There is something about the warmth of a fire that is both mesmerizing and comforting. Today’s fireplaces are inviting and efficient for everyone. Some people feel there is no substitute for a wood burning fireplace.
The advantages are:
- The sight, sound and smell of real fire burning.
- They burn a fairly inexpensive and renewable fuel.
- Today’s wood burning fireplace inserts are much better at retaining heat and have far fewer emissions that older version fireplaces and use less firewood.
- A source of heat in your home in case of a power outage or furnace failure.
The disadvantages are:
- You have to buy, stack, and haul wood into your home, and clean up the ashes.
- You have to spend money maintaining your chimney (The EPA advised you to have your chimney inspected and cleaned every year).
Lifestyle demands and personal taste dictate that wood burning fireplaces are not for everyone. Gas fireplaces get better each year as manufacturers make improvements. Not only are modern gas fireplaces very energy efficient ( You can enjoy a whole night of a burning fire for about a $1), certain models are so well designed it takes a trained eye to detect that gas is being burned instead of wood. Many are AFUE rated, meaning they are rated as heaters and can operate with a thermostat for zone heating. And it’s very nice to conveniently enjoy a fire at the flip of a switch too!
Fireplace options go well beyond gas and wood. Multi-sided fireplaces are available in see-through, corner and peninsula designs. Or an indoor-outdoor fireplace can be placed in a screen porch or patio on one side and seen on the living room side as well.
Whether you are building or remodeling your home, take time to fully think about all your fireplace options. Later as you find yourself curled up in front of the fire as the snow falls, you will know you made a sound (and warm) investment.