Ask Yourself These 6 Questions When Choosing a Fireplace for Your Home
Choosing to bring a fireplace into your home is an important decision. You’ll be living with and using the new appliance for many years, so here are six good questions to ask before you start shopping.
1. How much heat do I want from the new fireplace?
Zero-clearance fireplaces, which are the type of fireplaces people buy (as opposed to having a masonry fireplace constructed), come in many sizes and heat-efficiency ratings. If you’ll be heating a large area, look for the most powerful models. For smaller spaces, you don’t need to buy the highest-performing unit in the store.
2. What’s the best fuel?
ZC fireplaces can run either on gas or wood. With gas, you get low maintenance and minimal cleaning. With wood, you’ll need to have the vent system professionally cleaned to remove flammable creosote, and there will be some ash-removal and firebox-cleaning periodically. Wood fires tend to look more traditional and burn more vibrantly. Gas fires, however, have a surprisingly “natural” look with intricately designed faux logs.
3. Where will the fireplace be installed?
As noted, modern zero-clearance fireplaces come in sizes and styles that are appropriate for just about any size room. Everyone in the family should provide input on where your new unit (or units) will be placed. Consider any rearranging that might be necessary within the room. Visualize how the fireplace will look in various spots. Also, know the square-footage of the room so you can bring this info to your fireplace retailer, who will recommend the ideal unit to meet your heating needs.
4. Should I install the fireplace myself?
A number of drawbacks may come into play if you attempt to do your own fireplace installation. An improperly installed fireplace could be dangerous to operate and present a safety risk for you and your home. Consider also, many insurance carriers will not cover damage caused by a fireplace that was not professionally/correctly installed. To get the most out of your new fireplace, it should be installed by technicians certified through the National Fireplace Institute. (Your local hearth dealer should be able to provide this service or be able to refer you.)
5. Can I clean the vent system of a wood ZC fireplace?
Cleaning the venting for a wood-burning zero-clearance fireplace is another task that should be left to experienced professionals. CSIA-certified chimney sweeps have the specialized tools and equipment needed to remove stubborn creosote and soot from flue pipes and chimneys of all kinds. The majority of chimney fires each year start with excess creosote, which is highly flammable and volatile and is formed every time a wood fire burns. Annual professional chimney cleaning is recommended by all fire-safety agencies.
6. How much should I spend on my new fireplace?
It’s a good idea to determine your budget before you go shopping for a fireplace. Fortunately, modern ZC fireplaces come in a wide price range, which should give you plenty of choices that would make financial sense for you.
When you visit your local hearth store, let the staff know your budget and the other specifications you’ve decided on after reading this article. Experienced fireplace pros will then be able to direct you right to the type of fireplaces that will match all your needs.
To view the best fireplaces on the market and arrange for quick, professional installation, pay a visit to Felgemacher Fireplace Shop at 2727 Broadway Suite 5 in Cheektowaga, NY. We serve the greater Buffalo and Rochester regions and will go out of our way to ensure your satisfaction for many years to come. Visit us, schedule an appointment or call (716) 482-1820.