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What Is the Difference Between a Fireplace and a Fireplace Insert?

The terms fireplace and fireplace insert are ones that commonly cause confusion. It is common for homeowners to want to know what is the difference between a fireplace and a fireplace insert. The simplest way to explain this is that a fireplace insert is a stove that has been specifically designed so that it can be inserted into an already existing fireplace. These inserts can represent a valuable investment for many property owners who are looking to boost the efficiency of their fireplace.

The various types of fireplace inserts currently available on the market include:      

  • Pellet burning
  • Wood burning
  • Propane
  • Natural gas
  • Electric

The following information will provide further details about the topic of fireplace inserts. This information is useful for property owners who are considering this option within the realm of fireplace possibilities.

What Is the Purpose of a Fireplace Insert?

Understanding the purpose of a fireplace insert helps to answer the question of what is the difference between a fireplace and a fireplace insert. To explain it simply, the purpose of a fireplace insert is to upgrade the capabilities of a fireplace that is not sufficient as is.

Having a fireplace insert installed is a cost-effective way to upgrade your current fireplace to a highly efficient wood or gas one. Getting a fireplace insert can be a great way to efficiently produce more heat that also utilizes less fuel than a regular fireplace.

Some of the key benefits of fireplace inserts include:

  • They assist in sealing the existing masonry chimney
  • Fireplace inserts help to eliminate drafts coming down the chimney
  • Fireplace inserts help you to increase your heating efficiency

How Do I Know If I Have a Fireplace Insert?

Another part of answering the question what is the difference between a fireplace and a fireplace insert is understanding how to tell if you have an insert currently. The easiest way to generally tell that you have a fireplace insert is if you have a metal firebox that is surrounded by a shell made of steel.

Checking for a nameplate is an effective way to determine what type of fireplace insert that you have in your property. This nameplate is generally found near the gas valve and pilot light of a fireplace insert. These are generally located under the grill. Nameplates that have been placed near the top of the valve can sometimes be a bit difficult to locate.

Can You Use a Fireplace Insert Without a Fireplace?

Many property owners want to know whether or not you can use a fireplace insert without a fireplace. Though it is true that a fireplace insert offers many of the benefits of a wood stove, these inserts are designed specifically to be placed into a masonry fireplace with a chimney. For this reason, you must have a fireplace to be able to use a fireplace insert.

What Is the Difference Between a Firebox and an Insert?

It is also common for property owners to be unsure of the difference between a fireplace insert and a firebox. It is easy to see why this confusion often exists because a fireplace insert can be considered as a type of firebox.

The firebox in a fireplace is the area where the fire burns. Within fireplaces that are constructed from masonry such as stone or brick, the firebox itself is generally made from brick. In prefabricated fireplaces, the firebox is generally going to be made from metal.

When it comes to fireplace inserts, you can consider them to be closed-combustion fireboxes. These closed-combustion fireboxes are installed into existing fireplaces as a way to boost efficiency and heat.

Do All Fireplace Inserts Have Blowers?

The topic of blowers is another thing that people commonly want to know more about regarding the fireplace insert topic. A blower is a fan that is mounted outside of the firebox itself. Its purpose is to circulate air around the hot exterior of the unit. From there, it pushes the air back into the room that is being heated by the fire.

Though fireplace inserts do not necessarily come with a blower, getting an insert that does have one can help to ensure that it works as efficiently as it possibly can. A blower on your fireplace insert can help to improve factors such as heat distribution as well as overall air circulation. This gives a boost to the efficiency level that the fireplace insert is able to operate at.

How Long Does a Fireplace Insert Last?

A high-quality fireplace insert can last you for many decades as long as you make sure to use it correctly and maintain it properly. This maintenance includes routine cleaning of the fireplace insert. Cleaning of a fireplace insert should take place at least once every year. If your fireplace insert gets used a lot, it will often be necessary to clean it more often than this. This cleaning should be done in conjunction with having your chimney swept at least once per year by trained professionals. Taking these steps can help to dramatically extend the longevity of your fireplace insert.

When you do maintain your fireplace insert correctly, it can often last you as long as 20 to 30 years. They are even known to last beyond this. The fact that you can get many years out of a fireplace insert is another reason why they are such a good investment for your property.

You can find out more about the topic of fireplace inserts by contacting our fireplace experts here at Fireplace Concepts Inc. We are proud of our reputation as the go-to team for all your fireplace service needs here in the Lexington, KY area. Contact us today to find out more about fireplace inserts or any of our other residential and commercial fireplace services. You can reach our office by calling (859) 258-2121 or you can leave us a message online and a member of the team will get back to you shortly.

Brent Littleton

Brent Littleton

Brent Littleton is the owner of Fireplace Concepts in Lexington, Kentucky. Fireplace Concepts installs fireplaces for home builders in the area and offers both residential and commercial fireplace solutions.