Last week I was talking to a friend from Vienna, VA about the process I went through to pick the right wood burning fireplace. As its name implies, this type of fireplace is fueled by wood — but it’s way more versatile than you think. Professional chimney services companies like ours will always review the options with you. However, with so many fireplace options available, it can be tough to make a final decision. From style to heat production, all kinds of factors come into play. Not sure where to start? Worry not, here are some tips to help you choose the right wood-burning fireplace to your home:
The right wood-burning fireplace should bring instant pizzazz to your home. If you’re eager to class up your interior decor, try a fireplace with traditional masonry. Nothing shouts sophisticated quite like beautiful stones or brickwork. If, however, you prefer a contemporary look, you’ll want to consider these options:
- Mosaic tiles
- Reflective gold
- Metallic accents
Choosing the perfect wood-burning fireplace can be a real challenge. Begin by reflecting on your current decor and the ambiance it conveys. A classic fireplace might look odd in a decidedly contemporary home — and vice versa.
Of course, while your fireplace should match your home’s overarching aesthetic, it should also provide enough contrast to serve as a proud centerpiece. Select a material or color that helps your fireplace stand out against the existing walls and flooring.
Open Versus Closed Combustion
The terms open and closed combustion refer to whether closed doors are needed for a given fireplace to function optimally.
- Open combustion fireplaces can operate successfully without glass doors. When you picture a traditional hearth, you probably think of an open combustion fireplace. While this approach provides much of the ambiance and charm associated with wood burning fireplaces, it’s not as efficient as closed combustion fireplaces.
- With closed combustion, the doors must remain shut for peak functioning. Designed for maximum heat production, closed combustion styles are best for homes in which fireplaces serve more of a practical (versus a decorative) function. That’s not to say closed combustion fireplaces aren’t attractive — style simply isn’t the primary consideration.
What About Wood Burning Stoves And Inserts?
Traditional fireplaces are by no means the only option if you’re looking for a wood-fueled solution. Alternate options include:
- Wood burning stoves, which do not need to be built into the wall or with a chimney. Many homeowners favor wood burning stoves for their flexible installation and efficiency.
- Wood burning inserts, which can be used to alter an existing fireplace. This is an ideal option for homeowners who love the appearance of their fireplace but desire increased heat production or efficiency. With inserts, you get the best of both worlds: impressive efficiency without sacrificing the classic aesthetic you desire.Here is an article that you may find useful.
No matter how stylish, no one fireplace, stove, or insert solution is ideal for every home. Think carefully about how your fireplace can best fit into your aesthetic and lifestyle. The perfect wood burning fireplace is out there — you just need to find it.
Hey are you interested in a gas fireplace? why dont you read this article about how to choose the rigth gas fireplace
There’s nothing that contributes to the warm, comfortable, homey atmosphere of a house like a fireplace. It serves as both a gathering place for get-togethers of family and friends or as a quiet companion for solitary contemplation. Although the traditional wood burning fireplace is still popular, many people these days are opting for the convenience and low-maintenance of a gas-burning unit. Gas fireplaces are particularly popular in Fairfax,VA. Professional chimney service companies like ours are always ready to install gas fireplaces. There are many types of gas fireplaces on the market, and choosing the right one for your particular situation requires that you learn a little bit about what’s available.
Why Choose A Gas Fireplace?
Aside from the obvious aesthetic reasons for installing a gas fireplace in your home, there are some practical reasons as well. Gas as a fuel is readily available just about anywhere and doesn’t involve chopping and splitting firewood, or purchasing it at often exorbitant prices, and then having to store it in a protected space near your house. Not to mention having to haul it in when it’s cold outside.
Gas fireplaces burn clean, so there’s no danger of creosote buildup which can cause chimney fires. They are also much easier to maintain and clean than their wood-burning cousins.
They can also significantly lower your heating bills, by as much as 40% by some estimates, especially if you currently heat with electricity.
And finally, they’re a good investment that will increase the property value of your home. Consumer surveys have shown that many buyers are willing to pay more for a house that has a fireplace installed. You can find more reasons in our previous article.
Types Of Gas Fireplaces
There are three types of gas fireplaces, the B-vent, the direct vent, and the vent free. Each has their specifications and requirements. It’s vital that before you install any type, you check to see if they are approved under your local building codes. Unless you have the skills required, it’s best to have the unit installed by a professional. Doing otherwise could not only be dangerous but also void your manufacturer’s warranty.
- B-vent – Sometimes called a natural vent fireplace, these require a particular chimney pipe to be installed through the house to the roof. These are used on decorative types of fireplaces, and usually provide a more natural looking flame, but also generate less heat than other types.
- Direct vent – This type uses a chimney pipe made up of two parts, a large pipe with a smaller pipe inside. The larger pipe draws in air for combustion from outdoors and the smaller pipe vents exhaust gases. The unit is enclosed in airtight glass and uses no indoor air for combustion.
- Vent-free – Ventless units provide heat and flames but don’t require any venting of gases, putting off only a small amount of fumes. Since no vent needs to be installed, they are less expensive and can be placed almost anywhere within the home.
