Help! Suggestions for a fireplace insert for a newbie

kitchennewbie2009January 5, 2010

I just found this forum and would love to get anyone's advice regarding getting a fireplace insert. We have a big family room in our 2 story 1960 house. It's about 2000 sq foot house. The room is big but enclosed. It's also the coldest room in the house b/c of the fireplace big windows. I didn't realize that fireplaces were so inefficient in heating the room. I had looked into changing the fireplace into a gas fireplace but the contractor said that it would be a lot of work b/c of getting the gas line there. So now I am looking to make the fireplace more efficient when we use it. I also want to prevent so much cold draft from it.

I am looking for something that I can use so that when we burn the wood (which is so nice to look at) that it also heats the room. I have heard of blowers and inserts. Which is better? My DH and I are totally not handy so we would have to hire someone to put these in. I am hoping for something that isn't too expensive but would invest in it if it's really worth it. I would love to heat the whole house if possible.

I've done so much to keep heat in the house. We've replaced all the windows and put insulation in the attic but anything that can help would be appreciated.


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Most all inserts have blowers- it's how they get the heat into the house.

I converted a fireplace to an insert and am easily heating the entire house with wood- this is my third winter doing so.
That said, it was an investment as you will also need a stainless steel liner to ensure that the insert burns correctly, efficiently, and safely. My entire insert, install, and minor chimney repair ran me around $3200- I got a Pacific Energy brand insert. There are other good brands- it depends somewhat on your fireplace dimensions.

First you need to have your setup examined by a pro to see what is actually possible. While you are waiting for that get over to The Hearth Forums and pick their brains. Those guys can help with anything and many are installers themselves and are a world of information. There is a lot to consider, so I would read and learn all this season and opt for a summer/fall installation.

If you even remotely think you are going to do this start stockpiling wood now. Have correctly seasoned wood goes a long way towards a safe efficient burn and you cannot start too early or gather too much. Almost every new burner out there has a sad story to tell about their first year being annoying because of the poorly seasoned wood available to buy, or not having enough.

Go read the forums!
It is an active place and the advice is good.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Hearth Forums

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 3:41PM
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