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.
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.