Choosing the perfect fireplace for those chilly nights
Nothing adds ambiance and warmth to a room than a fireplace!
A fireplace will most certainly add monetary value to your home. Over 50% of home buyers state a fireplace is a desirable feature, and 40% say they’d pay more for a house with a fireplace (according to House Logic.) However, a fireplace also adds intangible value to your lifestyle by creating a cozy gathering place for you and your loved ones. So if you are ready to add a fireplace to your living space, here are some important considerations for choosing what’s most suitable for your home and your lifestyle.
How will it be used?
Will it act as a romantic focal point or for purely decorative purposes? Most homeowners install a fireplace for the beauty it creates and how it adds to a room’s décor. Or, do you picture yourself curling up in front of the fireplace on a cold night? Then your goal may be to heat a room (or several rooms) by using it as a alternative heat source.
Where should you put it?
Choosing the perfect spot for a fireplace will depend on your personal taste as well as logistically where it can be installed in your home. The most common location for a fireplace is a family room because it will get the most use there. Although, some homeowners prefer a fireplace in the kitchen or bedroom. Consult a professional to assess where in your home a fireplace will most likely work within the existing construction.
What kind of fireplace?
Your desired location will help you determine fuel type. If you’re considering a wood-burning fireplace, you must choose an external wall. Contractors will also have to construct a chimney. New technology in both gas and electric fireplaces allow contractors to build fireplaces into any wall—or even no wall. A gas or electric fireplace can even stand in the center of a room.
Reflect on your home’s style
The style of your home should also be considered when choosing your fireplace. Fireplace design options range from traditional to modern. Traditional fireplaces typically feature stone or brick surrounds for a homey but rustic appeal. Modern fireplaces offer clean lines and minimalist construction. Look at photos of fireplaces and consider how they will with your room’s décor.
Types of fireplaces
The one, the only, the original. For purists, a wood-burning fireplace is the clear choice. These fireplaces are beautiful and create a comfy mood throughout your home.
Pros: Wood-burning fireplaces are easy on the eyes. They create a warm, magical feel that hearkens back to simpler, old-fashioned times. It’s hard to compete with the authenticity of red flames shooting from logs.
Cons: Construction of a chimney is necessary. If chimneys aren’t inspected regularly, however, the build-up of soot and other substances can be flammable. Wood-burning fireplaces don’t efficiently heat homes. The majority of heat they produce travels right back up that mandatory chimney. Plus, for every beautiful, roaring fire comes the required — and pesky — post-burn cleanup of ash.
NOTE: Opting for a wood-burning fireplace with cast-iron doors strengthens the impact of the heat. This feature also doubles as a safety measure to protect from flying embers.
Reminiscent of an old-fashioned fireplace, a pellet stove’s flicker of fire is seen from behind glass. Pellets, in dried form, are a renewable energy source unlike wood. A pellet stove is much lower maintenance than a wood-burning fireplace. You can pack them with 50 pounds of pellets and let it run for 24 or 48 hours.
Pros: Wood pellets burn cleanly and efficiently. They offer relatively good warmth compared to other fireplaces. Ash pans at the bottom of the stove make for easy cleanup. Pellet stoves can be installed on most exposed walls, giving homeowners tremendous flexibility.
Cons: Pellets are sold in large, heavy bags that require ample storage space.
NOTE: Firewood may come cheaply, but when in pellet form, the price goes up significantly.
Gas fireplaces don’t produce the authentic sound and smell of burning wood. The trade off is that they’re far more convenient. Not only do you have no cleanup, but you turn the flames on with the flip of a switch. Venting takes place through a PVC pipe in the wall, so you can place them anywhere. It’s also possible to control the heat emission with a thermostat.
Pros: Ceramic logs turn on instantly with a light switch or remote control; no kindling required. All components are enclosed in a burn chamber behind a sealed piece of glass, which makes cleaning up a cinch.
Cons: Seeing a flame spew from ceramic logs, instead of wood, is lackluster.
NOTE: Ventless inserts may have a higher efficiency rate, but the exhaust they produce is emitted into your home and can be alarming. Direct-vent units, which draw in outside air and expel the exhaust outside, are a safer bet.
Electric fireplaces may be the least realistic-looking. It is essentially an appliance. However, they are the most versatile. Electric fireplaces don’t require any venting, so you can place them anywhere — including in the center of the room. Their modern profile may even be an advantage if you have a contemporary-style home.
Pros: No worries of toxic fumes. They are mobile and can be moved from room to room, wherever there is an outlet.
Cons: They don’t produce much heat. When power outages strike, the fireplace will go out.
NOTE: In the winter, electric fireplaces will certainly jack up your utility bill.
Given the penchant for sustainable design these days, eco-friendly fireplaces that run on bioethanol — clean-burning fuel made from an alcohol produced by the fermentation of carbohydrates — are fast becoming another “high-end” option.
Pros: They run on neither gas nor flame — nor electrical outlet for that matter — and there is no smoke, ash, soot, or exhaust to contend with in the aftermath. It’s easy to clean.
Cons: They are the most expensive type of fireplace.
NOTE: The fuel comes in either liquid or gel forms, the liquid tending to burn a little longer than the gel.
For more about adding an addition, visit these websites:
Fireplace Trends and Designs for 2017 by House & Home
19 Types of Fireplaces For Your Home by Home Stratosphere
11 Different Kinds of Indoor Fireplaces by Compact Appliance
Here at Michael Roberts Construction, we make people’s home dreams come true in the Coastal Georgia area. All it takes is a phone call to start the road to a custom home, addition, or remodel. (912) 663-3141
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Michael Roberts artfully combines the latest trends in home construction with classic elements to create an exquisite space for real families to enjoy. Licensed by the State of Georgia as a residential home builder, he thoroughly enjoys every aspect of the home building process. He offers an exemplary hands-on approach to his craft and insists upon working with his customers on a personal level to ensure complete satisfaction. Michael Roberts is a name synonymous with integrity, notable reliability, enthusiastic creativity, and award-winning design in the Coastal Georgia area. With high standards, and a detail oriented approach to home building, Roberts builds functional living spaces that make elegant southern opulence an affordable luxury.