How to Choose a Fireplace: Getting Started
Looking to add a cozy touch to your home? Consider buying a fireplace that will heat you up on chilly nights and create a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Fortunately, you don’t need a built-in fireplace to enjoy this lovely feature in your home. In fact, there are plenty of mounting options and fuel types from which to choose. Use this guide to help you discover the best type of fireplace for your home.
Fireplace Mounting Options
Fireplaces can be mounted in a variety of ways depending on the appearance and functionality you prefer. Learn more about the most common mounting options for fireplaces:
- Wall-mounted fireplace: A wall-mounted fireplace can sit flush with the wall or look more traditional with a mantel surrounding it. If your home has a chimney, you can connect your wall-mounted fireplace to it for easy ventilation.
- Free Standing fireplace: A free-standing fireplace is the easiest type to install since it requires little or no construction. These come in many styles and can be attached to a wall or completely free-standing depending on the fuel type. You can find free-standing fireplaces in a wide range of sizes and styles to suit your space.
- Built-in fireplace insert: An insert can be added into an existing fireplace or a cabinet via hard-wiring or plug-in power. If you want to convert a wood-burning fireplace to a gas fireplace, this is the easiest solution.
Fireplace Fuel Types
Now that you know a little more about the fireplace mounting styles available to you, it’s time to decide which fuel type is best for your home. Check out this breakdown of the pros and cons for each fireplace fuel option:
- Gas fireplace: With a gas fireplace, you can use natural gas or liquid propane, both of which require a line to an outside source. If you have a chimney, you can use a vented model; otherwise, you can opt for a ventless gas fireplace. While the installation may be a bit more intensive, gas fireplaces are fairly efficient, and the heat is easy to turn on and off. Plus, you get to enjoy the look of real flames.
- Electric fireplace: Electric fireplaces use heated coils and internal fans to distribute warmth in your space. While you won’t get to enjoy the look of real flames, this makes electric fireplaces safer to enjoy with pets and/or children around. Electric fireplaces are also easy to install since no vents are required. They’re also the most energy-efficient and cost-effective fireplace type.
- Gel fireplace: This type of fireplace is also very easy to install since it does not require any ventilation. The gel, which burns cleanly, is sold in cans. Though these are somewhat expensive to purchase, there are no electric or gas bills to consider when the fireplace is in use. If you’re not planning to use your fireplace very often, or you want one that can be moved around at will, a gel fireplace could be a great fit for your needs. Keep in mind that these fireplaces generally have a very sleek, modern look.
- Wood fireplace: If you want the most classic fireplace option (and the possibility of lowering your heating bill), go with a wood fireplace. It provides the traditional experience as far as the look, smell, and sound of a fireplace, but it comes with a cost. Wood fireplaces require a traditional chimney and lots of maintenance; you’ll need to have yours professionally cleaned on a regular basis. Wood fireplaces also need to be closely monitored for safety reasons.
Once you narrow down your options to the mounting style and fuel type that you want, it’s time to start comparing different fireplace models. Depending on which fireplace type you’re looking at, there may be a number of different fireplace features to consider, such as:
- Controls: Do you want to be able to turn your fireplace on and off with the touch of a button, or even with a remote control from across the room? You can find this for certain types of fireplaces. You may also want to consider how much control you’ll have over the heat that your fireplace produces when it’s in use so you can be at the most comfortable temperature at all times.
- Vent style: What kind of vent will be best for your home? Or do you require a fireplace with no vent? This is one of the most important features to consider when looking at fireplaces.
- Viewing style: Some homeowners prefer a very modern flat-front fireplace with an unobstructed viewing window. Others like the look of a bay window in front, which resembles a more traditional fireplace.
- Finish: You can find fireplaces in almost any type of style and finish, from very sleek, black steel to those surrounded by a traditional wooden mantel.
- Logs: Unless it’s an actual wood fireplace, your fireplace won’t contain real logs. However, you may have the option to include faux logs to achieve a more classic appearance.
Adding a fireplace can instantly make a house feel more like a home. It’s cozy and inviting while also adding warmth when temperatures outside start to drop. Even if you’re on a limited budget, you should be able to find a fireplace that suits your needs and your style. Use this guide to help you make the right decision when adding a fireplace to your home.