Having a Hard Time Choosing What Type of Fireplace to Install? Here are the Pros and Cons

Fireplace

Fireplaces are a great focal point in your home. Not only does it enhance the aesthetics of any room, but it also adds that extra homey and coziness feel to your space. This winter season, how perfect would it be to gather around the fireplace with your loved ones, drinking hot cocoa and making memories –this will surely add further warmth to any cold winter night.

There are three main types of fireplaces – the traditional wood-burning fireplace, the energy-efficient modern electric fireplaces, and the middle ground gas fireplace. Each type has its pros and cons, from cost, special features, efficiency, heat that they provide, safety, installation requirements, and many more. If you are looking to upgrade your existing fireplace or thinking to add this great feature, then you’ve come to the right place.

Selecting the fireplace that will best fit your requirements is not easy and could even be confusing with all the choices. Read through and let Same Day Pros help you by presenting the pros and cons of different types of fireplaces.

But first (and to further convince you), here are the reasons why a fireplace is a great addition to your home:

  1. A fireplace adds value to houses If your fireplace complements your home well, it will surely add value, aside from the comfort and enjoyment that you get from it. In a National Association of Realtors survey, 46% of homebuyers were found to be willing to pay more for a house with a fireplace. The National Center for Real Estate Research also stated that on average, a fireplace adds 12% to the value of homes. Furthermore, many properties with high value have fireplaces, indicating that this feature is attractive to high-end home buyers.
  2. Cost-wise, you can cater according to your budgetIf budget is the main hindrance for you adding the fireplace in your place, then think again. Installation of fireplace varies depending on your target location in your home (is it indoor or outdoor) the type of fireplace, and aesthetics of your fireplace project (design, materials to use, etc.) With all these variables, you can adjust them accordingly to fit your budget.
  3. There are many types of fireplaces to choose fromIf you are more of a traditional type, or modern and chic, or simple and practical, there is a fireplace to fit your style and personality, and you could also match it to the overall feel of your home.
  4. A fireplace could help the heating efficiency of your houseLocation matters. If your fireplace is placed in a strategic spot in your home, it could actually help you save some money on your energy bill. A fireplace is not just for visuals, its main purpose is to provide heating in your home. Of course, you should also choose the type that is energy efficient.
  5. Provide great atmosphere Not only does it improve the overall look of the room it’s in, nothing beats the cozy atmosphere that a fireplace brings. It is relaxing, calming and provides comfort to anyone sitting near its warmth.Let us now take you through the main types of fireplaces with their pros and cons to help you decide the fittest for your home.

Pros and Cons of Different Types of Fireplace:

Wood-Burning Fireplace

Wood burning fireplace

When you say “fireplace”, the first thing that will come into your mind is easily the traditional type – steady fire and crackling logs. Most love the charming and authentic look of the wood-burning fireplace, the smell, and even the relaxing sound of a real wood burning in the fireplace, and these reasons are the main attraction of homeowners in choosing a wood-burning fireplace.

Other pros:

  • You can still use your fireplace even when there is no electricity
  • Attractive focal point of any space
  • Can be converted to other types of fireplace

Cons:

  • It requires you to regularly buy or chop wood (seasoned wood is preferred to greenwood, as it burns well and does not create much soot).
  • You should have a storage area for the chopped woods.
  • Proper chimney maintenance is needed. This is to remove the debris and other deposits in the chimney to avoid any blockages and corrosion of the chimney. Note that when there is chimney blockage, dangerous fumes will enter your home, while the buildup of chimney deposits can cause a chimney fire. It is best to have an annual chimney sweep to ensure safety. (For a professional chimney sweep, click here)
  • In terms of heating, wood-burning can be inefficient. Why? Not only is smoke and fumes exiting the chimney, but also half of the heat or more that it generates.
  • In terms of installation, it is more expensive to install in homes.
  • Not friendly and safe to children and pets. Grates should be installed.

Gas Fireplace

Gas Fireplace

Instead of wood, gas fireplaces burn natural gas or propane. It is considered as the middle ground between electric fireplaces and wood-burning ones. There are different types of gas fireplaces, vented (it has a firebox vented in the chimney) and ventless (this is connected to a gas line and could sit directly to internal walls; no venting needed). If you have an existing wood-burning fireplace, you can easily convert this to gas ones if you have a gas starter in place.

