A pellet insert can be thought of as a wood-fired furnace. It requires power and has an auger motor to feed the pellets, a convection fan to blow air into the room, and a combustion fan. In comparison to wood, pellet stoves are typically noisier due to the fan and auger operation and they have higher maintenance costs. However, most people find a pellet appliance significantly easier to operate and cleaner than wood. Pellet stoves are typically self-lighting, self-regulating, and can be controlled with a thermostat, with less possibility of over-or-under heating. Fuel costs are similar to wood and natural gas, but significantly less than propane.
- Cast Iron back plate/shroud gives a built-in look
- Comes with optional enamel finish that enhances look and is easier to clean
- Often fits more applications than cast iron due to less weight and flexibility with the back plate/shroud.
Zero Clearance Kit
- This kit allows your insert to be installed as a fireplace
- Most pellet inserts have a zero clearance kit option that must be used if the insert is not installed into an existing fireplace. Consult the installation manual for the pellet insert you select for details.
Fireplace insert for existing home
Add a pellet insert into an existing fireplace to turn it into an energy efficient heater. The insert must go into a working fireplace.
New fireplace in new construction or remodel
Most pellet inserts can also be inserted into a framed wall if installed into an optional “zero-clearance kit.”. This kit guarantees proper clearance to combustibles. Rigid L-type double wall stainless venting is used and vented to the outside of the house versus using single-wall flexible stainless venting up an existing chimney for an insert.
Zone heating saves money
An insert delivers heat most efficiently to the general area where it is located. If located in a central part of the house, and the central heating is turned off or down, the insert will heat the common areas while delivering less heat to the hallways and bedrooms. Heating in this manner generally saves about 20% on heating bills.
Large common areas are often too cold
Large common areas often have large windows and not enough heating ducts. Inserts offer supplemental heat and comfort.
Open wood burning is heavily regulated. EPA approved, low emission pellet appliances are typically either exempt from “no burn days” or far less restricted.
Key decision points
Insert heating capacity is key
Heating capacity is a function of BTU’s multiplied by efficiency. Verify that the insert is capable of heating the desired space. Note that some homes are difficult to heat with a zone heater due to lack of insulation or excessive heat transfer to other rooms, upstairs areas, or tall interior ceiling areas.
Will it work in your fireplace?
If your home is newer than 1980, you likely have a zero clearance fireplace. Some pellet inserts are too big to fit into an existing zero clearance fireplace.
Is your hearth deep enough?
Pellet inserts extend onto the hearth and generally require six inches or more from the insert door to the end of the non-combustible hearth. Your hearth may need to be extended. Custom Fireside offers hearth extension pads that can be laid or fixed in front of the existing hearth to meet this requirement.