Answers To Your Questions On Fireplace Inserts

One of the most underused fixtures in many homes is the fireplace. This is simply because the idea of dealing with a wood burning fireplace seems like too much work for many people, plus the efficiency of trying to actually get heat from a plain fireplace can be a challenge. An insert can make your fireplace much more useful, as they are simple to use and maintain. Plus, many are designed for efficiency so they help to heat your home. The following can help answer some of your questions.

What type of fuel should you choose?

Generally, you have a choice between gas or wood inserts. Wood inserts tend to cost less mainly due to installation concerns. For example, for a gas insert you must either have a gas supply to the house or have it installed, and then the supply must be piped into the fireplace. Of course, if you don't want to store wood or pellets, or if you are looking for a low maintenance unit that doesn't require frequent cleaning of ashes, then the initial cost of a gas unit is well worth it.

Is chimney preparation necessary before installation?

Before an installation can occur, your chimney will require an inspection. In some cases you may need to have the chimney relined or a chimney pipe will be required to run from the insert up your existing chimney. With gas inserts, a chimney pipe is usually used so an inspection is simply to make sure there are no hazards within the existing chimney. The firebox in the existing fireplace may also require inspection, primarily to make sure that the heat shielding isn't damaged.

Are permits required for installation?

This depends on your state and municipality. Some areas do require that permits are issued and that the fireplace is inspected after installation. Generally, your installer will be in charge of securing the permits and arranging for the inspection. You may also be required to get permission and an inspection by a homeowners association if you live in attached housing, such as in a condo or townhome. It is up to you to verify the necessary requirements in this case.

What is the service frequency of a fireplace insert?

You will need to plan for outside service upon occasion. Generally, you want to have your insert and the chimney, including any gas connections, inspected annually. Many homeowners insurance policies require that you have a certificate of inspection on hand if you have an insert installed. Gas inserts rarely require maintenance beyond inspections, although you will want to clean the glass on occasion when the fireplace isn't in use. Wood fireplaces will need to be swept out at least weekly and professionally cleaned once a year so soot and creosote doesn't build up inside.

For more help, talk to a fireplace installer in your area, such as A One Heating & Air Conditioning.