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Fireplaces: Getting Ready For Flue Season Never Felt Better

Fireplaces exist in various types and materials. Before you purchase that new fireplace, here are some tips to help you figure out what type of fireplace is best for you, your family and home.

Posted in Fireplaces over 13 years ago, 0 replies

When you want to warm up from winter's chilly demeanor, create ambience in a room, embed an eye-catching focal point into a wall, or heat your home using a cost effective method, there is nothing better suited for each task than a sophisticated fireplace. Yes, a fireplace is just that versatile! A fireplace can be indoors or outdoors, enclosed or open. It can be that grand, traditional red brick structure the beckons Santa every year or a sleek and modern one that is the envy of all your friends. You'sll find that fireplaces are as varied as the homes they reside in.

There is no question as to why fireplaces are no longer mere accent pieces but homeowner must-haves. In fact, more than 75 percent of soon-to-be homebuyers put fireplace as one the top amenities they look for when purchasing their new homes. So not only do fireplaces give you warmth, ambience and architectural style, they also put a little extra money in your pocket when it comes to the resale value of your home.

TYPES OF FIREPLACES

Fireplaces of long ago served a variety of purposes, from being the major source of heat to serving as the principal method of meal preparation. Today'ss fireplaces are chiefly decorative, possessing unique designs, styles and shapes, all of which can be configured to match any room decor. Imagine a fireplace built as a wall partition where two different rooms can view the very same fireplace from either side of the wall.

In addition, fireplaces have gained advancement in their use and modes of operation. Most modern fireplaces are designed to be more energy efficient and to operate in conjunction with a home's existing heating system. Also, present-day fireplaces are no longer limited to being operated by wood and gas. In addition to wood and gas, pellets and electricity can power fireplaces of today. These new advancements make fireplaces easier to maintain or clean. As well, they create loads of options for homeowners to choose from.

Wood Burning Fireplaces

Wood Burning fireplaces can supply a home with a certain style, fragrance, sound and character that is unlike any other type of fireplace. Christmas songs have been founded on their very existence! Most likely because wood-burning fireplaces evoke images of serenity and peace, of cozying up, and of the ambient glow that wood produces when it is being baked by a blazing fire. Plus, wood-burning fireplaces have the ability to bring the sweet smells of the outdoors inside.

But most of our evocations are a result of the wood-burning fireplaces of years past. The bad news is that many of those older styles of wood-burning fireplaces, although still capable of heating the areas in close proximity to the fireplace, would actually produce a considerable amount of heat loss over the remaining areas of the home. The good news: now in existence are high-energy models of wood-burning fireplaces that include insulated fireboxes created to keep warm air from escaping up the chimney and the cold air from forcing its way inside the home.

There are essentially three kinds of wood burning fireplaces: Traditional, Clean Burning, and EPA-certified. The most commonly used type by homeowners is the Traditional wood-burning fireplace, and it is what most of us think of when we think of a traditional fireplace. Clean Burning and EPA-certified are more technologically advanced than traditional wood burning fireplaces, and offer greater benefits to homeowners.

When deciding upon a wood-burning fireplace to purchase, it is important to consider which type of performance you want from it. A traditional fireplace is a wonderful choice if you seek a fireplace solely to start fires for ambiance or additional warmth, and are not looking to use it as a substantial heat source to warm an area or a room.

Conversely, if you are looking for an efficient way to heat an area of your home or a room, Clean Burning and EPA-Certified fireplaces are a best to serve this purpose. They burn wood more efficiently, which makes them ideal for heating homes in colder climates where the cost of heating is high. In addition, Clean Burning and EPA-Certified fireplaces are godsends for homes that experience periodic power outages.

Gas Burning Fireplaces

Gas fireplaces are probably the most common type because they combine ease of use with the heating capability of a furnace. And they are convenient since you will not have to brave the cold every few hours to retrieve more wood for the fire but only need to flip a switch for additional warmth as well as to create ambience.

Gas fireplaces can be installed just about anywhere. They require no chimney or wood, which means there'ss no mess left behind to clean up. And their flames are powered by propane or natural gas, so as long as either is available installation can occur.

A gas fireplace is an insulated firebox that is covered by a glass face to allow sight of the fire. Normally, a metal casing surrounds a gas fireplace. And although there are a lot of gas fireplaces that serve as decoration only, many actually heat your room or an area of your home. The designs, styles, and sizes of gas burning fireplaces are diverse, which means you will be hard pressed to not find one that will work with your particular decor.

