When it comes to fireplaces, there are a plethora of options and elements to consider. For most households, this is the heart of your home. You want your fireplace to not only be a focal point that reflects your style, but to also achieve the right atmosphere. Whether you desire an environment filled with warmth and family togetherness or simply a peaceful spot to rest, you can build that vibe. Mulling over the pros and cons of every type of fireplace is a perfect place to start sorting out the right fit for your space. Luckily, we're helping you break it all down so that you can be confident in making the best choice for your home.
Curl up next to Modern Flames' Spectrum Series Conventional Electric Fireplace with 12 dazzling color-changing settings.
Electric fireplaces can be extremely convenient in a variety of environments. The first plus would be that you don't need venting for this type of fireplace arrangement. Simply plug in the unit and you’re good to go. This is one of the lowest maintenance options since there is no need to chop wood or clean up soot or ash. You don't have to worry about harmful fumes or chemicals entering your home as an electric fireplace does not produce real flames. More perks to electric options are no gas line installation costs and no need for wood or gas. In return, you’ll be saving major money and precious leisure time while using this heat source.
One of the downsides of an electric fireplace is more often personal preference. If you're fonder of the crackle and ambiance that a wood-burning fire provides, this option might seem a tad lack-luster. Unfortunately, the artificial flame of most electric units doesn't capture the majesty of a real fire. Also, an electric fireplace is not going to produce as much heat as a traditional flame would. For example, our most powerful electric fireplaces by Modern Flames can yield up to 1570 watts of heat. This translates to about 5,357 BTUs (British Thermal Units) which can easily heat 180 square feet (the equivalent of a small studio apartment) but would not be ideal for warming an entire home. And though this last one might seem obvious, if a power outage occurs this selection would stop blazing.
The beauty of electric fire features is that there are many ways to utilize them. If you live in a tight space, don't have a chimney, or simply can't afford to install gas hookups, you can install a freestanding electric fireplace anywhere that has an electrical outlet. If you’re looking for a space-saving alternative, many of our brands offer sleek and modern fireplace inserts and wall mounted options. For a heat source with more utility, there are tons of attractive entertainment centers with built in electric fireplaces. Stand your television set atop the unit or mount it on the wall above for worry-free family time.
The Quartz Direct Vent Gas Fireplace gives a traditional and timeless feel for any home.
Here is another fireplace option for your home that leaves no ash and little to no mess. Gas fireplaces are quite low maintenance considering upkeep only includes an annual furnace maintenance visit, and the occasional cleaning of some soot. If your hearth is already piped for gas, this will cut down on the cost it takes to install or convert it into a gas fireplace. In addition, there are many convenient ways to light your gas burner. With today's technology, starting your fire can be as easy as the flip of a switch or the push of a button.
Customization is also a big advantage if you are thinking of upgrading to a gas fireplace. Every detail from burner to fire media can be personalized to your liking. Gas inserts are a fantastic and stylish go-to for those who want a complete overhaul. If you are looking for optimal heat, there are vent-free gas burners that circulate the heat back into your home rather than allowing it to escape through a vent. Important Note: Before installation, check your local safety codes to ensure vent-free fireplaces are permitted.
The first disadvantage to having a gas fireplace would have to be the cost. If your fireplace is not connected to a gas line, the national average cost for installation could be up to $2,000. Not to mention that running enough gas to heat a larger home could start to add up. Keep in mind that this type of fireplace also requires placement next to an exterior wall or existing chimney which might not be superlative, depending on your space.
Remember when we were talking about how a wood-burning fire can exude all the sounds and feelings you love? Gas fireplaces don't generally provide the same effect. However, there are accessories, such as crackler boxes and other woodsy fireplace media, you can add to your hearth to generate that same sensation. As we also mentioned before, some areas do not permit vent-free gas fireplaces, so this is something to consider when researching the best fireplace for your home.
Due to this type of fireplace needing proper venting and gas connections, the style of your unit must be wall mounted or inserted in the original hearth. Majestic Fireplaces has an array of elegant direct vent options. Where customization will really come into play is while you're selecting parts and accessories for the inside of your hearth. As we discussed before, there are many selections when it comes down to your burner, gas logs, and other fire media. Building your gas fireplace piece by piece truly allows you to add a personal touch to your fire feature.
This Royalton Wood-Burning Fireplace by Majestic Fireplaces embodies all the wonderful vibes of an organic fire.
