Your Guide to Buying the Right Fireplace for Your Home

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Your Guide to Buying the Right Fireplace for Your Home

Buying a fireplace can be quite a stressful experience; there are a number of different factors that need to be considered and decided upon before making a purchase. This guide aims to provide information to those wishing to buy a fireplace and the options available.

Considerations to Make Before Purchase

Buying a fireplace is not a simple case of choosing one that looks attractive and installing it in the home. There are a number of considerations to make first, such as the desired type of fuel, heat output potential, and installation costs. All fireplaces come with their own advantages and disadvantages, some more than others. Firstly, consider whether the fireplace is intended for a newly constructed home or an existing build. Installation of a new fireplace is far easier in a new build, and if considering installation into an existing home, then an evaluation of the condition of its chimney will need to be made. Homeowners can opt for a vent-free fireplace, which eliminates the need for a chimney; however, these kinds of fireplaces carry drawbacks including a build-up of moisture and smells that emanate from the fireplace.

Type of Fuel

The type of fuel that a household uses in its fireplace may be limited by the structural design of the building. Homes without chimneys, for example, are limited to a specific kind of gas fireplace that allows fumes to be vented to an outside wall. Decorative gas fires are relatively simple options and can add warmth and character to a room. Gas is also the cheapest form of energy available; however, homes with a chimney have other options. Other kinds of fireplace include solid fuel, electric, gel, or log fires.

Heat output

Different types of fireplace, burning different types of fuel, give varying levels of heat output. This partly determines their efficiency levels and can be influenced by heat escaping from badly insulated homes, windows or even the chimney. If a fireplace and its surroundings are not energy efficient, then it is counterproductive to have installed and will, in fact, cost more money than it saves.

Installation

As with any kind of renovation or construction work, the installation of fireplaces is a service offered by a plethora of contractors, which can be found by performing a quick online search or consulting a telephone directory. Users should be aware of doing adequate research on their chosen contractors before hiring anybody for a job. They may consult friends and family, online reviews or forums to ensure that the company is professional and carries out good work. This sort of in-depth research beforehand can also aid in getting the best deal. Furthermore, the company or individual carrying out installation must be registered to do so.

Fireplace Type Comparison

The table below details some of the different kinds of fireplace available and a number of their respective advantages and disadvantages. This list is not necessarily exhaustive, but aims to guide users on choosing the fireplace that best suits their needs.

Type of Fireplace

Emission Levels

Efficiency Level

Advantages

Disadvantages

Flueless Gas Fire

Very low

9 per cent

Inexpensive to run. Extremely high efficiency. Low installation costs. Comes in many sizes and styles. No chimney required.

The fire must be supplemented with fresh air, therefore, installation of an air vent is required. The room in which it is installed must have a window. Installation in bedroom or cellar rooms is impossible.

Bio-Ethanol Fire (Gel Fire)

Very low

9 per cent

High efficiency. Low installation costs. No chimney required. Various designs and styles available.

These have a very high cost of running. There are health and safety issues over the usage and storage of this fuel. Adequate ventilation is needed in the room. Low quality fuel can cause unpleasant odours. Larger flames result in the creation of condensation which can cause water damage.

Open Flame Fire (Through a Chimney)

Low – High (Depending on extra fuel added)

Generally 30-70 per cent

Attractive open flame fire. Many different designs.

A chimney must be installed and maintained.

>Electric Fire

Not Applicable

Not Applicable

Easy method of installation. Easy to use. No maintenance is required such as cleaning or storing fuel.

Many look cheap and tacky. High cost of running due to fuel burning.

Wood Burning Stove

High

60-80 per cent

There are available in a range of styles. Open burning flame rather than fake, manufactured look. Pleasant aroma created by burning wood (for some).

Maintenance caused by the cleaning, running costs, and wood storage requirements. Burning wood can be potentially damaging to health via particles transmitted in the burning. Damages the environment by requiring trees to burn and gives off high CO2 levels. Additional maintenance costs of sweeping the chimney.

Other Disadvantages of Fireplace Installation

One of the disadvantages of owning a fireplace fixture is that they can in fact be counterproductive to energy saving. Sometimes the units can actually draw heat out of a house at a greater rate than they can supply it to the room. Therefore many fireplaces are mostly installed for decorative purpose rather than being specifically for heating purposes. Gas fires are usually the least culpable for this problem.

Buy Online or Buy From High Street?

Though the above paragraph contains information pertaining to the purchase of a fireplace on eBay, there are various high street retailers that offer showrooms containing numerous units. This carries the benefit of being able to physically see and touch the unit before making a purchase. However, when it comes to cost, buyers can benefit from making the decision to purchase their fireplace from an online retailer.

Conclusion

Fireplaces come in a variety of types, styles, and designs with a wide variation in the method of fuel used to create heat energy. These all have their own advantages and drawbacks and differing levels of emissions and efficiency. It is worth conducting a proper investigation into what kind of fireplace will best benefit the intended house and room, and carefully considering the work that a user is willing to put into the maintenance of the fireplace. Finally, for the best price available, those wishing to buy a fireplace should ensure to obtain a quote from a variety of high street and online retailers; often online retailers will offer much more competitive prices due to their ability to market products to a much larger target group.

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