In addition, the efficacy of gas fireplaces depends on the venting options. Presently three venting options exist: natural venting, direct venting, and vent free. Naturally vented gas fireplaces push air out through the roof using a gas flue. Fireplaces with direct vents discharge air through the wall behind the fireplace. Vent-free models require no venting. With three venting options, the options for where you will install your fireplace are less of a concern.

Essentially, the significant reason why gas-burning fireplaces are widely used is the appeal of controlling a fire via switch, and even more so these days, a remote. You can use your switch or remote to adjust the height of the flame and the amount of heat it provides. But if you are afraid that choosing a gas fireplace over a wood burning one will cheat you out of that ambient blaze, you needn't be. Manufacturers have gone to great lengths to replicate the look of traditional fires. For example, the use of ceramic logs to create tall, undulating flames that mimic the appearance of traditional fires is a commonly used practice.

Electric Fireplaces

Electric fireplaces are ideal for people who live in smaller spaces like condominiums and apartments or homes without a chimney since they provide the exact look of a wooden fireplace, create ambience, supply warmth, and do it all without the messiness of ash, wood handling and smoke. Economical for use year-round, an electric fireplace can cut down heating costs significantly because homeowners have control over its heat output by way of adjusting its flame or turning it off entirely.

Electric fireplaces are actually increasing in popularity with homeowners who have young children. Because electric fireplaces do not get hot on the outside unlike other types of fireplaces, they are more valuable to families with children. Thus, with electric fireplaces you can safely add ambience to your home without the having to be fearful that your children will one day be burned when they touch the fireplace.

Basically, if you value convenience then you will enjoy an electric fireplace. An electric fireplace is easy to use. All you need to do is plug it into an outlet for operation; no logs, newspaper, or matches required. Because electric fireplaces are less expensive in relation to other fireplaces and easy to install, they are an ideal purchase if you live in a home without a fireplace and want to install one to give your home an upgrade or ameliorate its value for resale.

Pellet Burning Fireplaces

Pellet Burning fireplaces look like a cast iron stove with a glass door. They are a combination of fireplace and furnace, and supply heat by burning fuel pellets made of compressed wood and paper waste. The fuel is amassed inside of a hopper placed within the pellet fireplace, and then it is automatically regulated into the fireplace's burn pot where the air escapes through burning pellets.

The advantage of pellet-burning fireplaces is that they allow for a finely controlled burn. Pellet Burning fireplaces operate by a feed motor and fan motor. With a control button, you can adjust the motors' rate of burn; either low, medium or high. And the pellets burn very efficiently, producing little ash and a hot, practically smokeless fire.

COMPONENTS AND MATERIALS

No matter how many technological advancements and changes fireplaces undergo, the essential fireplace components remain: the insert and the surround. The insert is where the fire burns in the fireplace. Inserts are usually made of cast iron and are sometimes decorated with tiles of assorted color and pattern.

The surround'sthe mantle and sides's is usually constructed of wood, stone, marble, granite, and occasionally iron. Bigger fireplaces look exquisite with a stone surround. For smaller fireplaces, often a more natural surround look works best. But ultimately, the decision is yours.

Decide what statement your home is going to make. Surrounding your fireplace with marble is dramatic, while surrounding it with traditional brick creates a Colonial look. Whatever you style, your choice of fireplace and the materials and design you choose to use will define the look of your room.

WHAT TYPE SHOULD I CHOOSE?

You needn'st worry that your choice of fireplace is right or wrong. Choose a fireplace that best reflects your own personal style as well as one that fits within the design parameters you have set. Figure out what size of fireplace will work best, and what it will look like. Also, consider the ease with which your new fireplace can be operated, its efficiency, heat output, and structural limitations.

If you are looking for something purely for decoration, the styles and design of fireplaces run the gambit. If you are in search of a way to heat your home efficiently then stay away from the old masonry style of fireplaces. They are terribly inefficient, allowing warm indoor air to escape outside through the chimney. Although newer models are more efficient, other types of fireplaces may be even more so.

Just know that no matter what type of fireplace you chose, you will want to research it, learn as much about it as you can, which may include seeking the advice of a fireplace expert. Research and seeking advice is truly the only failsafe way for getting the most out of your new fireplace.
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