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Which Is Preferable: A Freestanding Stove Or Insert?

  • November 16, 2021
  • 4 min read
Which Is Preferable: A Freestanding Stove Or Insert?

So you’ve chosen to buy a wood-burning heating device but can’t decide between a standalone stove and a fireplace insert. Before making a purchase, there are a number of aspects to consider. Most homeowners choose the insert option if they have an existing brick chimney and fireplace. This is because the fireplace will be considerably more efficient (75 percent versus 0%) and the space can be used for the insert rather than taking up more room in the home as a freestanding stove would.

There are, however, additional considerations to consider. Where is the chimney in the house? An insert may heat the majority of the residence if the chimney is centrally situated and inside the building envelope. However, if the Fireplace is positioned at one end of the house, heat will be unlikely to flow to the opposite end of the house, even with fans. If the bedrooms are at the far end, this may not be an issue because most people prefer to sleep in a colder setting. However, if this site has communal living rooms, it may be too cool.

In this example, an insert may be built in the fireplace and a freestanding stove installed at the opposite end of the home in a big room such as a family room or sunroom. The entire house would be heated in this manner. If the house has a second floor, it will be heated by rising warm air from either type of equipment.

Another thing to keep in mind is that freestanding wood stoves have a bigger surface area that is heated by the fire in the firebox and then spread evenly from the top, front, and sides of the stove. There is no need for a fan to circulate the air around, but most stoves include one. In order to transport heat into other regions of the house, a blower and an insert are necessary. If the insert does not come with a blower, consider installing a tiny door fan designed for this purpose.

A professional fireplace sweep or hearth installer should install all freestanding stoves and fireplace inserts. This is not a do-it-yourself project because there are numerous factors to consider, such as clearances to combustibles, local codes, and proper installation of the stove and the stainless steel fireplace liner (for inserts) or Class A metal chimney pipe (for freestanding stoves), which is not common knowledge. Many jurisdictions demand permission and a particular license for installation, and many localities do not let homeowners undertake the installation themselves.

Your insurance provider will need to be told that this installation is being conducted, and they will want confirmation that it was installed by a professional. Otherwise, you may not be protected from fire damage caused by the appliance installation.

Some Basic Tips:

  • If the power goes out, the stove – whether an insert or freestanding – will continue to function and offer heat, which is very crucial in an emergency.
  • Consider buying two stoves to heat a larger house or ranch-style property.
  • If feasible, place the stove or insert it in the center of the house
  • If you place a stove on a lower level, consider installing open floor vents to allow heat to move to the higher floor.
  • Placing a wood-burning stove in the basement or lower level allows heat to ascend and heat the majority of the house, especially if there is a stairway nearby.
  • Never put a wood-burning insert in a prefabricated fireplace. This cancels the fireplace’s warranty and is against the law. It might potentially pose a fire threat. Manufactured fireplaces were designed and listed with specific components that cannot be changed.
  • Avoid the temptation of buying a used stove. The majority of these are older, non-EPA authorized unclean burning devices that are less efficient than modern types. They are unlawful in many areas.