Wood and gas fireplace inserts make sense for inefficient fireplaces when a freestanding stove isn’t practical for reasons of space or aesthetics. Adding an insert can turn a hearth into a major source of household heat. Expect to pay as much for installation as for the unit itself—more if you have maintenance issues regarding the chimney or around the firebox. (Examples: The hearth underlayment isn’t masonry, or the chimney needs repair.) Decorative trimmings, including cast-iron surrounds and tile, are the cherries on top.
Shown with a realistic coal bed, the President Zero Clearance insert is ideal for old coal-burning fireplaces, requiring only 11" in depth and 26" in width. Despite its petite size, it can produce up to 15,000 BTUs. $2,400.
How To Measure Your Firebox
Inserts usually come in small, medium, and large; you’ll need to carefully measure several dimensions (as shown below) to determine the correct size.