Hearth News

Learn Helpful Tips & Tricks from the Community

This handy guide is provided to assist you in choosing the right size and type of chimney liner for your home.


Kuuma VaporFire Wood Gasification Furnace - The VaporFire 100 and VaporFire 200 are indoor hot air furnaces designed to eliminate wood smoke, creosote and air pollution at the same time AND provide more heat to your home for each pound of wood burned. Click for info.
Upgrading your Existing Fireplace - Glass Doors, improved dampers, Firebacks and Heat Exchangers can help.

Ah, the Fireplace....that icon of luxury and relaxation that represents an escape from the pressures of everyday life. The flickering flames mesmerize and make one forget that most fireplaces add significantly to the cost of home heating! Yes, that big hole in the wall can be responsible for your having to work HARDER to pay your energy bills...and very few folks enjoy higher monthly bills.

Open fireplaces can vary greatly in their efficiency, typically being anywhere from -20% (meaning they lose a lot more heat than they gain) to as much as +10-20% positive.....which indicates that they deliver a small portion of the wood's heat back into your home.

You could certainly convert your fireplace with a fireplace inserted stove, but this can be an expensive proposition (approx. $3,000). Occasional fireplace users also may not want to change the look of their decor with such an installation. There are, however, some less expensive steps you can take to assure you are getting the most from your existing fireplace.


Having a good fireplace grate can increase the efficiency of a fireplace AND make fires easier to start and tend. Some grates are specially designed to make the wood fire radiate better into the room. An example is "The Grate Wall of Fire", which uses clever design to make the glowing part of the logs project heat forward. Note that this type of grate works best with open fires, when a glass door is either not installed or left open during the hottest parts of the fire.

An example of a high quality standard grate can be found in a product called The Self Feeding Fireplace Grate. These grates properly cradle the wood and allow for air to enter from underneath. The rounded design allow the wood to...

Fireplace Insert (Jotul)


If you enjoy using your fireplace but don’t like the associated energy costs, you might want to consider purchasing a fireplace insert. An insert is basically a wood stove designed to fit into a conventional open fireplace. Like wood stoves, new inserts must be EPA certified, making them clean burning and highly efficient.

Inserts are made from plate steel or cast iron and most have glass doors so you can see the flames. These appliances fit into the opening of the fireplace, with some models protruding onto the hearth. An insert which is extended out may be more efficient because the sides, top, and bottom provide additional radiant heat. Inserts often have blowers, which can significantly improve efficiency and the heat circulation. Blowers are usually mounted in the front or along the sides of the insert. Some blowers are controlled manually, while others are regulated by a thermostat.


In the past, most installers placed inserts in the fireplace without any chimney connections. This method, in some cases, allowed creosote to build up inside the fireplace, presenting a potential fire hazard. To prevent this, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) now requires that inserts be installed with at least (minimum) a positive connection to the chimney. Inserts must have a connector between the appliance outlet and the first section of the flue liner. This sends the smoke and gases up and out of the chimney more directly, minimizing combustible deposits that condense in the fireplace. Most fireplace insert installations will benefit from a full relining of the chimney, because the smaller pipe size will provide a better draft as well as an added margin of safety.

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