There's no surprise here. Undoubtedly, the best part of having a wood-burning fireplace is (you guessed it), that cozy ambiance we've been talking about. A lot of us just can't get enough of that popping, smoldering goodness. On top of that, a wood fire produces plenty of heat with no additional wiring or hookup needed; so long as you have a chimney you're good to go. If the power goes out, you can enjoy the flames and warmth as long at the wood lasts. And speaking of wood, there are different types of lumber you may use to change up the smell, temperature, and burning time of your fire.
There are definitely some things to take into account before going gung-ho on a wood fireplace. Cleanup, for starters, can prove to be a daunting task. Debris such as soot, ashes, and flying embers tend to make their way into your living space. As for the inside of your flue, you will need to have your chimney professionally cleaned to remove any creosote buildup. This highly flammable by-product of wood-burning fires can cause a safety hazard if not taken care of.
Safety and quality of air is a concern with wood-burning fireplaces, as well. Stay aware of warm embers left in your hearth as re-ignition may occur. Cost can also be a bother when you're having to replenish, dry, and treat your wood to burn properly. Depending on your location, wood can either be easily accessible or harder to find; therefore, more expensive. Finally, running out of lumber means an unfortunate end to your heat source.
Much like natural gas fireplaces, if you are installing a wood fireplace you will need to ensure it's placed within an exterior wall or next to a chimney. The Royalton Wood Fireplace by Majestic Fireplaces is the perfect example of a classic hearth fit for any style of home. An important accessory for your wood fireplace would be a mesh screen to protect your space from dangerous sparks. For other maintenance, there are cleaning tools and various firesets that make for an easier experience.
Ethanol & Gel
Get creative with your space by installing this modern EcoSmart Fire Double Sided See-Through Bioethanol Firebox.
Ethanol and gel have been growing as popular fireplace fuel alternatives for a while now. A huge benefit of this energy source is that it produces a real burning flame without the smoke or messy debris. All the while, the fireplaces that use ethanol or gel lend a beautifully modern aesthetic. Since these fireplaces also have no need for a flue, they are the ultimate choice for small or ventless settings.
Brands like Anywhere Fireplace and EcoSmart Fire provide several clean-burning fire features for living areas that have limited space. Being environmentally friendly, you can confidently take these "green" fires outdoors or indoors. Simply light the fuel with a long lighter and admire your splendid flame. These fuel containers can also be easily and safely stored inside your home.
Some less than ideal points for ethanol and gel fireplaces involve how this fuel is maintained. Refilling your ethanol or gel burner can be tricky. Ensure that none of the liquid is spilled in the process of refilling since this excess fuel can ignite accidentally. Also, it is best practice to let your burner cool for at least 45 minutes before refilling to prevent burning yourself.
Ethanol and gel fuel can be costly, depending on how often you use it, so it is best not to let it go to waste. If the fuel is left in the burner unlit, there is a good chance it will evaporate. This type of fireplace also does not emit as much heat has a wood or gas fireplace, so while this may be suitable for an apartment, it may not completely heat a larger environment.
When you start to explore the world of ethanol and gel fireplaces, you'll find a handful of different ways to utilize them throughout your home. For a petite fire feature, there are several tabletop designs that not only provide extra warmth but add a decorative touch to your household arrangement. Most of our free-standing selections provide a clean and modern feel while giving you the ability to easily transport the fireplace anywhere in your home. Last, but not least, are the incredibly chic wall mounted ethanol fireplaces. Any of these clean-burning creations will undoubtedly make a statement no matter the environment.
There are many advantages and disadvantages to weigh out to make the right pick for your residence. For smaller living areas that need the ease and convenience of a fume-free, portable, and less powerful heat source, we recommend an electric or ethanol/gel fireplace. For homes that have more square footage, want to customize, and have a budget for maintenance, we suggest a gas or wood-burning fireplace.
With these pros and cons in mind, we're confident that we have given you the tools to make the perfect selection for your space. For more advice on which fireplace is best suited for your home, we're available to live chat on the Starfire Direct website, over the phone (866) 578-8538, or email us by filling out this simple form. Until next time, happy fireplace hunting!Header Image: This minimalistic modern home comes alive with the incredible EcoSmart Fire Electric Firebox.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The talented and knowledgeable staff of Starfire Direct pride themselves on being experts in the field of fire features, outdoor living, and beyond. Always at the forefront of upcoming trends and industry breakthroughs, the team at SD is ready and willing to help you make your dream space a reality, once piece at a time. Our business is helping you to Reignite Your Life.