Can I install an insert in any old fireplace?

Installing an insert in your old fireplace could considerably improve its energy performance. But first, make sure the chimney is compatible. Some points should be checked by a professional. Is the chimney up to current standards? Is the conduit suitable? Is there work to be done beforehand? We take stock of the compatibility of your old fireplace with the installation of an insert.

Why an insert? First to heat better…

Although it does not lack charm, your old fireplace is not the champion of thermal performance. A wood fire in an open hearth only heats part of the room, especially if it is largeā€¦ You can hope for much better by installing an insert. Your energy efficiency will then go from about 15%, in traditional mode, to more than 70% with an insert!

Note that you will also make savings Of wood. The insert having a much slower combustion, your stock of wood decreases less quickly. Another advantage: unlike an open hearth, a fire under an insert emits no pollution in the outside air. You keep it pleasure wood fire, and the warm atmosphere it gives to your interior, while gaining in comfort. Side aesthetic, you don’t lose anything either. A contemporary insert will not harm the character of your old fireplace, quite the contrary.

Ask for a professional diagnosis

The installation of an insert in an old fireplace requires a preliminary diagnosis. Only a professional certified can ensure the feasibility of the installation. All chimneys are not compatible, a technical inspection of conformity is essential.

The professional inspected in detail different aspects of your fireplace, in particular the size and configuration of the hearth, its location, as well as the condition of the flue. He identifies and dates the work, assesses the needs and advises you on the choice of insert, in compliance with regulatory constraints.

The diagnosis indicates the necessary adjustments. It is possible that the works to be carried out are important. Before launching them, the professional helps you to assess their profitability. If necessary, it may be necessary to break up the existing fireplace to make a new one, compliant and adapted to your interior, perfectly suited to receiving an insert.

Is your fireplace compatible with an insert?

Here are the questions a smoker asks when examining an old fireplace:

  • Is the hearth of the fireplace large enough to fit an insert?
  • Is the chimney insulation up to standard?

If the oldest fireplaces, built in the thickness of the wall, often have a rather large hearth, the more recent fireplaces are of various sizes. Built in extra thickness of the wall, the hearth is sometimes not very deep, too small to envisage the installation of an insert. Anyway, the size of the insert is always smaller than the hearth.

Proper insulation is essential to the safety of the installation. The hearth must be properly insulated, and outside air inlets must be installed to optimize draft. Also plan the installation of an easily accessible chimney sweeping hatch.

The essential point: a good chimney flue

If your conduit is not suitable, if it does not comply with the regulations in force, do not count on your insurance to compensate you in the event of a fire. When it comes to your safety, the rules are strict.

Is the sealing of the duct up to standard?

The role of the flue in the evacuation of smoke is essential to the proper functioning of the insert. It must be perfectly sealed and insulated from the frame. The safety distance of the duct from flammable materials, such as the frame, partitions or load-bearing walls, must be at least 8 centimeters. The airtightness of the duct is all the more important as the fumes from an insert are much hotter than those from an open hearth. As the rise in temperature is higher, the insulation must be perfect.

What is the shape of the duct?

The duct should rise as straight as possible, without sudden changes in direction, to avoid tar and smoke deposits. It must exceed the ridge by at least 40 cm.

Is the size of the flue pipe sufficient?

If your flue is not correctly sized in relation to the size of the insert, the risk is its rapid clogging, causing a fire. What is important is that its size matches the draw and power of the insert.

Is there a need for tubing?

If the old duct is in poor condition, it will not ensure correct evacuation of the fumes from the insert. If it turns out to be insufficient, the professional can offer you the tubing of the conduit. This evacuation tube, placed inside the duct, offers all the safety necessary for the operation of an insert.

Hire a pro for insert installation

As we have seen, the installation of an insert in an old fireplace presents certain difficulties. The presence of a hood, for example, can complicate the installation. The intervention of a certified QualiBois specialist is always desirable, especially if you wish to benefit from a ten-year guarantee. As part of an energy renovation, calling on a professional allows you to obtain a VAT reduction and a possible tax credit or eco-loan.

With it, you can study the possibility of a heat recovery system coupled with your insert. Thanks to this ventilation system, the hot air can be distributed throughout the house and not just in the fireplace room. Isn’t life beautiful?

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