Fireplace Options for Your Home
By: Danny Lipford
Nothing beats the warm and cozy feeling of a fireplace. Plus, adding a fireplace can increase the value of your home by as much as ten percent and is much easier and less expensive than it used to be.
With the advanced technology available today, the new fireplaces provide great ambience, ease of use and even help reduce heating bills. There are a number of things to consider when choosing a new fireplace for your home and plenty of choices to make.
Pre-Engineered Wood Burning Fireplace
These units are the choice of many homeowners who are remodeling or building a new home. The pre-engineered fireplace is much easier to install and less expensive than a traditional masonry fireplace. Basically it’s a lightweight brick lined firebox encased in metal.
Because pre-engineered fireplaces are insulated most models can be installed within an inch of combustible materials. Pre-engineered fireplaces cost about one-third the price of a masonry fireplace ($500 to $600) and can also be equipped with a gas lighter or gas logs.
Gas Lighter Kit
If you are going to burn wood and you didn’t camp out much as a kid, you may need some help getting the fire started. A gas lighter kit is connected to a gas line installed inside your fireplace to light your fire in no time.
You simply place your logs over the burner, and turn it on for a short time until your fire is blazing. The lighter itself will cost less than $50 but you may have to pay a plumber to install the gas line in your fireplace.
Gas Log System
If you have an existing wood burning fireplace and are tired of hunting for firewood and cleaning up the mess afterward, installing a the gas log system might be just the thing.
Gas log systems are installed right in your fireplace and are made of ceramic materials that are fabricated to look like burning firewood. You simply turn the fire on or off without the wood gathering or clean up of a wood burning fire. Because the fire is instant on and instant off, it makes managing the temperature in the room much easier.
A good set of gas logs will go for around $500 or more (there are lots of options and models, so the prices may vary a good bit). By the time you have a gas line and the logs installed, you can expect to pay between $1,000 and $1,500.
One of the major problems with the traditional fireplace is that about 90% of the heat goes right up the chimney. It provides a nice atmosphere but does little to actually heat the home.
If you have an existing fireplace that is either not being used or you want to upgrade the look and get additional heating, a fireplace insert is a good choice. These units can burn gas or wood and are much more effective in keeping your home warm. You simply choose a unit that fits into the space of your existing fireplace and seal off the rest of the opening.
Gas burning fireplaces have become the choice for beauty, simplicity, and ease of use. These fireplaces are designed to work specifically with gas burning logs and as a result are far more efficient at keeping the heat they generate in the home.
Some gas fireplace units are self-contained (covered with glass doors) and equipped with blowers to circulate warm air into the room. In some cases this translates to as much as 70-80% heating efficiency.
gas fireplaces can’t be beat for remodeling applications since they can be added to a room with very minor modifications. Some manufacturers even have prefabricated wall units designed specifically for fireplaces so that all you have to do is cut a hole for the vent pipe.
In some cases you can even find gas fireplaces that don’t require any venting at all. These units vary greatly in capability and options so the prices will too, from around $1,500 to $4,000.
Depending on your choices, you may also have to make more involved modifications to the room than just supplying gas and venting.