inserts come in a variety of styles from the contemporary to the modern, and there are inserts to fit every style and budget.
If you’re tired to the work and maintenance required with a wood burning fireplace, a fireplace insert might be the right choice for you. Inserts can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and turn a damaged or unsightly firebox into the focal point of your room. For more information on fireplace inserts, contact the expert staff at Jack Pixley Sweeps today!