Choosing a fireplace

fireplace-in-homeAs warm weather subsides and winter moves in, it’s no surprise that many homeowners like to curl up by the fire’s glow on a chilly night in. For centuries, fireplaces and hearths have been symbols of the home, family and unity. Today, they still carry these positive associations. However, fireplaces have evolved considerably since the days of wood stoves and stone hearths and there are a myriad of options available to suit your needs and lifestyle.

Before committing to a new fireplace, do your research and understand which type applies best to your living circumstances, financial wherewithal and personal preferences. Start by examining the following four fireplace types:

1. Wood-burning fireplaces. This traditional fireplace is popular among homeowners who desire a conventional or classic look. Wood-burning fireplaces can include brick hearths and chimneys or can come in the form of a wood-burning stove. These stoves serve two purposes: they can be used to cook and prepare food in addition to heating your home or cottage.

2. Electric fireplaces. Electric fireplaces cost more to buy than your typical electric heaters, but they provide the illusion and aesthetic appeal of a wood-burning fireplace. Electric fireplaces plug into the wall and can be used on a flame-only setting or as a heater. This fireplace type is does not require any major renovations to your home and is usually quite portable.

3. Natural gas fireplaces. Unlike a log fireplace, a natural gas fireplace can be turned on and off with the flick of a switch or even a remote. These fireplaces operate with the use of a ventilation system, which means they do not require chimneys and the ongoing maintenance associated with them.

4. Pellet fireplaces. Pellet fireplaces are easy to use as they eliminate the need for logs or wood. They are also highly efficient in that they usually come with an automatic feature: when the heat drops below a certain temperature in your home, the unit turns on. Pellet stoves burn very quickly, allowing them to heat rooms in a matter of minutes.

It is easy to see that there is more than one way to stay warm while the weather outside is frightful. With each option having its own set of advantages, choosing which one is right for you may be the biggest challenge of all! Do your research, identify what you can afford and stay warm this winter.

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