A good fireplace is one of the most exquisite creature comforts anyone can enjoy in their home. Fireplaces do wonders in making your domestic environment feel warm, cozy and inviting. And it’s the perfect refuge from the elements when winter’s icy chill comes to pervade the air.
Despite these obviously alluring qualities, however, most regard fireplace installation as an enormous hassle involving all sorts of complicated work and planning. If you’re like many, you might find the prospect of having to install a fireplace daunting, and the fact of being utterly without guidance about what to do might leave you bewildered and discouraged.
It would be a terrible shame to succumb to such apprehensions, however. No matter the particulars of your situation and your home, proper guidance about how to outfit your home with the fireplace of your dreams is certainly available. If you’re considering transforming your home into a full-fledged safe haven from the winter, but don’t know much about fireplaces, let The Original Flame offer you a helping hand.
With our many years of installation experience, we can answer all of your burning questions about fireplaces and installation and set you on the path to giving your home a truly unique ambiance. If you’re considering putting in a fireplace, here are some of the most important things that you absolutely need to know. Think of what follows as fireplace FAQs.
What Sorts of Fireplaces are Available?
Before you can do any kind of fireplace installation, you have to know what your options are. What kinds of different units can you put in your home? What are the similarities, differences and respective features of each type? Here are the fireplace options — all exquisitely crafted by top manufacturers like Regency, Kingsman and Amanti — that The Original Flame has available to you:
Gas models run using propane or natural gas. Typically, or models are fireplace inserts designed to fit snugly into your fireplace opening. If you don’t already have one, you will have to run a gas line through your home in order to have such a fireplace. All models are exquisitely energy-efficient. If your power goes out, the unit will still function. Also, all units are designed with a safety feature that automatically shuts the unit off less than 90 seconds after the pilot light gets blown out.
An electric fireplace is electrically powered. Hence, installing it won’t require you to run a gas line through your house, purchase propane, chop wood, periodically clean ashes from your chimney and fireplace, or do any number of other potentially difficult and burdensome maintenance or installation tasks. That means that if simple convenience is your most important consideration, going electric is probably your best option. It’s also the go-to option if you have no chimney or if installing a gas line in your home is dangerous or otherwise prohibitive. We can potentially install an electric fireplace for you with in the same week that you order it. And you can place it almost anywhere you like. You’ll find more information about our electric units here.
Wood Burning Fireplaces:
Wood models have that classic old-timer feel and aesthetic. Of course, you must have a pre-existing chimney in your home to have a wood fireplace. Typically, our models are inserts that go right into the space in your chimney. They are EPA certified to be highly energy efficient and to generate minimal pollution. Depending on the type of model you choose, they can transfer heat throughout your home either by radiation or convection. Wood models also distribute heat very evenly and do nothing to run up your energy bill.
Ethanol fireplaces are one of the coolest things possible thanks to median technology. They are run using ethanol alcohol. To work this kind of fireplace, you simply measure out the needed quantity of ethanol, place it into a special reservoir, dip the prongs of a controller tool into the reservoir and then light those moistened prongs. You get a real fire which burns with excellent efficiency and doesn’t require a chimney.
Fireplace inserts can be thought of as their own category. But not because of what powers them or how they generate energy. Rather, the primary advantage of fireplace inserts is convenience. They are smaller and more portable than conventional fireplace set-ups. Making them perfect for rooms without a great deal of generous space on the wall. We offer wood, gas and electric fireplace inserts. Electric fireplace inserts arguably provide the greatest versatility. Since these can simply be hung in any appropriate space on a wall, hooked up to your electrical system and used to generate heat for you.
Space and Clearance
The “clearance level” of a fireplace refers to the distance between the fireplace unit itself and the nearest combustible material. Fireplace inserts of all kinds typically have some sort of a clearance level because they are slid into pre-existing chimneys or other structures. A so-called “zero clearance” fireplace, on the other hand, is usually built into a home from the beginning when it is first constructed or is added on during renovations. “Zero-clearance” means that the combustible materials can be placed directly against the fireplace. Most commonly, gas and wood models are zero-clearance, though electric models are also available.
Thus, if you’re building a new house or if you have some extensive renovations planned, zero-clearance fireplaces might be a great option for you.
A related consideration is space. Wood units, given the ash that they leave behind, are best used in large rooms and wide, open spaces. If you have a small home, apartment or room, an electric fireplace might be best for you. Ethanol and gas models are most suitable for mid-sized spaces. In particular, our ethanol models are meant for rooms with areas of 215 square feet or more. Though they can heat areas as large as 375 square feet.
Bear this in mind when making your selection.
All About BTUs
What’s a BTU, or British Thermal Unit? It’s defined as the amount of heat necessary to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. The larger your home and the colder the place is where you live, the higher is the amount of BTUs you will probably need from your fireplace.
A standard 120V electric fireplace, generating about 5,000 BTUs, will probably be enough to heat a 400-square-foot room. You might need 240 volts for larger rooms, though. More heat will also be needed to heat an entire house. Gas units have an extremely wide BTU range — typically anywhere between 10,000 and 70,000. One litre of propane corresponds to 24,245 BTUs. Wood-burning models range between 38,000 and 80,000, and ethanol models can go from 3,000 to 20,000.
Everyone loves the classic look of a wood-burning fireplace. But for technical reasons, it might not be possible to put such a unit into your home. That shouldn’t discourage you, however, as any type of unit can look beautiful in the right sort of setting. Which unit can give you the right look will depend on what kind of look you want and what kind of house you have. However, our models embody many different styles. From elegant, classical looks, to rougher and more rustic styles, to more geometrically precise modern designs. You can learn a bit more about our style options here.
In a word, though, if aesthetics is most important to you, go for wood. If you want real flames, gas, wood and ethanol are your choices. However, if you seek energy efficiency, choose between gas, electric and ethanol. And, if you need portability, you can’t go wrong with electric.
As you can see, choosing fireplaces requires you to balance a great many factors. It’s a process that depends not only on your goals and desires, but the functional and architectural aspects of your home. The Original Flame is happy to help all homeowners in the Peterborough and Kawartha Lakes regions of northeastern Ontario to balance out these trade-offs to perfection.
If you still have some further questions and want more information, please have a look at one of our fireplace FAQs here.