Wood Fireplace Insert vs. Pellet Fireplace Insert: What’s the Difference?

November 12, 2015

pellets

While a glowing fireplace sounds like a wonderful addition to any home, it can also be a huge waste of resources. Older, traditional fireplaces can leak warm air out of your home, and let cool air in, raising your energy bills and leaving you cold and frustrated. But fear not, as there is another way! How can you enjoy the glow and warmth of a fire without the energy frustrations? A wood burning or pellet fireplace insert can heat your home safely and efficiently.

The Benefits of Fireplace Inserts

Fireplaces can add value to your home in many ways. They are often sought after by home buyers for their grand looks and the charming ambiance of the open fire. Unfortunately, these traditional fireplaces have a reputation for being inefficient at heating homes and requiring a considerable amount of maintenance. But did you know that a fireplace insert can offer you the benefits of a fireplace without the drawbacks? A fireplace insert is fitted into an existing fireplace, so you don’t lose the mantel and the looks, but you gain in heating efficiency and ease of maintenance.

Wood Burning Fireplace Inserts

A wood burning fireplace insert works similar to a wood stove, burning wood in a closed box that retains and radiates the heat better than a traditional fireplace. Wood is the more economical option in terms of fuel. Wood is in general less expensive than pellets, and if you live in a wooded area and are willing to chop up some wood yourself, you can even get it for free.

Another positive characteristic of a wood burning insert is its ability to work during a power outage, because it requires no electricity to run. A wood burning insert is also capable of producing more heat than a pellet stove, which is important if you rely on your fireplace insert to be a major heating source for your home. Another thing to consider is the regular maintenance required. Because wood does not burn as cleanly as pellets do, a wood burning insert will need to be cleaned more thoroughly and frequently than a pellet insert.

Pellet Inserts

Pellet inserts, like wood burning inserts, are also fitted into your existing fireplace. However, the pellet insert requires a small amount of electricity to continue running because it uses an electric hopper to feed the pellets. While this does mean less work for you, it also means that in case of a power outage your fireplace will also be out of commission and unable to heat your home unless you install a battery backup.

Pellets generally cost more than wood, but they burn cleaner, leaving less pollutants in the air in your home. They also save you time splitting wood if you don’t purchase it split. Because they are a cleaner energy source, pellets also do not create as much of a mess in your unit, requiring less maintenance in the long run. Another benefit of a pellet fireplace insert is the ability to control its internal thermostat, allowing you to be out and about and not have to “babysit” it.

What is the Best Option for your Home?

In review, a wood burning fireplace insert is generally cheaper and warmer, while a pellet stove is cleaner and requires less maintenance. If you plan on your insert being your home’s primary heat source during severely cold weather, a pellet insert simply cannot compare in heat output to a wood burning one. On the other hand, if you tend to be on the go and want a low-maintenance solution, a pellet insert can practically manage itself and allows the homeowner more flexibility. When choosing between a wood burning and a pellet burning fireplace insert, it is important to consider your family’s lifestyle as well. At Fireside Stone and Patio, we are experts in our field and are happy to work with you to determine which option is best for your home based on your situation.