How To Pick The Right Decorative Fireplace

by Debra

in Decorating Ranch Style House, Interior

Fire heh heh
photo credit: Mel B.

A hearth is a important addition to any home. They are perfect for providing some comfort during cold winter days and nights but better than that, they are fun. A hearth gives off feelings of friendship and love along with their warmth. No one can deny how nice it is to gather with family or friends in front of a hearth sharing stories and laughter. When you think of a hearth, you may have pictures in your head images of the old built in type with a brick chimney up the side of the house. Today that is not the case, you can find fireplaces of all shapes and sizes that are portable and use a variety of fuel.

Overall most fireplaces are either gas or wood burning varieties and there are Electric Fireplaces as well. A decorative fireplace mantel: can be a fancy and ornate part of your living room or den ; however, they can also be subtly functional pieces that hold the firebox. Choosing a great wood fireplace mantel: will make your hearth a central piece and are very easy to put in. Electric FireplaceConventional fireplaces, while attractive , are not the most energy efficient and if you are not knowledgeable about their proper use can actually pose both a health and physical hazard .

Optional “fireplaces” and heat sources:

Real Flame Gel Fireplaces are different from electric fireplaces in that they actually start a real fire. The fuel required for these is a gel like substance that is odorless , non-toxic and environmentally friendly. These fireplaces all meet the EPA standards of cleanliness, without using wood or gas . One canister of gel is enough fuel to burn at 3,000 BTU’s for up to three hours, this is not as energy efficient as an electric fireplaces but they are nice for heating a localized small area Many gel fireplace owners simply burn two canisters at once, increasing the BTU emission and therefore promoting even more warmth over a larger area. This will increase the BTUs and allow you to heat a larger area. Even though they are less cost effective than an electric fireplaces, they are perfect for the person who wants to keep the romantic quality that comes with a conventional type fireplace and all without any possible consequences of wood smoke.

When electric fireplaces were first introduced in the 70’s and 80’s they were a cheap and tacky looking affair. With new technology has come the ability to create electric fireplaces that look so real it takes a close inspection to tell the difference. Of course, they will not have the same crackling, smoky ambiance of a conventional fireplace design but they are much more portable and efficient. The fact is many electric fireplaces generate enough heat to warm a 400 sq ft room. In addition, you have the choice of hundreds of styles, colors, and mantel types. There is a portable fireplace to fit any style or need.

One of the most widely used alternative fuels today is propane. Propane is a highly refined product that is left over from the processing of crude oil and natural gas. As fireplaces go, propane fueled one burns much hotter than any other type. Compared to a wood burning fireplace they have less pollutants as well. Next to gel or indoor electric fireplace, propane is a lot less expensive, however they emit more pollutants than these two do. Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are common pollutants of a propane fireplace. If you like, the look of a traditional flame fireplace but not the health risks associated with wood or the cost of gel look no further than a propane fireplace.

A hearth is not only a wonderful addition they can actually increase the value of your home. With all the different kinds of fireplaces and mantels available, you will find one that meets all your needs perfectly. A fireplace is something you can enjoy for years to come.


Fire Places: A Practical Design Guide to Fireplaces and Stoves Indoors and Out

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