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Indoor Fireplaces Cost Remodel Reface Fireplaces can be built in different shapes and sizes. Brick-Tile-Stone
Different shapes and sizes Fireplaces can be built in
different shapes and sizes. They can be of various types as well
depending on the fuel source you use such as wood, gas or
electric and then there are the traditional and stone types.
Hot Fireplaces New technology adds efficiency to
fireplaces' romantic appeal
Fireplaces were never hotter. We love
them for the romance and cheer they bring to our lives, and it
is nice that they add at least 10% to the value of a house, but
right now we are also thinking that they might bring some relief
from cruel fuel prices. A comforting thought, but is it
The truth is that conventional
fireplaces send more heat up the chimney than they provide to
your home. But the good news is that exciting new technologies
now add energy-efficiency to the romantic tradition of the
Fireplace inserts, gas logs,
freestanding stoves, masonry heaters and new fuels are just a
few of the dozens of options that make a fire in the grate more
affordable, convenient and efficient as well as safer and
Yet, purists needn't fear
that the wonderful looks of their hearths will be compromised.
The shifting shapes and colors of the fire will be as
fascinating as ever, and the instant solace the fireplace offers
after cold commutes and shopping trips will remain unabated.
For example, fireplace inserts, which
the U.S. Department of Energy applauds for superior energy
efficiency, have left their drab appliance look far behind.
Today, they are great looking and come in a wide variety of
styles, from traditional to contemporary. Designers and
homeowners alike sing their praises.
"Many inserts include such aesthetic features
as decorative tile, cast iron or enameled fronts, glass bays and brass trim. "They won't embarrass even the most elegant rooms."
A fan of
inserts during a severe winter a couple of years ago. "We were
hit by a power outage at a time of plummeting temperatures," she
recalls. "With our heating system out of commission, we kept our
wood-burning fireplace going, and thanks to the insert we were
able to keep the entire first floor toasty and the second floor
warm enough to keep pipes from freezing and bursting."
Fireplace inserts are heating
units that fit into existing fireplaces and can burn wood, gas
or wood pellets. They can generate more than 70,000 BTUs per
hour and can warm up to 1900 sq. ft. of space.
Some models extend onto the
hearth while others stay flush with the front of the
fireplace. Most have tight-fitting glass or metal doors and
built-in circulation features. The most efficient models supply
combustion air from outside the house, and virtually all inserts
are controlled-draft units with manually or thermostatically
controlled air inlets. Some units are also available with
catalytic converters for improved efficiency.
Glass doors, heat exchangers,
dampers and flue sealers can also up the energy
efficiency of an existing fireplace, but don't expect too much.
According to the Department of Energy, those devices combined
could only improve efficiency by some 10%.
If you want a whole new
fireplace, you can take energy efficiency as well as
great-looking design to the max. For example, stone fireplaces
that have heated Swedish and Finnish manor houses for centuries
are gaining ground in the U.S., and it is easy to understand
why. They are stunning, but they are also very efficient. Since
they are freestanding, they cast heat all around them, not just
in one place, and the stone surfaces store up heat and release
it over as many hours as needed. Expect to shell out big bucks
for these beauties.
Another interesting option is the new
fireplaces that don't require masonry chimneys,
for they can be installed easily and safely in most any room.
They are simply vented through an outside wall, and they are
available as wall units, islands, peninsulas and two-sided
models that let you enjoy the fire from adjoining rooms. They
may burn wood, gas or propane.
There is no question that
fireplaces are terrific and getting better all the time,
but your mom was right on the money when she warned you not to
play with fire. Safety is all-important, so before changing a
fireplace or adding a new one, consult an architect or fireplace
specialist. Also check local codes with your town's building