How Efficient is a Wood Burning Fireplace Insert?

Wood Burning Fireplace Insert

It’s easy to see why wood burning fireplace inserts are so popular; they mimic the look and feel of an old-fashioned wood burning fireplace insert but are much more efficient and cleaner than their predecessors. And as a result, these inserts have become an increasingly common sight in modern homes across America and worldwide. But how efficient are they? Is one model better than another? This article will answer these questions and more as we examine the efficiency of today’s leading wood burning fireplace inserts and show you how to choose the right one for your home or business.

Types of Fireplaces

From fuel efficiency to design, many types of fireplaces are available. What’s important to remember when choosing your fireplace is that it should complement your home’s aesthetics and meet your needs.

If you live in an area where wood-burning fireplaces inserts are common, consider installing one to efficiently heat your home without having to rely on propane or electricity.

However, if you’re going for maximum efficiency and don’t mind adding a bit of noise and mess, consider installing the best wood burning fireplace insert instead. These units are small enough to be used as standalone fireplaces but powerful enough to warm up a room quickly; they’re also very efficient at turning wood into heat.

Benefits of Wood Burning Inserts

  • A wood burning fireplace insert can improve your fireplace efficiency and reduce your wood consumption by up to 50 percent.
  • That means you don’t have to burn as much wood to keep your house warm, which results in less air pollution and saves you money on heating bills.
  • A small investment of time will save you even more money in future years.
  • If you decide not to invest in an insert, ensure that your existing fireplace has an EPA-certified particulate matter (PM) filter so that any dust emissions are blocked from reaching nearby rooms.
  • Avoid older fireplaces with no filters or those where only their glass doors are modernized with filters—the rest of their internals may remain old and inefficient.

Space Requirements

There are two things to consider when deciding whether to add an insert fireplace or traditional fireplace to your home: cost and space. An insert will take up about as much room as a 70 television. Traditional fireplaces tend to be larger, so make sure you have room for one before installing one in your home.

It’s also wise to check with local building codes before beginning work on any project that involves cutting into existing walls. If you decide to go with an insert, it may require some electrical work if it doesn’t come pre-wired. Be sure to hire a professional for these tasks.

The Cost to Run

Have you ever thought about how much it costs to run your wood burning fireplace insert during colder months in your area of residence? It might amaze you to learn that during mild weather, it might cost up to $80 per day or more, depending on where you live. That’s right. It’s not uncommon for fireplaces and woodstoves to use over $20 worth of fuel just while they are turned off (not in use). 

Controls and Safety Features

Most wood burning fireplace inserts are installed directly into an existing wood-burning fireplace. They will include a control panel that gives you several options for controlling your heating system.

The most common controls will adjust your flame intensity, airflow, and damper settings. These controls will give you complete control over how much heat. You produce to make it more comfortable inside your home while still being eco-friendly.

Many units also have safety features such as glass doors and adjustable flue dampers. So that your insert operates efficiently while keeping your family safe from potential accidents. No matter what features your insert has. It’s always important to read through all of its operating instructions before attempting to use it.

Is a fireplace insert better than a fireplace?

Is an insert better than a traditional fireplace? Short answer: it depends. Here are a few things to consider when choosing between an insert and a free-standing fireplace.

First, does your home have a working chimney and firebox in which you can install an insert, or do you want to convert your existing fireplace? If you’re having trouble deciding whether to use gas logs, wood-burning fireplace inserts, or gas logs, read our comparison of gas log heaters vs. wood-burning fireplace inserts.

Should I use a fireplace insert?

If you want to use your fireplace as an alternative source of heat in your home. Using an insert could be advantageous over traditional wood-burning fireplaces.

Instead of taking up valuable floor space. They’re designed to sit inside an existing fireplace—or if you don’t have one. They can also be installed in new fireplaces.

This means you can still enjoy everything a woodburning fireplace offers without sacrificing floor space or incurring additional construction costs. You also have more options for choosing what kind of insert will work best for your home and needs: Choices range from models that burn ethanol, pellet fuel, or even natural gas.


The EPA says that wood burning fireplace inserts are more efficient than wood-burning fireplaces, with all types averaging around 80 percent efficiency. However, that figure doesn’t tell you how much heat an insert puts out relative to its energy usage. The most efficient inserts emit between 3,500 and 4,500 BTUs for every 100 pounds of coal burned. At that rate, an insert would need 1 pound of coal to produce about 600 BTUs per hour or roughly 6200 BTUs in one hour. 


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