November 1, 2011
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What is the difference between a fireplace and an insert?

There is a lot of confusion about the difference between a fireplace and an insert. The actual definitions vary by region, I will explain the main differences between the two categories.

Category I – Fireplaces

A fireplace is a self operating system that is able to burn fuel. A fireplace will have its own chimney flue system. There are two main types of fireplaces:

1. Factory built fireplace – Acucraft manufactures factory built fireplaces that are pre – engineered systems where the chimney system and combustion air inlets along with controls for both are incorporated. The factory built fireplace is set in the home and built around with framing and stone.

Factory Built Fireplace
The fireplace on the right is a factory built fireplace by Acucraft and the fireplace on the left is the same fireplace with our insulated panel system.

Installed Fireplace

The fireplace installed above  is the completed factory built fireplace. This fireplace has the rustic arched doors with grids.

2. Open hearth fireplace – Open hearth fireplaces are typically built on site by a mason. The firebox is lined with real firebrick. Open Hearth Fireplaces provide alot of ambiance, however, the efficiency is appx -35%. The average open hearth uses very little outside air combustion and appx 300 cubic feet of air per minute is pulled from your home and goes up the chimney flue. Please note: all Acucraft wood burning fireplaces can be operated as an open hearth by simply removing the doors or burning with the doors open, providing your home has adequate make up air.

Open Hearth Fireplace
Open Hearth Fireplace – They will provide some heat for the area around the fireplace, however they are very inefficient and alot of the heated air in your home will go up the flue. Turn up the furnace prior to starting a fire.

Category II – Inserts

Inserts are units that are designed to fit inside an existing fireplace. They are most popular inside the open hearth fireplace because they can help the system burn more efficiently. Custom inserts are very expensive and difficult to design. Many Inserts require a lot of steel around the insert, called flashing, to close off the area between the little insert and the fireplace opening.

Wood Burning Fireplace Insert
Custom Wood Burning Insert

Acucraft does not manufacture Fireplace Inserts. Because we design our fireplaces to create more heat than any of our competitors, a traditional flue system will not handle the heat output our fireplaces create. We require a Class A Flue system with our fireplaces to ensure safety.

We hope this post helped explain the difference between a fireplace and an insert. As always, if you have any questions please call us to further identify the perfect solution for your needs. 763.263.3156 and ask to speak with a selection specialist.

Happy Burning

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