What size fireplace or insert should I get?
There are two things to consider when answering this question. First is the actual physical size of the fireplace or insert. The second is the amount of heat it produces. Heat is measured in BTUs (BTU = British Thermal Unit, a measure of heat output). While not always directly related, in most cases, as the physical size of a fireplace or an insert increases so does the BTU output.
Physical Size of a Fireplace
The size you choose is a personal design choice. (Never sacrifice safety for style and follow your local regulations and codes) It can be hard to imagine how a fireplace will look beforehand. You might want to consider using a colored painter’s tape and mark off various sizes until you get the desired fit and look for the room, which is personal preference; some want a large center showpiece while others may want something smaller.
With inserts, you lose the option of size preference. Inserts must fit into the existing space. Here are the measurements you need to obtain before purchasing an insert.
- Width: The distance from one side of the fireplace to the other. Measure the width at both the opening and back of the firebox.
- Height: The distance from the floor of the firebox to the top. Measure in the front and back to ensure the best fit.
- Depth: The distance from the opening of your fireplace to the back wall of the firebox
- Since the proper measurement is vital, don’t hesitate to measure more than once to ensure accuracy.
The BTU output can be just as important as the overall physical size of the fireplace or insert. If you are looking for a heat source for a larger room, more BTUs may be what you want. Keep in mind, the higher the BTU output, the more fuel/energy used. BTU output is often adjustable, so you can stay comfortable and use less fuel/energy during the various seasons.
Please be sure to consult your local regulations and codes before installation to ensure there are no limits on BTU output in the room where the fireplace or insert is to be installed.
How many BTUs for heating?
If you’re using your fireplace as a primary heat source, you must know how many BTUs you need. First, measure the room to get the total square feet.
Then, multiply the square feet by 20. This number is the minimum number of BTUs needed to properly heat the room. For example, if you have a 1,000 sq. ft. room then you would need at least 20,000 BTUs.