How to Buy a Fireplace

Like if this guide is helpful
How to Buy a Fireplace

A fireplace serves two important functions at the same time: it provides heating in a room and is also an important home decor item. Choosing the right fireplace means making the correct decisions with regard to both of these functions. Fireplaces can use a variety of energy sources in order to provide heat, which means that consumers should consider their own lifestyle preferences when shopping, since energy sources such as solid fuel require more work – or incur higher running costs – than do others. It may be found that the ideal fireplace from an energy efficiency standpoint may clash with the look or feel of a particular home. This means that aesthetic considerations must be given considerable weight before making a final decision. Fortunately, fireplaces are available in a wide variety of styles and models to meet personal preferences in terms of the fuel used and styling.

Types of Fireplace

The term "fireplace" has traditionally referred to a brick or masonry structure that is a permanent part of a house. This type of fireplace would normally hold a grate with an open fire fuelled with coal or logs. However, the word "fireplace" in the modern era also encompasses prefabricated units that can be installed in existing buildings. Some of these burn wood much like fireplaces have done for hundreds of years, but others use a variety of other energy sources to produce heat in a room. Shoppers looking to maintain a vintage look and feel should search eBay listings for antique fireplaces. These are usually one-piece cast iron units comprised of the fireplace, mantel, and surround. To install this kind of fireplace correctly, it is essential to check that the flue, or chimney, is a class 1 type that is safe to use with coal or wood burning fires.

Types of Gas Fireplace

Gas fireplaces come in three basic types depending on the way in which they are vented. Direct vent fireplaces feature two pipes; one of these delivers gas fuel to be burned, while the other one takes away the fumes and gases that are the by-products of combustion. Top vent fireplaces, on the other hand, have a single pipe for gas fuel delivery to the unit. They vent their fumes through an existing chimney structure, which serves as an exhaust pipe. Both direct vent and top vent fireplaces are often categorised as "vented fireplaces" to distinguish them from the third major type of gas fireplace. The "vent-free" gas fireplace, as the name indicates, lacks any sort of vent at all. A more high-tech option, the vent free fireplace uses sensors to detect drops in oxygen levels in a home. These fireplaces will shut themselves off as needed to maintain oxygen levels. Vent-free fireplaces do not lose heat through a chimney or other vent, which can make them more efficient than other types, producing more heat from the same amount of fuel. Some people have concerns that vent-free fireplaces may lead to dangerous fumes entering the home environment. Before purchasing such a unit, it is necessary to check that building regulations in a particular area permit their installation.

Types of Electric Fireplace

Electric fireplaces operate without any combustion, functioning much like any other type of electric heater in terms of the technology used to produce warmth. They do differ from electric heaters, however, because electric fireplaces will usually include a mechanism for producing a simulated flame, giving homeowners at least a facsimile of the ambience produced by a natural fire. Most modern electric fireplaces come with a remote control and are able to operate in a non-heating mode should the flame effect alone be desired. Electric fireplaces are usually used as a secondary heating source and can provide sufficient background warmth to heat rooms as large as 400 square feet. Because electric fireplaces require no venting at all, they cannot be categorised in the same way as gas-fuelled fireplaces. Instead, electric fireplaces tend to be classified according to intended location rather than technological factors. The following table summarises the most common types of electric fireplaces.

Mantel Fireplace

These fireplaces combine a firebox with a traditional mantel and are designed to be placed flat against a wall. This, along with a faux flame effect, allows them to present the illusion that they are in fact a true fireplace. Mantel fireplaces come in a wide variety of finishes and styles and vary from the simple and streamlined to the highly ornate.

Corner Fireplace

These units also combine a mantel and firebox, but are designed to fit into the corner of a room rather than flush against a wall. This makes corner fireplaces ideal for lofts, offices, condos, and other building types where space may be at a premium.

Log Insert

These electric fireplaces are intended to be inserted into an existing fireplace opening in the wall of a room. Purchasers should carefully measure the dimensions of the opening in order to ensure that the insert they have in mind will fit. For some log inserts, a trim kit is available; this enables the purchaser to make some adjustments so that an insert will fit into an existing fireplace opening more neatly. However, trim kits can only make the insert appear larger; they cannot trim down its original dimensions. Log inserts can be substantially less expensive than mantel or corner electric fireplaces.

Freestanding Electric Fireplace

The freestanding fireplace, as its name implies, can literally stand-alone; it does not have to be placed against a wall or corner, as is the case with a mantel or corner fireplace. This means that it is highly portable and is the easiest type of electric fireplace to install. Freestanding fireplaces feature standard electric plugs so they can be moved around easily. However, this means that purchasers need to give careful thought to placement so that the cord will not present a tripping hazard. Freestanding electric fireplaces are sometimes marketed as freestanding electric stoves. Purchasers interested in this type of fireplace should be sure to search for models using both terms in order to see all their options.

Wall Mount Electric Fireplace

Wall mount electric fireplaces can be ideal for conserving floor space, which makes them highly suitable for use in offices, flats, or other small living or working spaces. Considered a highly stylish option, they provide a strong visual focal point in a room. Both flat wall and corner versions of wall mounts are available, making this a flexible option as well.

Built-in Electric Fireplace

Built-in electric fireplaces are similar to log inserts, but they are designed to be installed directly into a space beside an existing fireplace or chimney structure. They are frequently used in gaps in walls or below grates. It is possible to add a built-in fireplace to an existing home structure, but it may require some construction work to be done; they are more commonly installed during a new build. Built-ins feature zero clearances all around for a truly seamless appearance when installation has been completed.

Gas Versus Electric Fireplaces

Both gas and electric fireplaces are considered to be "controlled" fireplaces because they can be switched on and off at will – something that is not possible with traditional solid fuel burning fireplaces.

Installation Considerations

Electric fireplaces are generally easier to install than gas units because their power source usually poses no great challenge. Mantel and corner fireplaces may need to be trimmed out to some degree to make them appear at their best. Still, even this can be simpler than installing a gas fireplace that will in all cases will require a gas line. Due to the potential hazards associated with gas lines, a professional installer should complete a gas fireplace installation. These units must be sealed properly to eliminate hazards from escaping fumes. Gas fireplaces are a more common option in urban areas since some rural regions may not be on the national gas grid, thus requiring bottled gas to be used.

Heating Considerations

Electric fireplaces can provide a home or office with secondary heat, but they are not typically used as a primary heat source. Gas fireplaces, on the other hand, can give off enough heat to function as a primary heat source. Both types, however, often serve a primary function, which is decorative, with heating efficiency being a relatively minor consideration. Gas and electric fireplaces are sometimes installed into homes that need no additional heating, simply because homeowners find that these units provide the kind of visual and emotional ambience desired.

Find Fireplaces On eBay

To purchase a fireplace, begin at the eBay homepage and click on All Categories. From this list, select Home, Furniture & DIY and then navigate to Fireplaces & Accessories. Alternatively, use the search function on the homepage, typing in "gas fireplace," "electric fireplace," or a more specific term such as "freestanding electric fireplace."


A fireplace provides a living or working space with heat, light, and a visual focal point. Because fireplaces are available in such a wide assortment of styles it is possible to match nearly any decor. This allows the fireplace to appear as an integral part of the living or working space, even if in reality it was an afterthought. Fireplaces are easy to find online on eBay. They are at a range of price levels that can make them a feasible decorative and heating option for individuals interested in adding an attractive fireplace to a home or office.

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides