There are several benefits to having a fireplace in your home. They provide warmth, create a relaxed atmosphere, and offer an effective alternative to other costly heating methods. Installing a fireplace can also add value to your home. Whatever reason you have for wanting a fireplace, it is important to find one that suits your needs and accents the style of your home.
What Type of Fireplace is Best For You?
There are three main categories of fireplaces. Traditional wood-burning fireplaces are usually the first to come to mind. Gas fireplaces have become popular in recent years because they are cleaner and more efficient than their wood burning counterparts. Many people like electric fireplaces because they are relatively cheap and easy to install. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of each type and find out which one is best for you.
Open hearth fireplaces emit a lot of heat and the sounds of the roaring flames and crackling wood are unmistakable. With these fireplaces, those who live in colder climates will always have a source of heat and light even if the power goes out. With a little bit of imagination, you could even do some cooking. However, there are a few drawbacks to the open hearth design. To begin with, they aren’t very efficient. You also need a good supply of dry wood, and regular maintenance is required. Don’t forget that these fireplaces require chimneys which aren’t cheap to build.
There are also some risks involved when you leave an open hearth fire unattended. While the aroma of smoke can be appealing, it’s not for everyone. Of course, enclosing an open hearth with a fireplace door makes the fire more efficient and reduces some of the associated hazards. If you want to maximize the efficiency and safety of your open hearth fireplace, consider installing an insert. These enclosed units simply fit into the existing fireplace. The best fireplace inserts burn cleaner and provide plenty of heat.
Not everyone wants to go through the hassle of chopping wood and manually building a fire. Furthermore, finding dry storage space for your firewood may pose a challenge. Gas fireplaces eliminate all of those problems and then some. Whether you’re fueling your fire with natural gas, propane, or eco-friendly fuels like ethanol and isopropyl gel, you can be confident that your fire is clean and efficient. Unlike wood-burning fireplaces that require a chimney, gas fireplaces only require a simple exhaust vent which is immensely cheaper. Some modern units don’t even require a vent. You can also instantly ignite a blazing fire with the flick of a switch.
On the flip side, gas fireplaces need a fuel source such as a natural gas line. This could be costly if your house is not set up for natural gas. There is also the issue of ambiance, or lack thereof when compared to wood burning fireplaces. Gas fireplaces are nearly silent and they don’t emit that pleasant smell of burning wood. While some logs look real enough, they’ll never burn like real wood does. Still, the benefits of gas fireplaces outweigh the drawbacks. Especially where cost is concerned.
Electric fireplaces are easy to install and are perhaps the most cost-friendly option. In fact, they are often the only option for those who live in apartments or other residences where venting is a non-starter. Electric fireplaces are ideal for smaller spaces and they come in a wide variety of designs. Setting up an electric fireplace isn’t much different from setting up a television. Once installed, simply plug it in and turn it on. Many modern units even come with remote controls and the option of turning the heat on and off. Sure, you miss out on the realistic sights, sounds, and aromas of a wood-burning fireplace, but they are more efficient and far cheaper.
As with most other construction or home renovation projects, you need to establish and stick to a budget. Once that is established, consider the pros and cons of each type of fireplace and select the one that suits you and your family best. Whether you are starting from scratch or renovating your existing fireplace, you want to pick a design that enhances the style of your house. Look at each one and imagine how it would compliment the rest of the room.
Obviously, keep in mind that a roaring wood fire in a small room will probably be quite uncomfortable. Similarly, small electric fireplaces aren’t great for heating large rooms. You can always turn to a professional if you are uncertain about what fireplace and fireplace design is best for you. After all, you want to get the most out of your investment.