What type of fireplace is right for my home?

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There are a few different options when it comes to heating (and beautifying) your home with a fireplace. Apart from having a furnace, a fireplace is an excellent source of heat, but more importantly it’s a great focal point in any room.

To learn more about fireplaces we talked with Dana Moroz of Napolean Fire to give us his expert opinion.

Dana says that there are three different classifications: fireplaces, stoves and inserts. A fireplace is usually unfinished and sits behind your wall, a stove is free standing and self-contained and an insert is designed to fit into an existing wood burning fireplace.

According to Dana, fireplaces, stoves and inserts are typically installed first and foremost for aesthetic appeal. So depending on what look you’re going for, you can determine the best form-and-function design.

As for fuel, you have several options.

Wood: This is the cheapest fuel source, especially if you have abundant access to wood. However, wood burning fireplaces, stoves and inserts are more labor intensive since they are fueled manually, by you of course! You’ll need have to hire a professional chimney sweep every season if you burn wood. Also, keep in mind that wood doesn’t burn cleanly, so if you’re looking for an environmentally friendly option, wood isn’t the best fuel choice. On the upside, if you live in an area that stands to lose power during big storms, you’ll have the advantage of keeping the house warm with a wood burning fireplace, stove or insert.

Gas: Gas is a little more expensive than wood for fuel, but gas burns cleaner and doesn’t require the manual labor of stoking a wood-based fire.

Pellet: Pellets are similar to wood in maintenance and labor. While bags are fairly inexpensive—around $6 for a 40 pound bag—pellet stoves and inserts must be refilled every so often and require routine maintenance. They also require electricity to run, so if you lose power the pellet feeding mechanism will shut down.

Electric: If you would rather forgo the burning embers that come with the above fuel options, an electric fireplace is a great alternative. An electric fireplace is the easiest to maintain and install, as it does not require a lot of ventilation or a chimney. It can be turned on with a remote and provides heat and a beautiful focal point. However, because it’s electric, watch your heating bills. You’ll also be out of luck when you lose power.

Hire a professional in your area to install a fireplace, stove or insert correctly.

Photos courtesy of Napoleon Fire