Natural Gas Or Propane
These different fuels require that the fireplace is equipped with the proper outlets for their use. If you live in an area with access to natural gas, and especially if your home is already equipped with gas lines, you’ll want to go with that. Natural gas is cleaner burning and provides a more natural looking fire. If however, you live in an area far away from gas lines, you’ll need to have a propane tank installed on your property and have gas lines installed if you have none. Again, you should check the local building codes and see if any permits are required in your area.
Styles Of Gas Fireplaces
Today there are many different styles of gas fireplaces available, from traditional to modern contemporary. A peninsula-style, which is rectangular, can be used as a divider between two rooms. An island-style fireplace sits in the center of the room and can be seen from all sides. A corner fireplace is open on two sides and is an excellent choice for rooms with limited space. Shop around before you buy to find the style that is best for your tastes and needs.
Do you want to learn more about gas fireplaces? Make sure that you read our previous article about the benefits of gas fireplaces.
With so many options available, choosing a fireplace can prove surprisingly difficult. Depending on your situation, you may be currently considering the merits of a free standing stove fireplace. We recently installed a beautiful free-standing fireplace in a home in Columbia, MD. The best part was that the room originally did not have any fireplace or chimney installed. As a professional chimney service company, we find that homeowners love the versatility offered by free standing fireplaces. that are available. Free standing fireplaces have become very popular. Below, we offer insight into this popular option.
What Is a Free Standing Stove?
A free standing stove fireplace is exactly as it sounds: a fireplace that can be installed standing free from the wall. There is no need for a mortar chimney or a brick wall. This is an excellent alternative for homes that are not suited to fireplaces built into the wall.
Free Standing Stove Benefits
From easy installation to extensive style selection, a variety of benefits make free standing fireplaces an excellent option. A few of the top benefits of this unique type of fireplace are outlined below:
Flexibility of Location
Current lack of a fireplace need not impede you in your quest to bring this feature to a specific location in your home. While most fireplaces can only be installed in areas that already have the infrastructure for this feature, free standing fireplaces do not recognize such limitations. Free standing fireplaces can be installed nearly anywhere within a home. This brings a valuable opportunity if you live in a home not suited to a built-in fireplace; your home’s design or style should not prevent you from enjoying the benefits of living with a fireplace.
Exposed Sides For More Heat And Beauty
The full faces and sides of free standing fireplaces are often on display, as they are typically not built into the wall. Depending on the size and style of the fireplace, this provides an amazing opportunity for it to become a visual centerpiece in any room. Additionally, exposed sides can amplify the heat that free standing fireplaces deliver in your home.
Opportunities For Moving
With some fireplaces, it’s only possible to enjoy their benefits if you are in a specific home; as soon as they’re installed, they’re stuck. With free standing fireplaces, however, you never need to say goodbye. If you eventually decide to move to a new home, it may be possible to move your free standing fireplace with you. Likewise, your free standing fireplace could potentially be shifted from one room in your current home to another.
Free standing stoves come in a wide variety of styles and can be configured to use gas, wood or wood pellets. While someunits are purely decorative, many produce considerable heat. The options are limitless. Ultimately, your preferences determine how, exactly, your free standing fireplace will look and what it will accomplish.
The installation process for a free standing fireplace may be far more convenient than alternate options. Factors that influence where and how these fireplaces are installed may include ventilation, type of flooring, and type of hearth or platform. Installation is typically faster than building a brick and motor fireplace. Your fireplace can be up and running fairly quickly.
A free standing stove fireplace could bring considerable beauty and sophistication to your home, while also serving as a valuable source of heat. It’s a wonderfully versatile option that could transform several rooms in your current home or in future residences.
If your home has an open masonry fireplace, you may want to consider having a fireplace insert installed. A fireplace insert is a fireplace contained in a metal box that converts your home’s inefficient, masonry fireplace into a gas, wood-burning, or pellet stove. Many homeowners in the Washington DC Metro Area find installing a fireplace insert to be a great option to increase energy efficiency while maintaining the natural beauty of a fireplace. For this reason, many chimney and fireplace companies like ours find fireplace inserts to be in high demand.
How does a fireplace insert work? In simplest terms, a fireplace insert consists of two parts: a steel shell and a firebox. The firebox is designed to contain a fire (and its heat) so that rest of the room is heated with minimal waste. The steel shell surrounding the box helps to improve efficiency. Together, these two components work to make your home’s fireplace safer and more energy efficient.
Types of Fireplace Inserts
There are many different types of fireplace inserts, though a few of the most common types include
Not sure which is right for your needs? Explore some details about each fireplace insert below.
Gas Fireplace Inserts
When you’re looking to convert your fireplace into an efficient and low-maintenance option, gas fireplace inserts are an excellent choice. Some of the key benefits of installing a gas fireplace insert in your home include:
- Unrivaled ease of use! Just flip a switch to get your fire started; no need to buy firewood or pellets.
- Low maintenance! No ashes to clean out after each use and no dangerous creosote deposits to worry about building up.
