Those with older fireplaces may wish to consider electric fireplace inserts. These inserts are designed to add efficiency to any home whose homeowners wish to have a useable fireplace but don't want the air pollution, mess or inefficiency of a standard fireplace. The models available today far exceed standards from the original inserts designed in the 1980s.
How Electric Fireplace Inserts Work
A fireplace insert is a firebox that is designed to fit inside the masonry fireplace already installed in the home. They are made of steel, with an interior firebox. When positioned inside a fireplace, the air within the room enters the shell of the insert then the firebox. It is heated there through an electric device. In other forms of inserts, other fuels are used such as wood, pellets or natural gas. The heated air then comes out of the firebox back into the room, warming it.
Why not just use the fireplace in the same way? The difference is in the way the electric insert works and what it provides. The outer shell surrounding the insert works to keep the air in the firebox flowing into the room, rather than up the chimney of the masonry fireplace. In a traditional fireplace, most of the heat is pushed up into the fireplace and the room only receives 10 to 20 percent of the heat produced by the fire. With inserts, this is no longer the case. The majority of heat goes into the room.
Flames in Electric Inserts
In a traditional wood burning fireplace, the flames are created from the burning of the wood. Since these inserts are electric, you may be curious as to where the flame comes from. The heat produced by the fireplace insert is not from the flame that's flickering inside the firebox. In fact, this is merely an effect most manufacturers install in the unit. The heat does not produce a flame, but to make the firebox more appealing, manufacturers install this effect for a natural, warming appearance in the room.
Ventilation Benefits of Electric Fireplaces
One of the key reasons to install an electric fireplace into the home is that it is highly versatile. Even if you have a non-working chimney, you can still use an electric insert since these devices do not require any ventilation. Other models of inserts, including wood burning, do require a working chimney to properly vent the device. Since this is an electrical produced heat, it is not necessary to have anything more than an electrical outlet for the device to plug into, as you would any other appliance.
Benefits of Installation of Electrical Inserts
There are several great reasons to consider investing in electric fireplace inserts. These devices are becoming more common as they become more technologically advanced.
- The electric cost for running the inserts is far less than the cost of a furnace running on natural gas, in most cases.
- The inserts are far more efficient to use over traditional, masonry fireplaces. They require less fuel, produce far more heat because of their design, and function better than traditional fireplaces.
- The electric inserts also produce a healthier heat: they do not pollute the air with particles like most wood burning fireplaces do. They allow less contaminant to enter the air in and outside of the home.
- They are affordable. While the prices of fireplace inserts range widely, they are a more affordable option than the installation of a working chimney (in most cases), and since they can move from room to room easily, there is only the need to purchase one device.
- Even though they work on electricity, they are still attractive with their flickering flame within. Plus, most have chrome or bronze faceplates that are attractive, too. Most people have no idea the fireplace is electrical, believing they are real working fireplaces.
In addition to these benefits, electric fireplace inserts are a great addition to the home. There are very few drawbacks from these devices.