We know our fireplace needs some love. Upon the chimney inspection it was noted that there are 2-3 cracked flue tiles that would need to be fixed in order to make it be a functioning wood burning fireplace again. Since the chimney’s crown is non-existent the exterior chimney bricks have started to crumble. Basically because there was no crown on the top of the chimney – water was able to work its way down the chimney and into the bricks – and with our cold Rochester winters – the water expanded and contracted and crumbled the bricks.
It was advised that 15-20 rows of brick will need to be taken down and re-built. It was also advised that instead of replacing the flue tiles in the chimney that an insert might be a better option, to get the most heat out of the fireplace.
The new house is only fueled by electric (a local municipal electric company, means it’s cheap), which means there are no gas lines in the area. That means we theoretically we have 3 options:
- Propane insert
- Wood burning insert
- Pellet stove insert
All options would be more efficient than just fixing the flue. And for a similar price.
We ruled out the first option, propane insert, pretty quickly. We don’t love the idea of a propane tank, the cost of propane, and filling it multiple times ($$$) during the winter.
We are currently stuck on whether to go with a Wood burning insert or a Pellet stove insert.
Wood Burning Insert:
- Stacks of wood somewhere in the yard is not the most appealing thing to me, but wood could be readily available.
- Design-wise I like that some of these models are available flush with the fireplace (see photos below)
- Can be started at any time as long as wood is available.
Pellet Stove Insert:
- Keeping bags of pellets somewhere dry – most likely finding a spot in the garage.
- Design-wise – typically they come out further on the hearth of the fireplace.
- If there is a power outage, a pellet stove would not be helpful for warmth as electricity is needed to keep the pellets fueling the fire. There are battery backups available and/or a generator would be needed.
It doesn’t help that each set of parents are ‘rooting’ for the opposite option.
Does anyone have any words of wisdom on this? Any fireplace experience?
I’ll follow up on this once we move forward with a decision.