A common question from those wishing to install a wood-burning fireplace into their home is: what is the difference between fireplaces and fireplace inserts? Although they both look similar, and both perform the same function, there are in fact some clear differences between the two:

  • Fireplaces

Fireplaces are self-operating systems capable of burning fuel for heat. They have their own chimney and flue system and come in two main types:

  1. Factory Built Fireplace

Pre-engineered fireplaces are constructed together with the chimney system and combustion air inlet along with controls for both. The factory-built fireplace is set in the home before being built around with framing and masonry.

  1. Open Hearth fireplace

Typically, these types of fireplaces are built on site by a mason. They provide a lot of ambience to your home, but their efficiency rating is much lower than a factory-built fireplace. Open hearths use an average of 300 cubic feet of air per minute, pulled through the chimney flue, so your home will need an adequate make up of air.

  • Inserts

These fireplace units are constructed and designed to fit inside an existing fireplace. Most homes that have an open hearth and wish to change tend to opt for an insert to help make their fires burn more efficiently.

Custom inserts can be costly due to the specific design process. They require a lot of steel, called flashing, which is installed around the insert to close off the area between the insert and the fireplace opening.

Now you know the difference between factory-built fireplaces and inserts you can make an informed decision about which would be the best option for you and your home. Visit Pearson Fuels coal merchants for your supply of smokeless coals and imported firewood to use in your own fireplace.