Installing a fireplace insert is a great way to add a homey touch to any house. As times have changed, alternatives to standard fireplaces have made including such accoutrements to a house safer and still as enjoyable as an old fashioned stone hearth. Besides gas inserts, the major question homeowners will face is if they want their insert to use wood or pellets. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s best to know the differences before making a choice.
Wood is the standby for renewable energy and for fireplaces. Selecting chord from a local seller or chopping your own from some nearby woods are strong memories and motivators for many who want to have a fireplace or similar apparatus in their home. Wood stove inserts are great because wood is cheap, requires little maintenance beyond regular cleanings, and has very little in the way of extra parts. All you need is a place to set the wood on fire, wood, fire starters, and you are set.
The fewer parts your insert has, the easier cleaning will be, and thus the cheaper it will be to maintain. You also can’t beat the ambient crackle and color of flames produced from wood. Sound bites and gas can’t beat the old fashioned feeling of sitting around an actual fire, fending off the cold while wooden logs and sticks merrily burn before you. Safe and easy to use, the amount of heat generated is based largely on the type of insert used, how much wood you’ve piled on, and how close you are to the fire.
Pellets, the alternative, are composed of various organic material, from corn to charcoal. Instead of loading up logs and sticks into the insert, you load a hopper with pellets. Pellet inserts require electricity, as the rate of burn and size of the fire are adjustable depending on the hopper and amount of pellets. So they are a little more involved than a wooden insert, and as a result require more regular maintenance. Weekly cleanings of the hopper are recommended to ensure proper burning when in use.
The cost is similar to wood and gas, though it should be noted you are using electricity with a pellet insert. The flame production is about the same as with wood, though it doesn’t have the same ambient noise as wood. You might hear the electrical work, though. Pellet inserts are great generators of heat and extremely easy to install, with costs similar to their gas and wood counterparts.
Whether you decide to go wood or pellet for your fireplace insert, the choice really depends on personal preference. If you enjoy the old fashioned crackle of wood burning, enjoy bringing in logs from some nearby woods or going to the fireplace wood place at the start of the year, go with wood. If you want an easy to load system that generates lots of heat, go with pellets. Both are perfectly fine ways to enjoy a fire and a way to stay warm in the cold season.