I am trying to understand what options I have. It doesn't feel like the fireplace insert in my house is doing much good. My theories are that it is a POS or too small for the space.

The house is about 2600 sq ft over two stories and 10 years old. The main floor is open and has the fireplace on the South wall. The second floor is bedrooms and hallway. Typically I close the doors to the bedrooms during a daytime burn. The stairs are about midroom on the main floor. Each floor has it own furnace zone and thermostat.

The insert is 19.5x28 inches. 40k BTU/hr. 1300 sq ft. Even with the bedroom doors closed, it is clearly smaller than the actual footage.

I only burn oak that has been stacked for a couple years. The chimney is standard brick clearing the top of the roofline.

During a day long burn, the thermostat on the unit will say anywhere between 150 and 300 depending on the positions I move it and if the door is open/closed. Clearly it is putting heat into the room.

Throughout all of last winter, the thermostats on each of the floors did move. Not even a degree. It may be a small unit for the space, but I would have expected at least to make a dent at some point.

Long story short, I am trying to understand what I might do. As it stands, we don't have a heat source if the power goes out (baseboard forced water normally). My first goal is to figure out what the issue might be with this unit - the house, its layout, or the unit itself. I also don't want to go get a new unit if it wouldn't fix anything because of some other variable.

1 Answer 1


Fireplaces (insert or not, though insert is typically better than not) are usually a poor choice for heating a building, and are generally not intended for that purpose, but rather as an entertainment device.

As for the thermostats, they will simply stop circulating hot water if the fireplace is helping - making a dent in alternate fuel use - the temperature will only rise if the fireplace is supplying more heat than the building needs, which might require a very mild day and a hot fire, depending on the construction and insulation of the building.

As a rule, a woodstove is generally a far more effective heater than a fireplace of any sort. Some with a good window setup can still be pyrotechnic entertainment as well.

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