1) Introduction – What are fireplaces?
There is nothing better than the soft crackle and cosy warmth of a fire burning in your fireplace. Fireplaces are a stylish addition to any home but to find the best option for your home there are a few factors you need to consider.
The installation process may influence the type of fireplace you can have in your home. Wood or coal burning fireplaces need to be connected to a chimney for proper ventilation. If you do not already have an existing chimney, you will need to have one built.
Gas fireplaces do not need a chimney, but they do require a pipeline for pumping gas to the fire and ventilating fumes.
An electric fireplace does not need any installation beyond an electrical outlet, and fireplace inserts can be installed at any point in your home without the need for additional modifications.
3) Fireplace mounting
There are several methods for mounting your fireplace, depending on the effect you want to achieve.
A) Wall-mounted fireplace
A wall mounted fireplace is ideal for both classically and modern home design. They sit flush with the wall and can connect with your existing chimney or pipeline, however, this type of mounting is most often used with electric fireplaces.
B) Free standing fireplace
Free standing fireplaces allow you to seamlessly integrate your fireplace into the décor of your home. They can be built into entertainment systems or have a mantle built around them to give your home a more traditional feel.
C) Built-in fireplace insert
A built-in fireplace insert is an excellent alternative to traditional brick fireplaces and can also be a cost-effective way to replace your current fireplace rather than rebuilding the whole structure. Built-on fireplace inserts also offer versatility as they can burn a range of different fuel from gas to gel to pellets.
4) Fireplace fuel types
Choosing the right type of fuel for your fireplace can have a significant impact on the cost of operating a fireplace and finding the right aesthetic.
A) Gas fireplace
Gas fireplaces are easy to operate and are a great way to save money on your heating and electric bills. Natural gas is also kinder to the environment than traditional wood fireplaces and can be kept at a constant temperature.
B) Electric fireplace
Electric fireplaces are an economical heating option with no fumes for better indoor air quality compared with wood burning fireplaces and are cost-effective to install. Electric fireplaces are also less prone to corrosion and rust and require little maintenance to keep them running smoothly.
C) Gel fireplace
A gel fireplace is an efficient eco-friendly alternative to traditional fuel as it leaves behind no ash, smoke or soot. Gel fuel is alcohol-based and easy to use. It does not require a standard ventilation system, and each unit can burn for approximately three hours with the same realistic crackling sounds and ambiance of a traditional wood fire.
D) Wood burning fireplace
Wood burning fireplaces are the best option to cut your heating bill as well as offering a cosy atmosphere in your home. However, wood burning fireplaces do require modifications for installation and must be cleaned twice per year to avoid a build-up of soot and resin that can pose a potential fire hazard.
E) Ethanol fireplace
Ethanol fireplaces offer modern design and an eco-friendly fuel source with the added benefit of portability so you can install an ethanol fireplace in any location in your home without the need for access to electrical outlets or ventilation systems.
5) Fireplace features
Once you have decided on the type of fuel and fireplace, there are some additional features that you should look for to determine which model of fireplace would best suit your home. Some of these features include:
- Controls which can make operating the fireplace simple or give you the freedom to customise the level of heat and light emitted from the system. Fireplaces with remote controls allow you to change the temperature from other rooms in the house.
- Vents to allow fumes to escape and to improve indoor air quality.
- Finishes that fit in with your décor whether you prefer a sleek modern style or classic masonry.
- Viewing panels such as flat fronts that offer an unobstructed view of the crackling fire or the more traditional bay window.
- Logs whether artificial or real can add to the cosiness of your home.
6) Energy efficiency
Different fireplaces offer varying levels of heating efficiency according to the design and type of fuel they burn. The more efficient your fireplace, the more significant the reduction in energy costs and the smaller your environmental footprint.
Wood burning fireplaces may offer the best ambience, but they also have the least efficient combustion and heating. Fireplaces that use pellets can be up to 98% efficient and can also be controlled by the thermostat. However, natural gas fireplaces offer the best efficiency and can be easily turned on and off and produce up to 99% fewer emissions than wood fireplaces while still offering the same heat production.
To find the most efficient fireplace, consult local fireplace companies in London about the efficiency rating of the different types of fireplaces they stock.
7) Size of fireplaces
Fireplaces come in a vast variety of shapes and sizes, but a bigger fireplace does not necessarily mean that it produces more heat. The best way to find the right size fireplace for your home is to measure the overall size of the room as well as the ceiling height to determine the proportions of the fireplace. If you have an existing hearth and plan to install a fireplace insert, you will also need to measure the hearth opening and depth.
8) Costs of fireplaces
The cost of installing and operating a fireplace vary according to the type of fireplace and the type of fuel. Electric fireplaces are the most cost-effective option, and wood burning fireplaces are the most expensive to install and maintain but has a smaller impact on your utility costs.
A fireplace is a stylish and inviting addition to your home and can help to reduce your heating bill this winter. If you are interested in installing a fireplace in your home, consult your local fireplace company for a quote and information on the right fireplace for your home.