What Type of Fireplace is Best?

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You would be hard-pressed to find a home without a fireplace…..

There’s something comforting, welcoming, and well, warm about the ambiance a fireplace creates in your home. What kind of fireplace is the best, though? Well, it depends on what matters to you. Which one of the following sounds most like something that you might say about a fireplace? 

“It’s got to be authentic”

Hiking miles through the woods dragging freshly cut lumber (or more likely picking up pre-packaged logs on the way home from work) is no problem for you, as long as it means you’ll be soon sitting next to a real, crackling, wood-burning fire. You keep a stack of newspapers for kindling and a lighter on the mantle. You are proud of that delightful wood fire smell.

Typically found in a wall-mounted setup, the wood-burning fireplace has been a standard in home design for years. Some argue that nothing can beat a real wood fire. The authentic route definitely has downsides, namely the ash and residue left over in the fireplace and flue, the process of manually lighting the fire, as well as the effort to continually buy firewood.

*Dibico Living Made Easy Tip: Before lighting a fire in a wood-burning fireplace, you should light and hold up a match to the damper. This will warm the flue in order to help start the draft of smoke up through the chimney.

“As long as it’s easy to use”

Maybe you’ll want a fire later tonight, but you aren’t sure. You’ll probably only want it for a few minutes anyway. As long as you don’t have to waste too much time getting the fire going or stopping it, you are happy. But if you have to clean ashes and soot, then it’s safe to say you will be choosing a bump up on the thermostat instead of making a fire.

If you want a fire that’s easy to light and easy to clean, then an electric or gas fireplace is right for you. These fireplaces come in all shapes and sizes and are extremely easy to use. In many cases, however, these fireplaces do not produce nearly the same amount of heat as a wood fire. Some also think that the experience isn’t the same without the crackle of real logs. These fireplaces tend to have more modern and sleek designs.

“It should be efficient”

You believe that a fire should do what it’s always been used for, efficient heating. It seems pointless to have a fireplace if all you do is look at it. If that’s all you needed it for, then you would just buy a 4K-resolution television and play a video of a fire with full surround sound. You want the fire to be clean and easy to maintain, but also provide warmth.

We often receive requests from clients wanting to better insulate their homes, especially during winter. Winterizing doors and better sealing the home can do this, but most people don’t realize how much warm air from inside is sucked out through the fireplace and out the chimney. Some people forget to close the flue after using their fireplace, leaving a gaping hole that no amount of insulated windows and doors could compensate for. Even if you close the flue, most (if not all) gas fireplaces have a stopper keeping the flue slightly open in order to prevent gas from leaking into your home. Although a safety necessity, lots of warm air is lost this way, driving up the heating costs of your home.

A new type of fireplace alleviates most of these problems. Bioethanol burners emit only heat and a little water vapor, no smoke or harmful compounds. This means that you don’t even need a flue or chimney. Since these burners tend to be self-containing, they don’t have any gas lines or cables and can be installed in a variety of places around your home. Since they don’t need to vent outside, the heat can stay inside your home.

“I want something unique”

I want something that no one else has. I want something new and exciting and useful too! If this sounds like you, then I recommend taking a look at radiant fireplaces, which are also known as masonry heaters. These fireplaces burn at extremely high temperatures and self-circulate the heat at such high temperatures that all pollutants are burned off. These hot gases circulate to heat up the walls of the fireplace, slowly being released over the course of a day. You only light the fireplace once in a day and it’ll heat the room for the entire day.

This design has been around for thousands of years, and existed in some form in most northern cultures, but remain relatively unknown in the United States. They are efficient with wood use and the outside never becomes too hot to touch. Some even come with attachments to cook food like pizza in it! The negatives would be the fact that you need to buy extremely dry firewood for it and it takes up much more room than some gas or electric fireplaces.

“But I already have a fireplace”

Why am I reading about different fireplaces if I already have one?

If this is you, then I do have a reason that your time reading this was still well spent. There are fireplaces that can be installed directly into your existing fireplace, if you are looking for something new. Aptly named “inserts” you can find one that matches any of your needs. There are wood-burning inserts that connect directly to the flue and chimney you already have at home and gas/electric ones that can either vent through the flue or remain without a vent. These fireplace inserts tend to be much more efficient than original in-wall fireplaces.

In each home that Dibico has built, we have worked with our clients to find the fireplace that perfectly matches their needs. If you would like to renovate, make an addition, or build a new home, contact us at info@dibicoinc.com and we will help you every step of the way, including advice on exactly what model of fireplace you should get. Whatever fireplace you have or choose to get, remember to check if the flue is open if you have a vented fireplace before lighting a fire. Also, don’t forget to close the flue when you are finished.

For fireplace designs and ideas, check out our Pinterest board about all sorts of fireplaces that we liked.

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