Choices in Indoor Fireplaces

Our previous article on indoor fireplaces focused exclusively on the safety and maintenance issues associated with wood-burning fireplaces. However, many current new home builders provide alternatives to this kind of fireplace;  for example, at Aberdeen Homes we install gas fireplaces upon request. Read on to find out what other types of fireplaces will add both practical warmth and decorative ambience to your home.

The fuel for gas fireplaces is natural gas from your regular gas supply. You must choose between a vented gas fireplace in which the gas fumes are released from the house (either up the chimney or through dedicated pipes) or a ventless model which burns efficiently and shuts off if the gas build-up in your home becomes too high. It’s easy to start a gas fireplace – you just press a button. Some models have logs on them to look like a wood-burning fire while others embrace their contemporary feel and show off the gas flames.

Electric fireplaces don’t actually produce flames – they work by heating metal coils to produce warmth which internal fans then circulate. These are the easiest fireplaces to install as they don’t need to be vented. Some models feature a flickering screen or LED bulbs to emulate flames, but it’s usually not too convincing.

Gel Fuel
Another option is to install a fireplace that works off gel fuel – a clean-burning alcohol-based fuel that doesn’t need venting to burn. The fuel usually comes in canisters, and burns to produce the sight and sound of real flames. Gel-fuelled fireplaces are often of a modern style, with clean lines and glass sides, although you can convert a more traditional fireplace to this fuel .

If you must have wood…..
If you really do like the smell and sound of wood cracking in the fireplace, consider a wood-chip or wood pellet appliance. These burn fuel in small pellets that are around 2cms in size. These pellet fireplaces have a higher combustion and heating efficiency than traditional wood-burning ones, making them more environmentally friendly. The pellets may be wood chips but you can also find them made of nutshells and corn kernels. But you’ll still have the ashes to clean up.

More to think about
Here are some other issues to consider when deciding on your fireplace:
Built-in vs. free-standing
Built-in fireplaces are usually wall-mounted or set into the wall, with an opening covered by a metal or glass screen. There may be a mantel to help make the fireplace a focal point in the room. Free-standing fireplaces often look like stoves and may suit a more contemporary or rustic decor.

Converting an existing fireplace
You can convert your existing wood-burning fireplace to another fuel type by having the appropriate insert installed. These are self-contained metal boxes that fit into the open fireplace space and increase the efficiency of the fireplace as well as allow you to switch fuels.

Home decor
Our two articles on fireplaces have been very practical, but don’t neglect the aesthetic considerations of the fireplace you choose. From traditional brick fireplaces with mantles to hold family photos to sleek glass-and-chrome gas fires, there’s a style that will suit your interior decor.

Useful Link:
Houzz: Fireplaces Home Design


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