Find Out Everything You Need To Know About The Best Fireplace Insert To Upgrade Your Existing Fireplace

When the thermostat drops, a cozy fire on a cold winter night is just what your home needs. If you have a fireplace in your home, you know how essential it is when making your home warm and inviting.

However, your existing Billings fireplace has seen better days. It could be drafty, inefficient, or an eye sore. Or maybe you’re looking to add a fireplace to another room in your home.

A complete renovation and brand-new fireplace could be the answer, but this home improvement project can be overwhelming and expensive.

So how can homeowners upgrade their existing fireplaces with minimal disruption to their daily lives?

The secret to a new, energy-efficient fireplace is a high-quality fireplace insert. Of all the types of fireplaces, gas fireplace inserts are a great way to update your fireplace to make it more efficient and beautiful.

So what is a fireplace insert, how are they different from traditional fireplaces, and which type is best for your home? Let’s find out.

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What is a Fireplace Insert?

The term “fireplace insert” is pretty self-explanatory: it’s a brand-new firebox inserted right into an existing fireplace. They typically are placed inside an older fireplace that isn’t functioning as it once did.

Fireplace inserts come with a glass front for gas inserts or a mesh screen over the fireplace opening for a wood-burning fireplace insert. Installing a fireplace insert into your existing fireplace offers lots of benefits, including:

  • Lower heating costs in the wintertime
  • High-efficiency blower to maximize heat output
  • Customizable design choices for face plates, log sets, and accessories
  • A smaller carbon footprint
  • Multiple fuel options
  • Install quickly with no significant renovations

A high-efficiency fireplace insert can add value to your home and bring a cozy ambiance to your living space.

Traditional fireplaces are built directly into your home. It consists of a firebox, flue, and chimney. On the other hand, a fireplace insert is a unit placed inside an existing masonry fireplace to improve functionality.

If you prefer the crackle, pop, and aroma of a traditional wood fireplace, you may be skeptical of the functionality of a fireplace insert and how it stacks up. But there are countless options, some that offer a traditional fire in a sleek, updated firebox.

Let’s look at how you can choose the best fireplace insert to upgrade your existing fireplace instantly.

How to Choose the Right Fireplace Insert

Once you decide that a brand new high-quality fireplace insert is suitable for your home, you’ll need to find the right one for your needs.

Choosing the best fireplace insert for your home can be challenging, with many available options. Here’s what you need to consider as you prepare to purchase a fireplace insert.

Wood Stove vs. Pellet Stove vs. Gas

The first choice you’ll need is which fuel type will work best for your home. This largely depends on which fuels are readily available and how you plan to use your fireplace insert.

Wood stove inserts use firewood to mimic a more traditional fire. They are designed to be placed inside an existing masonry fireplace and vents using the existing chimney and flue. They use cured firewood to create the flames, meaning homeowners must keep adding wood to keep the fire burning.

Pellet stove inserts work a lot like wood-stove inserts, except small pounded wood pellets fuel them. Once homeowners pour a bag of pellets into the feeder, the fire will burn for a few hours before requiring more.

Gas inserts can be turned on with the flip of a switch or remote control, making it easier to heat your home and create a romantic ambiance.

Fueled by a natural gas line or propane tank, gas inserts are ventless, meaning homeowners can place them in any room.

Size of the Room

Once you know which fuel will work best for your home, it’s time to figure out which model is best for heating your space.

If you are looking for your fireplace insert to act as a secondary heating source, you’ll want to ensure it has enough BTU power to make your living room, bedroom, or outdoor living space warm and cozy.

You can determine the number of BTUs you need by multiplying the cubic feet of your room by the desired temperature and times that number by .133. You’ll be left with the amount of BTUs necessary to keep your room at the temperature you’re more comfortable.

For instance, a 300-square-foot room will require 7000 BTUs to make it a comfortable temperature. Living spaces closer to 1000 square feet will need 18,000 BTUs.

A wood-burning fireplace insert will offer the highest BTUs. This is ideal if you have access to an abundant fuel source to keep a wood-burning fire going. They’re great if you’re looking for short-term heating in a smaller space.

You’ll get the most BTUs from a ventless gas fireplace since they don’t have any ductwork or vents where heat can escape your room.


Now that you know how to choose the fireplace insert with the best functionality for your home’s needs, it’s time to look for unique features that will make your new fireplace insert shine.

These features include remote control operation, stylish gas log sets, or customizable faceplates, allowing your new fireplace insert to blend seamlessly with your home’s decor.

There are countless options for creating a customized fireplace insert that will elevate your living space while improving your home’s energy efficiency. Consider visiting The Fireplace Center to see what fireplace insert styles are available to Billings residents.

You should also look for a model that comes with an extended warranty, meaning if something should go wrong, the manufacturer will step up and make it right.

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How Much Does A Fireplace Insert Usually Cost?

Many homeowners dream of upgrading their homes to reflect their unique tastes and modern style trends.

Adding a fireplace is a dream for many homeowners, especially in areas with long winters. However, home renovations are costly and can take months or even years to complete. So many shy away from revamping their existing fireplace.

A fireplace insert is a great alternative to completely redoing your fireplace. Including labor, fireplace inserts cost about $2,000 to $4,000, depending on your location, choice of fireplace insert, and fuel type.

How Do Fireplace Inserts Work?

Whether you choose a wood-burning, propane, or natural gas fireplace insert, you will create a warm, cozy ambiance in your living space that will lower heating costs and make your home more inviting.

But how do they work exactly?

A fireplace insert is a sealed box installed into your existing fireplace opening, instantly turning your old masonry fireplace into a highly efficient heat source.

They can be installed by a fireplace technician in as little as half a day. So you can schedule a fireplace insert installation appointment and enjoy your fireplace that night.

Zero clearance models can be safely placed directly against drywall, wood, or other flammable materials. Ventless models do not need to be attached to piping or a chimney.

However, direct vent fireplace inserts can connect to your home’s existing chimney to seamlessly transition from an inefficient fireplace to energy-star-level performance.

Fireplace Insert Maintenance Tips

A fireplace insert is the best way to elevate your home’s fireplace, lower your energy bills, and instantly upgrade your living space.

Once a fireplace insert is installed, you must maintain the fireplace insert it to ensure it lasts for years. Here are some tips for keeping your fireplace insert in top shape season after season.

  • Wood stove inserts: Keep the flue clean and inspect the firebox regularly. Clean the unit weekly to remove creosote build-up. Remove the ashes left behind from your wood-burning fire often and check your chimney lining to ensure no blockages.
  • Gas fireplace inserts: Clean the glass on your gas fireplace when it seems foggy or hazy. Inspect the thermocouple or thermopile to ensure the ignition system is working correctly.
  • All fireplace insert models: Install carbon monoxide detectors in every room of your home with a fireplace or fireplace insert and change the batteries regularly. Schedule annual maintenance for your fireplace insert. Not only will a fireplace professional ensure your insert is working correctly, but they can catch minor issues before they become costly repairs.

Routine maintenance is the best way to keep your fireplace insert looking and working like new. All it takes is a few minutes once a week and an annual fireplace maintenance call to ensure your home is warm and cozy all winter long.

Trust R & T Services For All Your Fireplace Insert Needs

Whether you’re thinking about installing a fireplace insert or ready to pick the best model for your home, R & T Services can help.

We’ve been serving the residents of Billings, MT, for over thirty years and know exactly what it takes to keep your home warm and comfortable.

Contact us today or visit The Fireplace for more information on how a fireplace insert can take your existing fireplace to the next level.