Fireplace options: wood burners, electric and more
Wednesday, 20th November 2013, Jane Gibson
A fireplace is an investment which not only provides comforting heat to a room, but can also act as a centrepiece for the whole house.
Larger fireplaces can be the primary heat source for a house and some are so beautifully designed that they can transform a ordinary-looking room into a luxurious living space.
There are many different types of fireplaces for homeowners to choose from. The most suitable type of fireplace is dependent on a homeowner's budget, space and the amount of heat they are hoping to generate. They should also consider how much time they are willing to spend on maintenance.
Let's investigate some of the most common types of fireplaces.
Wall-mounted fireplaces are popular with homeowners because they take up less living space and are arguably the safest type of fireplace structure.
It can take a bit of remodelling in order to make a room suitable for a wall-mounted fireplaces. Wood fires will need a chimney built into the house so the smoke can be released, but there are plenty of beautiful inserts and hearths that can be installed onto a wall-mounted fireplace.
Limestone or granite hearths can add a touch of class to any fireplace, especially if a homeowner opts to install a matching mantelpiece. If you are unable to install a chimney, there is still scope to invest in an electric, gas or ethanol fireplace.
Freestanding fireplaces come in all sorts of quirky designs. Once again, they require a chimney if being used inside and running off wood. They can also run off gas, electricity or ethanol.
They're a great option for those who don't want to make dramatic readjustments to their property and can potentially be used in a garden area too.
Most indoor portable fireplaces are electric, but there are some outdoor models which run off wood or gas. They are the cheapest option of the three and perhaps the most suitable for tenants or those who are unable to commit to major changes in their property. They're arguably the only option for those living in flats.
What to burn?
For a lot of homeowners, there's no option other than burning wood in their fireplace. It may cost a lot of money or labour in order to get hold of this wood, but for many it's completely worth it just to experience the warmth, snap, crackle and pops of a burning fire.
Electric fires are incredibly realistic but, thankfully for some, they come without the smoke, ash or firewood. When the fire is turned on, metal coils are heated up and a fan pushes this heat outward into the room. Meanwhile, realistic flames are created by a light bulb and refracted light.
Gas fireplaces work in a very similar method to gas hobs or gas ovens. Simply spark the pilot light and enjoy the warmth of the flames. Ideally, homeowners will be able to have this inspected by a gas safety professional annually.
Ethanol fireplaces are a remarkably simple alternative. Just pour the liquid over your fireplace and light it. This negates the need to continuously chop fire wood and there's no need for a chimney either, as the ethanol simply burns into a clear vapour.
As with most products, homeowners are likely to be more satisfied with their investment, the higher up the price range they go.
Masonry heaters are the most expensive type of fireplaces and can easily be used as a primary method of heating a home. Electric and gas heaters can't provide as much heat as traditional wood fires, but they come at a cheaper cost.
Regardless of the heat they produce, there are fireplaces at all price ranges that can transform the look of your home. With winter having reared its ugly head once again, why not spend this year nice and toasty when you're at home?