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What to Consider Before Buying Your New Fireplace

Modern zero-clearance fireplaces and powerful fireplace inserts can be assets to any home. If you’re thinking of buying a new heating appliance, here are a few things to consider before you finalize a purchase.

What is the purpose of the new fireplace?

Gas Fireplace Insert Installation in Boscobel, WIProbably the obvious answer is “to heat my home.”  If that’s the reason for your purchase, answer these additional questions:

Do I want a new fireplace because my masonry fireplace doesn’t produce enough heat? – If this is the case, have you considered a gas or wood fireplace insert? Inserts are factory-made and fit into your existing firebox. No construction modifications are necessary, and they produce three to four times the heat of your masonry fireplace.

Do I want the new fireplace in another part of the home? – If the answer is yes, then a zero-clearance (ZC) fireplace would be ideal.


ZC fireplaces come in many sizes and heat-efficiency ratings, making them perfect for both larger and smaller spaces. They’re highly insulated and add a touch of elegance to any room. Because they’re installed into a wall, some construction modifications will be required.

How much heat will you need?

By reviewing the manufacturers’ online specs for fireplaces you’re interested in, you can determine the right size and power of your new fireplace based on the square footage you want to heat. Top fireplace makers such as Kozy Heat, Marquis, Hearthstone and Enerzone offer a wide range of sizes and BTU outputs, so it won’t be hard to select the perfect model.

What’s best – gas or wood fuel?

This is an important consideration because gas and wood fireplaces have unique operational and maintenance features.

Gas-burning fireplaces:

  • Convenient – very easy to start and stop
  • Control heat levels with a button
  • Powerful heat production
  • Clean burns and minimal maintenance
  • Doesn’t require professional vent pipe cleaning

wood fireplaces installed by pros in highland wiWood-burning fireplaces:

  • The beauty of natural wood fires
  • Eco-friendly, renewable fuel source
  • Many stunning sizes, designs and finishes
  • Powerfully insulated ZC fireplaces are ultra-safe
  • Heat is always available during utility outages

How much maintenance are you up for?

All wood-burning fireplaces, stoves and fireplace inserts require a certain amount of cleaning and maintenance. Ashes and soot need to be cleaned out of the firebox, and the flue pipe requires annual chimney sweep services to remove flammable creosote.

For many homeowners, the beauty of natural wood fires makes up for the extra work. Gas appliances, on the other hand, require very little maintenance. Occasional wipe-downs and an annual safety checkup by a certified gas fireplace technician are about all that’s required. If you’re after simplicity, go with a gas fireplace or insert.

Do it yourself or hire a pro

While it’s possible for homeowners to install their new fireplaces or fireplace inserts, it’s always smartest and safest to have an experienced chimney and fireplace company do the work. Aside from ensuring that the unit is installed in accordance with manufacturer’s specs and in compliance with local building/fire-safety codes, a bonded, licensed fireplace professional will not void the appliance’s warranty with improper installation. If it’s time to look into a home-heating upgrade, Chimney Specialists of Highland, WI, is ready to get to work. Let us help you decide on the best type of fireplace or fireplace insert for your heating needs and aesthetic tastes and then install it safely and correctly. Get your questions answered or schedule a meeting by calling (608) 929-4887. In the Dubuque, Iowa, area, call Dubuque Fireplace & Patio at (563) 582-5156.

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