It’s no secret that a fireplace is one of the top amenities that buyers look for in a home, and at Valley Home Builders, we know it can increase a home’s value. It’s also one of the perks that homeowners get the most enjoyment from, and it can reduce electricity bills as well. When adorned with a beautiful hearth, a fireplace can set a tone for the entire home and transform an ordinary room into an extraordinary sanctuary.
Although a traditional masonry fireplace can be built into almost any existing home, it is no longer necessary to undertake as costly a project to get the same look and better function. Today, there are wonderful alternatives to add a fireplace to almost any room in any home, many of which include increased efficiency.
Pre-Engineered Wood Burning Fireplace and Chimney Systems
Many remodelers looking to add a fireplace select Pre-Engineered Masonry Wood Burning Fireplaces. These units are assembled onsite, and unlike traditional masonry fireplaces, the bulk of the heat does not go up the chimney but rather is directed into the living space. The look can be designed to be indistinguishable from an ordinary fireplace, but the function is usually superior. For people who don’t already have a fireplace, but want the look and feel of one, this is a good choice.
Quick Primer on Gas Lighters and Gas Logs
As with a traditional masonry fireplace, Pre-Engineered fireplaces can be adapted to accommodate a gas lighter or even gas logs.
A gas lighter can be installed by plumbing a gas line into a new or existing fireplace and attaching it to a gas lighter kit. If you prefer to avoid the hassle and mess of burning real wood, a gas log system can be installed instead. This system also requires the gas line be plumbed in, but ceramic faux logs or newer display material, such as a fireglass base, are installed into the fireplace. These systems help manage the temperature, and the moment the system is turned off, it stops generating heat completely.
Gas burning fireplaces are built specifically to work with materials like gas logs and fireglass. They can be added to any room with very minor modifications, as they don’t require a chimney. Rather, they can vent through the walls or to the roof. Some get their oxygen from a second pipe to the outdoors; others from inside the house. There are models that don’t even require venting, although you risk a degree of indoor air pollution, even though there are protective glass doors to ensure gas doesn’t escape to the home. They are available in a variety of options and styles and have become a very popular choice in home renovation.
Electric fireplaces require no chimneys, vents and/or gas lines. They have been increasing in demand because they are so easy to install, and the temperature can be easily regulated, making them great for any season. When no heat is being used, they run on roughly the same power as two lightbulbs and generate no heat at all. That way, you can enjoy the look of a fire even when it’s not chilly. However, when used for heating, they’re more expensive than operating either a wood fireplace or gas. On the other hand, they don’t create smoke or other pollution in or around the home. There are designs that mimic the look of traditional fireplaces as well as more modern styles.
An insert can be used with either gas or wood and will also direct the heat into the room. They come in various styles, shapes, and sizes to fit into your existing fireplace and help keep those heating bills low while adding to the beauty of your hearth. An electric insert can also be used in a masonry fireplace to convert it to electric.
Wood vs. Gas vs. Electric
Wood is always less expensive, but it doesn’t burn cleaner than gas. Wood fireplaces also need to have their flues cleaned on a regular basis, and the hearth will require cleaning as well. Gas fireplaces require far less maintenance though they do necessitate the usual vigilance to address gas leaks. Soot build up and/or flame discoloration indicate that maintenance is due.
There are few limits on the possibilities when it comes to fireplaces. They can be put outside. They can be placed in a wall with exposure on two sides. And they can even be placed so that they are exposed on three sides. Electric options can be hung to complement modern, sleek home styles and designs.
Valley Home Builders can help you decide if a new fireplace is right for you and help you determine the best approach. We can also offer experienced hearth and mantle designs and promise excellent craftsmanship to highlight any fireplace option you select.