In years past homes were not heated by the modern HVAC units we have today. They were heated the old-fashioned way: by burning wood in either a fireplace or a stove – a simple and reliable method of heating a home that goes back thousands of years.
If you have never experienced the warmth of a fire as you relax on your couch, you are truly missing out on one of the finer things in life. It’s difficult to put into words the sensation you get on a chilly day when you curl up on your couch and sip a cup of hot cocoa as a crackling fire radiates its warmth near you. The entire experience could easily be summed up in one word – cozy.
Many modern homes are built with fireplaces in addition to their electric HVAC systems. Few new homes, however, are built with stoves. Fireplaces, unfortunately, are not as efficient as stoves. Much of the heat produced in a fireplace goes right up the chimney. Stoves, in contrast, radiate most of their heat into the home.
If a stove will warm a home much more efficiently than a fireplace, then why aren’t more homes built with them? It’s an issue of aesthetics. Most people consider fireplaces to be more attractive than stoves. Many also consider stoves to be outdated. And really, for many homeowners, fireplaces are more for looks than anything else.
If you purchase a home with a fireplace and you are interested in using it as either a primary or backup source of heat, then there is a very practical way to turn your inefficient fireplace into a cozy stove. You simply install a fireplace insert.
The Fireplace Insert Solution
A fireplace insert – sometimes also known as a wood stove insert – is a wood burning stove that has been designed to fit neatly into a fireplace cavity. Visually, it looks like a stove and even has stove doors. But instead of sticking out into your living space, the stove is recessed into the wall.
Fireplace inserts are every bit as efficient as traditional wood burning stoves, providing a great deal of warmth. Instead of most of the heat going up the chimney, like in a traditional fireplace, the stove holds the heat in place, letting it slowly radiate into the home.
Fireplace inserts can be purchased for just under $1,000, and the price goes up from there depending on the features you are looking for. They can be purchased from a variety of online companies. An internet search for “fireplace insert” turns up a number of great options. You can also find them at home improvement stores.
Fireplace Insert Installation
If you consider yourself handy with home improvement projects, you can install your own fireplace insert. The process is fairly straightforward. Written tutorials and video instruction can be found on the internet.
If you don’t consider yourself handy, or if you are afraid of doing something wrong, then consider hiring a professional to do the installation for you. Someone who specializes in household repair projects can probably do the job. You can also ask a chimney sweeper for recommendations. Installation can typically be completed in a day.
A Reliable Source of Backup Heat
With a fireplace insert, you never have to worry about freezing if it’s 20 degrees outside and the electricity suddenly goes out. You can have a nice, warm fire going in your stove in no time – a fire that can keep you and your family warm and safe.
The author grew up in a home with a wood burning stove and has many memories of enjoying its cozy warmth on cold winter days. Read more about him at his website.