Houses with fireplaces have always dominated real estate sells charts in recent years and understandably so. There is nothing quite cozy and romantic as sitting by a warm fire on a cold day, especially if you’re doing it among those you love. This is partly the reason why fireplaces remain atop of people’s preferences when buying a house, and also why people tend to invest in fireplaces if their houses don’t already have one.
They say that a house with no fireplace is a house without a heart, or at least that’s what people with fireplaces in their homes come to believe after a while. Now, the exact utility of a fireplace is questionable from a modern perspective, but the romanticism and warm aesthetic value of a fireplace are undisputed. That said, you will find that not all fireplaces are created equal and that some are definitely better built than others.
Before delving into what the market has in store, you should take the time and learn as much as you possibly can about what constitutes a decent fireplace and what exactly to look for when buying one. We say this because fireplaces aren’t exactly cheap, nor are they simple enough to showcase their features straight off the bat. In this respect, you should first and foremost educate yourself on what you could realistically expect from a decent fireplace and what exactly to avoid.
Types Of Fireplaces
As straightforward as they may be, fireplaces can be quite different from one another by virtue of their construction and general purpose. Although wood burning fireplaces are by far the most widespread, you will also run across plenty of gas-burning or electric fireplaces (also see: electric fireplace inserts) if you go looking.
We should point out that fireplaces come in all shapes and sizes, especially the wood-burning kind that tends to be the most common throughout the western world.
Wood Burning Fireplaces – These fireplaces are seen as timeless classics in many ways and expectedly so considering how widespread they are. Even though they have evolved a lot over the years, many of them are still made from stone or bricks. Even so, they can get quite expensive because of the manufacturing costs, not to mention how expensive the maintenance can get. Despite that, the overall beauty and coziness of these fireplaces recommend them for anyone who wants to bring a little warmth into their homes. It also needs to be said that factory-made fireplaces or ‘zero clearance fireplaces’ as some people call them, deliver a much better performance than traditional stone fireplaces.
Gas Burning Fireplaces – With gas fireplaces, you get a more modern approach to the art, a complex alternative that combines the classic beauty of wood burning fireplace inserts with the practical nature of natural gas. Intricate in their design, these gas fireplace inserts can be used as traditional models as part of a built-in hearth or brought prebuilt so that you can install them almost anywhere you have the space. We should point out that these types of fireplaces do not require a chimney that vents outside, which makes having them a lot more convenient for people who want to benefit from what a fireplace has to offer without making any drastic changes to their interior design.
Electric Fireplaces – Pretty self-explanatory in name, these fireplaces offer the atmosphere of traditional fireplaces without any of the maintenance or risks associated with them. As such, these fireplaces are a lot easier to care for and somewhat easier to install. At the same time, they come in many different styles, from chic wall-mounted models to traditional stone versions. Whatever your preference, you are guaranteed to find a model that tickles your fancy without having to spend too much on the initial purchase. You might want to check out electric fireplace tv stands.
Outdoor Wood Fireplaces – As the name suggests, these fireplaces are commonly installed outside the house and serve a more practical purpose than fancy inside fireplaces. With such a fireplace, you will not only get the aesthetic benefit of a traditional fireplace but also the capacity to use it in a more practical manner if you see fit. For instance, you can use it to cook a variety of dishes or burn smokey wood for the pleasing visual effects that outdoor fireplaces are known for, especially if you get proper fireplace logs to complete the setup. To achieve a more rustic and inviting atmosphere, make sure to invest in a fireplace made from quality stones or bricks, but do so without neglecting the overall durability of the fireplace.
Along with a fireplace, people soon find out that they require a few additional tools to help with the maintenance. As such, you will sooner or later need to get yourself a broom, shovel, tongues, poker, and heat resistant brush for maintenance purposes. At the same time, you’re going to need to invest in a fireplace wood holder at some point, not just for its practical design but also for its rustic look.
These accessories are more important than you think once you realize just how tedious it can be to look after a fireplace without the proper tools. Needless to say, these tools come in different sizes and enable you to develop a certain routine that you can follow when cleaning up and preparing your fireplace.
There is also the issue of fireplace doors that needs to be considered when buying a fireplace, especially the utility of glass fireplace doors that seem to be the most practical of them all. These particular doors are made of tempered glass that’s been specifically designed to withstand high temperatures without showing any signs of damage. Although they help create an aesthetically pleasing environment, they tend to age over time due to their exposure to heat and eventually crack after a few years.
Wood Burning Stoves
There is no denying that wood burning stoves have a certain appeal beyond their practical purpose. While it used to be that stoves were mostly used for cooking and other utilitarian purposes, nowadays they also serve an aesthetic purpose as they tend to really bring a room together when they’re part of rustic decor. Now, it should be said that stoves have come a long way over the years and that newer versions are certified by environmental agencies around the world with respect to their polluting damage.
