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Community and Q&A

Wood burning fireplace insert installation

Kris Anderson | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

Hello good people,

My miniature schnauzer demands a fire on cold winter nights here in the Greater Boston area, and so we’ve been burning through approx 3/4 cord of wood annually in our fireplace. 

In an attempt to make our little house more energy efficient, we are having a beautiful wood burning fireplace insert installed next week. 

Is there anything I need to ask the installers to do, in order to ensure that this is a most energy efficient install?

Here’s a link to the insert that we are getting:
https://www.pacificenergy.net/products/wood/cast-iron-inserts/alderlea-t5-classic-insert/

Best wishes, Kris

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Replies

  1. Josh Durston | | #1

    Make sure you get a proper air sealed block off plate installed in your chimney and preferably an insulated liner. Some installers put either nothing or a bit of insulation, but you'll let a good portion of the heat straight up the chimney without a properly installed blockoff plate and create a significant thermal bypass even when not using the insert.
    The forums at Hearth.com are a good source of information for questions like this.

  2. Expert Member
    Malcolm Taylor | | #2

    Good advice from Josh. Those Pacific Energy insets are great. The only worry is the chimney.

  3. Blair Keeling | | #3

    Hey Kristen

    Great alternative source of heat as well as a good way to re purpose that old masonry fireplace and actually make it efficient!
    I would first inspect the existing chimney for condition and cleanliness.
    If the old inner flue is dirty and full of loose creosote it is of great importance to have it professionally cleaned prior to installing a the new stainless liner serving your new wood insert . The reason for this is that creosote, being incompletely burned products of combustion from wood burning can potentially reignite under certain circumstances once subjected to the intense heat from the new system.

    Additionally, I second Josh's recommendation. An insulated blocker plate is important. We have even in special circumstances insulated the inner walls of the old brick fire box when it's on an outside wall. Especially when it's on a north side of an old leaky brick construction. This is obviously only done using the proper fire proof insulation approved by your local code authority.

    Lastly, it goes without saying. Only burn good, clean and DRY hard wood. Burn it hot and burn it clean!

    Good luck and enjoy the fire!

    1. Expert Member
      Malcolm Taylor | | #4

      Blair,

      The whole West Coast burns almost n0thing but local soft wood. We don't have hardwood. As you say, as long as it's dry it's fine.

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