Many times, when talking about chimneys, the cassettes and inserts (or inserts) are mentioned as if they were the same thing. To some extent, this is normal, as they have a series of common points that make them very similar, such as the fact that both models are integrated into the interior of already built chimneys to optimize heat and fuel. However, there are a number of elements that make an insert differ from the classic cassette. In this article, we will see those differences.
What is a chimney cassette
A chimney cassette is an installation made of cast iron or sheet metal, which is joined by a series of fittings and sealed with fire-resistant putty to prevent cracks that could feed the fire abnormally or spread it outside the chimney. Essentially, it is a chimney within the chimney, created to make the most of the heat and reduce the amount of fuel needed to heat a home.
The heating system of the cassette fireplace is through natural convection. The air passes through the metal body of the fireplace as it heats up, and cold air enters from the top, pushing the heat upwards. The hot air exits through the conducts created for this purpose and emits heat.
What is a fireplace insert?
A fireplace insert (also known as a chimney insert) is a type of stove that is installed inside an existing fireplace to improve its efficiency and performance. These inserts are designed to fit inside the fireplace cavity and can operate with wood, gas, or electricity.
The main purpose is to convert an inefficient fireplace into a more effective source of heat to warm a room or a house. This is achieved by generating a flow of hot air through the stove, allowing for greater heat transfer from combustion to the surrounding environment.
Chimney inserts are available in a variety of sizes and designs, allowing homeowners to choose one that fits their fireplace and heating needs properly. Overall, they are considered an efficient and environmentally friendly option for home heating.
Main differences between both insertable fireplaces
The main difference between the Cassette and the Insert is precisely this way of emitting heat. The insert can function in the same way, but it also has fans placed at the bottom of the chimney that push hot air upward. This system is called forced convection. The fans have multiple positions to increase or decrease the airspeed, one of which usually functions automatically as a thermostat, activating the fans when a certain temperature is reached.
Another point of difference between the two systems is related to the smoke outlet. Cassettes rely on the chimney draft to exhaust the smoke generated by the fire, while Inserts are usually equipped with an adjustable valve that opens or closes automatically, optimizing the draft to ensure regular combustion regardless of weather conditions or temperature fluctuations.
What types of insertable fireplaces are there
There are several types of insertable fireplaces, which differ based on the energy source they use to generate heat. Below, I will provide you with information about the three most common types:
- Wood-burning insertable fireplaces: This type of fireplace uses wood as fuel to generate heat. They are a popular choice because wood is a renewable and abundant energy source. They can be very efficient in heat production and can create a cozy and welcoming atmosphere.
- Gas insertable fireplaces: They use natural gas or propane as fuel. They are a popular choice because they are convenient and easy to use, and they can also be very efficient in heat production. They also have the advantage of not producing smoke or ashes, making them easier to maintain and clean.
- Electric insertable fireplaces: They work with electricity as the energy source. They are a popular choice because they are easy to use and do not require the installation of ventilation ducts or chimneys. They also offer a wide variety of designs and styles, making them ideal for a range of interior decorations.
- Pellet insertable fireplaces: They are a popular choice because they are convenient and easy to use, and they offer cleaner and more efficient combustion compared to traditional wood-burning fireplaces. They also produce less ash and require less maintenance than wood-burning fireplaces. However, they can be more expensive to install and maintain than other types.
Each type of insert fireplace has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to choose the option that best suits your heating needs and lifestyle.
Which system is better, cassette or insert?
The inevitable question is undoubtedly which of the systems is better. The truth is that the answer is not so simple, as there are a number of variables that can influence it. While it is true that the insert seems more sophisticated and therefore could be more efficient than the classic cassette, it may be the case that the latter is the best alternative to keep a home warm and save firewood.
If we simplify it a lot, we can say that a wood insert is the ideal option for taking advantage of an old built-in fireplace that we want to give new life to, while the cassette is a good option for quickly installing a new fireplace with minimal construction work. However, it would be an oversimplification to leave it at that. The important thing in both cases, however, is that the fireplace is well-made and the materials are durable.
Fireplace doors, the alternative to the insertable fireplace
If you want to improve energy efficiency and believe that the only option is to use an insertable fireplace (insert or cassette fireplace), we tell you that it is not so. There is an alternative, and it is the use of fireplace doors tailored by HotFireDoor to close the fireplace.
Both fireplace doors and insertable fireplaces can be efficient options to improve the performance and efficiency of a fireplace. However, there are some differences between the two options, and fireplace doors offer some specific benefits compared to insertable fireplaces.
- Easy installation – Fireplace doors are easy to install in an existing fireplace and do not require major modifications. Much easier to install than an insert or cassette.
- No construction required – With fireplace doors, there is no need for construction work since there is no need to insert anything inside the existing fireplace. The door is custom-made, so the closure is perfect, and it is the door that adapts to the fireplace, not the other way around.
- More affordable – Fireplace doors can be up to three times cheaper than insertable fireplaces.