- More precise temperature control than a wood-burning or pellet fireplace.
- Environmental friendliness! Fewer pollutants released into the atmosphere.
If you’re considering a gas fireplace insert, it is worth noting that the cost of fuel to run your gas fireplace will likely remain higher than the cost of firewood or wood pellets, so this should also be taken into consideration as you make your choice.
Wood-Burning Fireplace Inserts
If you prefer the look of real wood burning and the classic “crackle” of a traditional fireplace, then simply installing a wood-burning fireplace insert could be a wise choice. Some of the top benefits of wood-burning fireplace insert installation include:
- Being able to retain the look and feel of a “real” fire.
- Achieving the smell of wood burning, which many people enjoy.
- Improved energy efficiency when compared to an open wood-burning fireplace.
- Added safety when compared to an open fireplace.
Furthermore, the cost of purchasing firewood tends to be much less expensive than paying for gas or even pellets for a pellet stove. Keep in mind, however, that you will need a place to store firewood inside or outside of your home, and you will need to clean out your fireplace after you use it.
Pellet Stove Fireplace Inserts
For a compromise in benefits between a gas fireplace insert and a wood-burning fireplace insert, a pellet stove insert can be a smart decision. Pellet stove fireplaces operate by burning small pellets of compressed wood for safe and energy-efficient home heating. Some of the critical benefits of a pellet stove fireplace insert are:
- A lack of creosote or other potentially dangerous build-ups.
- Environmental friendliness! Pellet stoves produce very little smoke.
- The energy efficiency of a gas fireplace with a more realistic look and feel.
- Easy maintenance.
Other Important Considerations for Fireplace Inserts
While there are indeed many benefits of having a fireplace insert installed in your home, there are also some important considerations worth keeping in mind before you schedule an installation. For starters, with most types of fireplace inserts, your home will need to have an existing and functioning chimney for safe ventilation of pollutants and gases created as a fire burns. If your home’s chimney is in disrepair, this is something you’ll need to address before an insert can be installed and operated.
Overall, installation of a fireplace insert in your home can be a great way to improve energy efficiency and make your home’s fireplace safer. Now all that’s left to do is decide on the type of insert that best suits your needs and find a reputable company to handle the installation!
Many homes in the Washington DC area have gas fireplaces. When you own a gas fireplace, it’s important to know about some of the more common repairs. Some gas fireplace repairs can be done on your own while others require the help of a professional chimney sweep company like ours.
Fireplace Burner isn’t Turning On
You may find that when you go to light your fire, the burner isn’t turning on. If the pilot light is still working, it’s likely a problem with the thermostat. The good news is that you can often fix this on your own by checking that the current room temperature is below the thermostat setting.
If the problem isn’t in your thermostat, you may need a professional to help you with several other aspects:
- Faulty wiring
- Dirty orifice on the pilot light
- Thermocoupler needs to be replaced
Once a professional comes out, they can troubleshoot the issue and make the necessary repairs so your fireplace burner can begin working once again.
Fireplace Doors Not Sealing Properly
Often, the glass doors to your gas fireplace might not be sealing properly, which is a relatively simple fix. The first sign that will tell you that your seals aren’t in place is that you will smell the gas coming out of your fireplace. The clips and glass fasteners both have to be in place firmly.
The Ignition Isn’t Working
If you try to start a fire and the ignition isn’t working, you will need a repair of some sort. You may want to check the breaker box first to see if there has been a trip. Otherwise, it may be that you need to open the gas valve to restore the flow. If neither of these issues is the problem, you will want to get a professional in to check on the natural gas lines or the propane supply and to check the function of the wiring.
Gas fireplaces leave soot that can build up over time. You should be cleaning your fireplace on a regular basis so that you don’t get significant soot buildup. Residue can affect the oxygen flow within your unit. There may not be enough oxygen flow, or there might be too much gas flow. Additionally, you should consider getting a professional chimney inspection to find out if any blockages could be causing the problem.
A few other things that you can do for soot buildup
- Adjust the air setting
- Adjust the damper
- Align embers and logs according to fireplace instructions
- Clear off the combustion screen
- Remove leaves and debris from the chimney
When you can get soot buildup under control, it will help your fireplace to last much longer – and look its best, too.
A blower can create a grinding or shrieking noise. It may be an indication that the blower needs work. Loud blowers can be deceptive. Some older models are always louder than newer units. Newer technology has come out to provide fans that barely make any noise. You may want to call in a professional to see what they can do about your existing blower.
The type of gas fireplace you have may determine the kinds of repairs that you will have over its lifetime. For example, there are ventless and vented fireplaces. Unvented fireplaces shouldn’t produce soot.at all. In ventless fireplaces, you may experience odors as a result of such things as dirt, dust, and pet dander that get into the burner and the other components that are responsible for combustion.
Potential gas fireplace problems are the reason gas fireplaces should be cleaned every year. By keeping your fireplace clean, you can keep the unit in better condition. You can also catch problems at their early stages. Do the basics yourself and hire a chimney sweep every year to do the rest.
Want to learn more? Read this article from the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).