Pros:

  • Fairly easy to use, you just need to push the switch
  • Easy to fuel since it is connected to the natural gas line of your home
  • Clean and natural heat
  • If you choose the ventless gas type, you won’t need a chimney
  • You can use faux logs if you still want the look of traditional fireplaces. Faux logs are usually made of ceramic to mimic the appearance of wood.
  • More efficient than a wood-burning fireplace in terms of heating, as no warm air is released in the chimney

Cons:

  • If you are looking for the nostalgia and warmth of a wood fireplace, this may be a bit lacking.
  • If you don’t have an existing gas line, the installation price could be high
  • If you choose the ventless type, additional regulations are required.
  • Though rare, carbon monoxide can enter your home. This is why annual inspection is needed for safety.
  • Some types of gas fireplaces emit an unpleasant gas-burning odor

Electric Fireplaces

Electric Fireplace

These are appliances that mainly function to match the heat output and even the feel of traditional fireplaces. There is a built-in screen to simulate a fireplace flame, while the heat is from the heating coil. This is increasingly becoming popular because it uses electricity and virtually any room in the house has sockets to plug in the appliance.

Pros:

  • Good option if you want to add a fireplace minus the investment or the extra effort that other types of fireplace may require
  • Cheapest/practical option
  • Child and pet friendly (flames are not real)
  • Type of flame and temperature is adjustable according to your preference
  • Efficient as no heat is lost unlike wood-burning chimneys
  • Easy to clean
  • Suitable for houses where vents or chimneys will be harder or costlier to install
  • Wide range of choices in terms of budget and style

Cons

  • Produces the least amount of heat
  • Not authentic as traditional ones with flames being fake
  • You won’t be able to use it if there are power issues
  • May not add the same value as wood-burning or gas fireplace

Tip: To avoid overheating, do not use an extension cord for electric fireplaces. It has to be directly plugged into a wall. Call an electrician near you to add an outlet if needed.

Common Questions Asked Before Adding a Fireplace:

Outdoor fireplace

Is it possible to add a fireplace to my house? Yes, it is possible to add a fireplace to your home. The questions you should focus on will be what type, size, and where to add it that will work best for your home. As long as the building code requirements are met, then you will have no issue.

If you already have an existing fireplace, when was your house built? If your house is built in the 1980s, most likely you have a zero-clearance fireplace, and builders could easily work with it. For much older ones, it would be more complicated as your fireplace could be connected to the house’s foundation (but doable) You can repurpose the same spot even if you would want to upgrade to a more modern one.

Where should I put my fireplace?

It depends on your purpose and even the general climate of your area. A fireplace brings in the heat, so if you live in an area that has really cold winters, virtually any place in your house could use a fireplace. Usually (and for efficiency) a fireplace is placed in the most-used room with the exception of the kitchen – like the living room.

But for some homeowners who want to add a fireplace for a holiday ambiance or a more elaborate space, it will depend on where they would want it. Adding an outdoor fireplace is a rising trend to outdoor living spaces.

Should I choose a bigger or a smaller fireplace? The main consideration for this is the size of your room. If you have a small space, placing a large fireplace will make the space seem crowded. In terms of style, consider the overall tone of your space and match it. Luckily, there are many types, styles, and sizes to choose from.

What is the cost of adding a fireplace? This is a bit of a tricky question, as there are many variables, like the type of fuel if needed, the current structure of your home (is there a need to demolish parts of your house for installation), and more – remember that you are paying for not only the unit but also the installation. According to Home Guide, the average cost to build a fireplace is $2,415 with the majority of homeowners spending $1,050 to $3,780 depending on the type of fireplace chosen.

The good news for homeowners who wants a fireplace in their homes is that there are a lot of types to choose from. Carefully weigh in the pros and cons, and make sure to consult professionals to help you with your decision-making. Hopefully, this article can help you in choosing the right fireplace for your home that will fit your budget, style, and requirements.

If you need any professional services, Same Day Pros could provide them for you.

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