At the same time, a decent stove can really bolster a room’s ambiance to a great extent, be it a small wood stove or a larger model. Not just that but even a small stove can save up to 80% in energy costs provided that you are careful and use the right firewood. Then again, many of those who opt for wood-burning stoves do so for the combined beauty and authenticity along with the utility such a stove can provide in the long run.
Types Of Stoves
While wood-burning stoves come in one of three forms, stoves, in general, have a little more variety in the regard. As such, you can get yourself a versatile stove, one that will handle both wood and wood pellets, but be prepared to spend a lot of money on it. Either way, you need to take the time and learn as much as you possibly can about what constitutes a good stove and what to expect from one depending on its construction.
Pellet Stoves – You can expect a small pellet stove to deliver roughly the same performance as a gas-powered stove of the same measurements. Practical in nature, these stoves aren’t all that hard to come by and have cheap maintenance costs provided that you care for them properly.
Electric Stoves – In a similar fashion, you can expect an electric stove to deliver the same cooking prowess as a regular wood-powered or gas-powered stove. It needs to be said, however, that a small electric stove doesn’t have the same heating power of a wood-burning stove of the same size.
Outdoor Wood Stoves – These particular stoves provide a decent heating option along with a practical way of cooking your food. What’s great about investing in such a stove is that an outdoor wood stove can be fueled with relative ease when you’re out camping, mainly because you can easily find dry wood anywhere in nature.
Tent Wood Stoves for Camping – Similar in purpose to outdoor wood stoves, these particular stoves are a bit smaller and require slightly more tedious maintenance. Even so, you can expect a tent wood stove for camping to provide not only a reliable heating source but also to help with your cooking at a moment’s notice. (Also see: backpacking wood stove).
Indoor Wood Burning Stoves – These are without a doubt, the most widespread and popular wood-burning stoves on the market. They incorporate pretty much any indoor wood burning stove type under the sun, from compact, cooking models to bulky, heat providing versions that generally boast a traditional outlook. Needless to say, these stoves require a chimney or smoke vent to be attached to them at all times for health and safety reasons.
Types Of Wood Burning Stoves
It should be said that wood burning stove inserts can vary in looks and construction type, even though they all serve roughly the same practical purpose. While some wood pellet stoves are built in a traditional design, others boast a more contemporary or modern look. These stoves can be made of steel, cast iron, or soapstone, for the most part, each with its own particularities. That said, one needs to understand that there isn’t a universal standard for wood-burning stoves and that some are definitely better than others.
Steel Stoves – Available in a wide array of shapes and sizes, steel stoves are among the most practical on account of their durability. It is common for these stoves to have a convection air chamber where a fan circulates hot air before releasing it into the room. This is not something you can expect from every steel stove, mind you, but it is definitely something to look for in high-end models. It is also important to check a steel stove’s warranty as it directly relates to the durability of the steel plates used in its making. Furthermore, it should be said that a decent cubic mini wood stove will always be made of steel or at least plated with steel for good measure.
Cast Iron Stoves – Perhaps the greatest benefit cast iron stoves have apart from their rustic look, is the guaranteed balance between quality and durability. Along with the decorative benefits such a rustic stove delivers, you can also expect the stove to impress through its practical setup. It needs to be said that these pellet stove inserts generally come in different shapes and can be fueled with almost any type of wood. At the same time, some models may even feature a fully functional cooking area at the top.
Soapstone Stoves – These are by far the stoves that retain the most heat, more so than any other material. As such, people employ them not just for cooking and aesthetic purposes but also for warmth during the winter. Although you will find the occasional mini wood stove that’s made from soapstone, most of the ones being sold nowadays are a bit bulkier. This is because people tend to use them mostly for their heat retention. Bear in mind, however, that these stoves take a very long time to fully heat up.
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Tools & Accessories
Upon purchasing a wood-burning stove of any kind, one should always look into buying any additional tool they might deem necessary. For starters, you should invest in a wood stove fan to help dissipate the smoke through any chimney or exhaust pipe of your choosing.
This shouldn’t just be seen as a viable addition to your stove arrangement but also as an investment in your own general safety and the health of your family. With that out of the way, you might also want to get yourself some stove burner covers to help you through in the long run. Rather inexpensive, these covers are easy to come by and guaranteed to help with the maintenance efforts.
Wood & Pellets
Even though many people still prefer to burn wood as a primary fuel source, there are plenty of pellet options out there to choose from. As a matter of fact, some of the best wood pellets for your pellet stove, can be expected to provide twice the calorific power of common wood. Provided that you equip your stove and/or fireplace with a reliable pellet insert, you can then add pellets to the fire without having to deal with any of the traditional hazards associated with burning wood.