There is no need for a heated discussion, so here’s the scoop on selecting the right fireplace for your home.
Legitimate gripping in the winter would be about stuff such as driving on ice, having to wear layers of clothes, and extremely cold weather. Yet, cold weather has its romantic side, like when two people spend their leisure together nestled by the fireplaces. Who is going to argue about sitting by the fireplace drinking wine on a cold evening, staring into the flames? Time and technology has made the installation of fireplaces much easier than it once was, even the less fussy fireplaces that need no chimneys have been made easy to install these days. The general manager at Phoenix based Diversified Builder Supply Inc., PJ, gives information on five different fireplaces, which includes an idyllic, an old time-wood burner, and electric fireplaces that are portable.
“Keeping up a wood burning fireplace regularly can be a challenge,” says PJ, Yet, many homeowners want them. PJ also stated that “It seems to be the open faced fireplaces that you see every year on Christmas cards that most people prefer,”
Why wouldn’t they? With breath taking flames, a spark flying now and then, entwining pieces of wood – which if you think about it, these things create an aura of peace and comfort. Jane Whitman, a native of Dutchess County, once had, not one, but two wood-burning fireplaces in the Hyde Park home that she lived in, yet, she said that “With all the maintenance involved in keeping them up, that it wasn’t worth it, and that they did not burn correctly all of the time.”
Having to bring in wood every night is quite the responsibility, and when it all said and done, these beautiful fireplaces are not heat efficient. According to PJ. “The little bit of heat these fireplaces give off is mostly sucked up the chimney.”
Pro 1. Fireplaces can set an atmosphere of the days gone by.
Pro 2. It doesn’t get much better than sitting in front of the fireplace on a cold evening, watching as the flames shoot from the logs.
Pro 3. Fireplaces require zero electricity to run, saving you on your electricity bills
Con 1. If you have a fireplace, it is necessary to have a chimney, which will consist of keeping it regularly maintained because of the soot and other substances it can build up can be flammable.
Cont 2. Most of the heat from a wood burning fireplace gets sucked up the chimney (which is mandatory), thus, heating with a fireplace that burns wood is not efficient for heating the entire home.
Con 3. There is as much work in taking care of a wood burning fireplace (ash clean-up, firewood chopping) as there is beauty in its appearance when the fire is roaring and flames entwining one another.
Special Option 1. Choosing a wood burning fireplace with doors that are made of cast iron will increase the heat it gives off.
Special Option 2. Cast iron doors is a feature that will serve more than just one purpose, as they will also give you the feature of an added safety measure by protecting your home from flying embers.
Tips On Designing
A majority of fireplaces are made with bricks, including the chimney, (sometimes stone or metal) designed and crafted in a way that makes one feel cozy. However, you may prefer one of the pre-fab fireplaces, these contain metal fireboxes that have refractory bricks, and give off an appearance of being industrial. You can give your fireplace a little more drama by having a glass screen, referred to as a ‘peek-a-boo’. You can also give your fireplace a rustic appeal by adding a ‘stone veneer’ or surrounded with a ‘wood frame’.
This is the type of fireplace that is going to put an atmosphere of ‘back in the old days’ in your home. You will be able to watch the flames as they flicker through the glass screen protector, giving a true feeling of being back in time. There will be a noticeable difference due to the dried form of the pellets used being an energy source that is renewable.
PJ stated that “A pellet stove is a great alternative.” To top it off, it takes less maintenance than does the wood burning fireplaces. Another terrific thing about this type of fireplace is that it will let you fill it with enough pellets for it to keep running for up to 24 to 48 hours at a time.
Pro 1. It lets wood pellets burn more efficiently, with less ashes to have to keep cleaning on a regular basis.
Pro 2. It will give your home good heat as opposed to the other types of fireplaces.
Pro 3. It will be much easier to keep the ash pan (located under the fireplace) cleaned up.
Pro 4. The pellet stove lets you be more flexible, and it can be installed about anywhere on an exposed wall, the same as a washer and dryer.
Con 1. Pellets are sold in large bags; this creates a need for ample storage space.
Con 2. Because pellets are made from processed wood, they are generally more expensive than traditional firewood.
Con 3. Pellet stoves require electricity to run, increasing your electricity bills
Con 4. If pellets aren’t available near you, you may have to have to pay to have them shipped to you.
Special Option 1. The wood for a fireplace can be bought rather cheaply, However, purchasing in pellet form is going to be costlier.
Special Option 2. Usually created from cast iron, which is heavy duty and having an enamel finish, pellet stoves presents itself as you would like, ‘charming’.
