Wood-burning fireplaces have long been a popular choice for adding warmth and ambiance to homes. However, they can be inefficient and pose a risk for fires. That’s where wood fireplace inserts come in, allowing folks to continue reaping the benefits of a wood-burning fireplace, while gaining a safer and more efficient heat source in the process. These are designed to be placed inside an existing masonry fireplace, venting through the existing chimney, and they are known for improving heat output and overall efficiency significantly.

That said, adding any new system to your home takes up time and expense. So, are wood fireplace inserts worth the investment? Let’s explore the pros and cons of wood-fueled inserts, along with any other important considerations before taking the plunge.

And if you have questions, reach out to the techs here at Wolfman Chimney & Fireplace. We’re here to help San Antonio homeowners with all of their fireplace repairs, maintenance, and more.


Benefits of Wood Fireplace Inserts

Wood fireplace inserts offer several benefits, including:

  • Rustic and real feel and look: Wood fireplace inserts have a special ambiance only matched by a true wood-burning fireplace. If you love the authentic sounds and smells or burning wood, this is the way to go.
  • Improved efficiency: Wood fireplace inserts can increase the efficiency of your fireplace by up to 85%, reducing your energy bills and environmental impact.
  • Increased safety: Inserts are designed to seal the fireplace opening, reducing the risk of sparks and embers escaping and starting a fire.
  • Better heat output: Inserts are equipped with fans and blowers that can circulate warm air throughout your home, providing more heat than a traditional fireplace.
  • Easy installation: Wood fireplace inserts are designed to fit into an existing fireplace, making installation easy and hassle-free.

Drawbacks of Wood Fireplace Inserts

While there are many benefits to wood fireplace inserts, there are also some drawbacks to consider, as well:

  • Upfront cost: Wood fireplace inserts can be a major investment, with prices varying depending on the model and its features.
  • Installation cost: Installation costs can add an additional expense to the overall cost, depending on the complexity of the installation.
  • Regular maintenance: Wood fireplace inserts require regular maintenance, including cleaning the chimney, ash pan, and air intakes. They also require storing wood and building fires.
  • Limited design options: Inserts are designed to fit into an existing fireplace, sometimes limiting design options and customization.

Considerations When Choosing A Wood Fireplace Insert

Proper Measurements

Fireplace inserts are not one size fits all. Therefore, it is crucial to take accurate measurements of your existing fireplace. Be sure to get accurate measurements of:

  • Length: Record the distance from one end to the other, make sure you measure this distance from the opening and the back of the firebox.
  • Depth: Record the distance from the back wall of the firebox to the opening of the fireplace. 
  • Height: Record the distance in the firebox from the top to the bottom and in the front and back.

If you’re uncertain, call us out to take a look for the most accurate analysis possible.

Size of the Space vs. Size of the Unit

Wood fireplace inserts are designed to heat rooms based on their size which is measured in thermal output, or BTU’s. The higher the BTU rating, the more heat is delivered. If you have a large room or space, you will want to ensure you choose a unit with a high enough rating to effectively heat the size of your space.

The shape of your space also impacts how to measure the room size. When measuring you want to be able to get an accurate idea of the square footage of the room. Once you have the square footage, multiply that number by 20 to get the minimum BTU number needed to effectively heat your room.

Wood Fireplace Insert FAQs

Q: Can wood fireplace inserts be used with gas logs?

A: No, wood fireplace inserts are designed to burn only wood.

Q: How often do wood fireplace inserts need to be cleaned?

A: Wood fireplace inserts should be serviced at least once a year to ensure proper functioning and to reduce the risk of fire.

Q: Are wood fireplace inserts energy-efficient?

A: Yes, wood fireplace inserts can increase the efficiency of your current open fireplace by up to 85%, reducing your energy bills and carbon footprint.

Q: Can wood fireplace inserts be installed in any type of fireplace?

A: No, wood fireplace inserts are designed to be installed in masonry fireplaces that meet specific requirements.

Consult With Us Today

Are wood fireplace inserts worth it? The answer depends on your needs and budget. If you’re looking for a way to improve the efficiency and safety of your fireplace, reduce your energy bills, and add more heat to your home, a wood fireplace insert are typically a solid investment. However, if you’re on a tight budget or don’t want to deal with the upkeep, keeping your traditional fireplace may be a better option.

Consult with one of our professionals to make the most informed decision possible. Call 830-620-9130 or reach out online today.