Fireplace with water jacket vs. air fireplace. Which one to choose for your home?
Most of us dream of our own house where we can relax and feel safe. Many of us also dream that the heart of this house would be a fireplace with crackling logs. However, to go from dreams to realization the first thing is to choose the type of fireplace.

When to decide on a fireplace? Which fireplace should you choose for your home?

It is best to choose a fireplace insert at the building design stage, but there is nothing stopping you from installing it in existing houses.
Even though applicable regulations state that a fireplace cannot perform the main heating function in the house, it is an excellent device supporting the home heating system or even an alternative in the case of transitional periods such as autumn or spring.

When choosing a fireplace, you should consider how you will use your device and what its main purpose is. Currently, you can choose between air fireplace inserts and fireplace inserts with a water jacket on the market. The answer to which type to choose is not clear and depends on several factors.

How does an air fireplace work?

Air fireplace inserts, to put it simply, consist of a combustion chamber surrounded by a body and a heat exchanger placed above it. The heat generated during the wood burning process is collected by the exchanger and then transferred to the interior of the housing in which our fireplace is installed. Some of the thermal energy is also radiated through the front glass of our device. The fireplace casing is equipped with ventilation grilles, necessary for proper air circulation.

The lower grille is responsible for supplying air to the housing, while the upper grille is responsible for removing it. The so-called cold air is heated, traveling along the fireplace body and exchanger, and then discharged directly to the room where the fireplace is located. This type of solution is very convenient, because installing the fireplace is only a matter of connecting its flue to the chimney and installing the appropriate structure. In such cases, the fireplace insert serves mainly a decorative function and is used for recreational purposes - which, of course, does not mean that it does not have a heating function. Such an air fireplace can be successfully used as a heating device during transitional periods. In this case, it is important not to oversize the insert and not to install a high-power device in small rooms.

Air fireplace insert and DGP system

The air fireplace insert can also be part of the hot air distribution system, popularly called the DGP system. In this case, a dedicated distributor with stubs is placed on the fireplace exchanger, enabling it to be connected to a system of ducts distributing the heat generated during wood burning to adjacent rooms. It is best to install them during the construction of the house. In this type of solution, circulation grids should also be installed in the fireplace casing in order not to overheat the insert installed there.

Fireplace with a water jacket – how does it work?

Fireplace inserts with a water jacket have a water exchanger called the jacket directly above the combustion chamber, thanks to which the heat generated during the wood combustion process is transferred directly to the central heating system and/or domestic hot water system.

There are designs where the water jacket is more extensive and is located both above and around the combustion chamber. The fireplace insert works perfectly with the central heating boiler and can even replace it in transitional periods.

What are the advantages of a fireplace with a water jacket?

Although installing a fireplace with a water jacket involves additional work because it requires expanding the water installation with a new device, this solution brings many benefits.

Water flowing through the fireplace's water jacket receives the heat generated during combustion and transfers it to the buffer where it is stored. Then, depending on the needs, it is used to heat the house using radiators or to heat domestic hot water.

The insert with a water jacket should be installed in the same way as the air insert. Also in this case, part of the thermal energy generated during the combustion process is radiated through the front glass, which is why fireplaces with a water jacket have in their technical specifications information about what part of the power is received by the water system and what part is transferred directly to the room.

The choice of a water cartridge should always be consulted with specialists responsible for the design and implementation of the water installation, i.e. a plumber.

To sum up, fireplace inserts with a water jacket mainly perform a heating function. However, if they are equipped with appropriate design solutions and the water installation and its settings are made correctly, they can also provide a wonderful vision of fire during their operation.

Which fireplace should you choose for your home? Air fireplace or one with a water jacket?

Most modern fireplaces, both air and those with a water jacket, not only look attractive, but are also made of high-quality materials. Moreover, most of them meet the assumptions of ecodesign and, if burned correctly and ecologically (LINK to the blog), they do not harm us or the environment.

The fireplace we choose for our home depends on our individual needs and requirements regarding the role of the fireplace in our home. If in doubt, it is worth consulting a specialist who will professionally advise us on choosing a fireplace according to our needs.

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