Wood Burning Insert Installation: What to Expect & Why It’s Worth It

 Ambiance Outlander 19i wood burning insert with Hewn Mortise-Beam-Golden non-combustible mantel. Why choose a wood burning insert?

Revised 28 May, 2024

Do you have a masonry or inexpensive zero-clearance fireplace in your home?  If so, you can likely install a wood-burning insert and enjoy more heat.  

Would you like a warm family room without cold drafts from your old, leaky fireplace? Then, read on, as you're a great candidate for a wood-burning fireplace insert!


You likely have little control over the fire's airflow from an old wood-burning fireplace.  It means short burn times, poor efficiencies, and no control over heat output.  Nearly all the heat from an open burning fireplace is pulled up the chimney!  A wood-burning fireplace insert can fix all of that.

An insert is engineered specifically for fireplaces. DO NOT use a wood stove without legs as an insert. If something goes wrong, your house insurance will be void. 

Most manufacturers provide inserts to fit various fireplaces. So, depending on the size of your existing fireplace, your WE LOVE FIRE® dealer will have a unit that's a good fit. 

It would be best to look for the largest insert that fits into your fireplace opening. The larger the insert, the more heat you will get and the longer the burn time will be.

Controlling heat from a wood-burning insert is simple.  Most inserts provide a conveniently located primary air control. Typically it is an easy-to-use slide or knob.  By turning or sliding this control, more air means a hotter fire, shorter burn times, and more heat.  Conversely, less air means less heat and longer burn times with a similar wood load.


Your WE LOVE FIRE® expert can tell you from experience installing a wood-burning insert can be one of the trickiest jobs.  Typically, the steps are as follows:

  1. The installer will remove the damper to connect the liner to the insert. 
  2. They will lower a flexible 6" stainless steel pipe down the chimney. This is tricky as they must maneuver this heavy pipe through any offsets.  
  3. Next, with specialized equipment, the installer will carefully insert the heavy steel or cast iron insert (likely in the 200 – 400 lb. range) into the fireplace opening without damaging the hearth.
  4. The liner is secured to the flue collar on the insert.  Space is at a premium in the firebox. Usually, there is only an inch or two of space to work with to make the liner connection.
  5. Finally, they will fit decorative surround panels to cover the rest of the fireplace opening on both sides and the top.

Once the installation is complete, instead of a fireplace that might have an efficiency in the single digits, you now have something capable of delivering 20,000 to 45,000 BTUs of heat to your home!


Many wood-burning fireplace insert projects can cost between $5000 and $8000 to install. Your WE LOVE FIRE® expert can evaluate your situation and recommend high-performing equipment from Ambiance®, Supreme, HearthStone, and Napoleon.


Wood-burning inserts will provide radiant heat to the home, but WE LOVE FIRE® dealers advocate variable-speed fans. These fans come on and off with a heat-sensitive switch, providing convective heat and the radiant comfort you’ll enjoy.

Looking to give your fireplace a fresh, new look without breaking the bank? Consider natural stone veneers. These can transform your tired-looking fireplace into a stunning focal point, adding a touch of elegance and warmth to your home.

Also, consider adding a new, updated mantel above the insert. You’ll give your home's focal point an entirely different look and feel!

Wood insert, charming and efficient.

Ready to transform your fireplace and experience the ultimate in warmth and comfort? Don't settle for a cold, inefficient hearth. Contact your local WE LOVE FIRE® expert today. With decades of experience and a passion for all things fire, we'll guide you through the process, from selecting the perfect wood-burning insert to professional installation and ongoing support.

Say goodbye to drafts and hello to cozy evenings by the fire. Your dream fireplace is just a call away!

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