All homeowners would find fireplaces more attractive if they were easier to care for, or even did not require any maintenance at all. “This is the type closest to that you are going to find, which includes Whitman’s,” PJ said. This being the most popular with his customers, due to how simple its installation is, as well as how well it heats.
Whitman moved into one of those Phoenix condo’s soon after the passing of her husband, and spent time remodeling what was going to be her new home, which meant a fireplace in her new living room that was going to be easier to keep-up and with low maintenance. She made the statement “I do love it, all I have to do is push a button when I want to turn it on or off because of its thermostat control, it looks terrific, and heats the home great too.”
Gas fireplaces only require the flop of a switch for some heat and you do not have to go out and gather wood for it. Instead of having a chimney like a wood burning fireplace, the gas fireplace has gas that comes through a pipe (PVC) that runs through the walls of the home, this is the way it vents, making it more convenient to homeowners to place it wherever they want to.
Pro 1. With a gas fireplace you only need to turn a button or push one and the ceramic logs automatically light, no wood to bother with.
Pro 2. Everything will be behind the glass or in the burning area, making the clean-up easy.
Con 1. Many homeowners do not have the feeling of a real fireplace knowing the flames are coming from ceramic logs.
Con 2. You will end up spending more on gas or propane than you would on wood or pellets.
Although vent-less inserts may be higher in their rate of efficiency, it is alarming to know that they produce an exhaust that is emitted throughout your home. You could choose to use direct venting units which will pull the air in from outside as it expels the exhaust to the outside, and these would be the safest.
Designing Tips For Gas Fireplaces
Usually, this type of fireplace will be encased by granite, slate, and/or marble and occasionally, the masonry may be stacked in many different pieces in various shapes and sizes. This type of fireplace will also make the home feel luxurious. PJ once said that, “Always use materials that are non-combustible, you do not want them to ignite, one can even use ceramic tiles.”
An electrical fireplace is no different than a refrigerator, or a toaster for that matter, because it is merely another appliance. It is a good thing that it does not produce flames in the long run, which will give it a longer life span. This type of fireplace can even be moved from one room to another, making it more easily accessible.
“However, you are not going to get a lot of heat for your home out of this type. This may be a little dis-appointing to homeowners, but on the other hand, it would be great for places such as hotels and restaurants,” PJ said.
Pro 1. With an electrical fireplace you do not have to worry about any fumes.
Pro 2. The only type of fireplace that is mobile, which makes it so convenient.
Pro 3. Electrical fireplaces are less costly than either, gas or wood. All you have to do is plug it in and you got your fireplace.
Con 1. Your wood fireplace is going to continue to work even if there is a power outage.
Con 2. An electrical fireplace is of course, an imitation to the wood burning fireplace, and there will be many who will never come to terms with that.
Con 3. The style options are very limited than with traditional wood fireplaces and gas fireplaces, and you may not be able to find a style that suits your décor.
Option 1. Electric fireplaces will certainly hike up the electric bill in the winter time, just like an A/C unit does in the summer months.
Design Tips For Electric Fireplaces
Choosing wood veneers for your fireplace may give your home that country look, but, you might want to give something new a try, such as tempered-glass panels.
These days, having echo-friendly fireplaces with sustainable designs and running off of bioethanol, which is a clean burning fuel that is made using the fermentation of carbohydrates using alcohol. This type of fireplace is becoming another high end option for people. According to PJ, “this type is modern, and considered to be linear, however, they do provide more than just a great flame, they also will give you a minimal of heat for your home.”
Pro 1. This type does not use gas or flame – and does not need an electrical outlet. It does not put off any smoke, soot, ash, and has no exhaust for you and your family to worry about breathing.
Pro 2. Easily cleaned.
Pro 3. It is pretty much sleek and looks good. It is a bioethanol fireplace that can double in its design by being a striking part of your homes furniture.
Pro 4. You can even use this type of fireplace in your backyard.
Con 1. This is a more expensive type of fireplace. A cheaper fireplace might sound inviting, but you are compromising on quality.
Con 2. The bioethanol fireplaces do not give you as much heat as you would get from gas.
Con 3. Installation could possibly be expensive depending on the type of fireplace you decide to get.
Con 4. While the flame is beautiful, it will never match the crackling and popping like a real fire.
Option 1. You can get the fuel for this type in either liquid or a gel form, in fact, the liquid fuel tends to burn longer than does the gel form.
Design Tips For Bioethanol Fireplaces
This type of fireplace gets its polished, fashionable edge from designs using tempered glass and also brushed steel.