Q: Pellet, wood, gas… I’m so confused! What kind of fuel is right for me?
A: Use this great tool from Harman to learn about all sorts of fuel and decide what’s right for you. Still have questions? Give us a call for a consultation.
Q: What’s the difference between a fireplace and a fireplace insert?
A: A fireplace is simply a self-contained unit for burning fuel inside a home. It can be an “open hearth” masonry style or a factory-manufactured unit with a hearth/mantle constructed around it. A fireplace insert is, essentially, a stove designed to fit into your existing fireplace opening. An insert will also usually add a flue lining system to your existing masonry flue. The decision on which to use is simple – if you want to utilize an existing fireplace opening and chimney, you’ll need an insert!
Q: I see that hearths and stoves can be made out of steel, iron or soapstone. Is there any difference?
A: The short answer is yes, the material of construction determines how heat is transferred from inside the unit to the outside. Aside from cosmetic differences,
- Steel units typically have an outside wall or shell that promotes convection heat, so cold air will be warmed and then rise and move through your home. For that reason, they should also have a blower installed to promote heat distribution and efficiency. Steel units tend to be more modern in design and cost less than cast iron or soapstone.
- Cast Iron radiates heat and warms the object in a room, not the air itself. This warming process provides a steady source of heat for your home. Cast iron units are typically more traditional in design, are available in a variety of enamel colors, and don’t require a blower.
- Soapstone stores heat for a long time while radiating it consistently through your home. Soapstone units often come with a cast iron frame to hold the soapstone tiles in place. Soapstone also attracts and retains moisture, which decreases its overall heating efficiency when compared to iron or steel