Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Heating Fuel Choices in Fireplace Designs

It is difficult to find something more enjoyable than sitting beside a nice warm fire on a chilly, cloudy winter's day. And with today's many fireplace designs, the experience is even more enjoyable than ever. The design of a fireplace in most homes is generally dependent upon the style of the rest of the home or the function of the room it is in. Today's modern fireplaces range from contemporary to Victorian, modern, country and everything in between. If you can imagine it, it can most likely become reality.

When considering the design of a fireplace, you must remember that a fireplace consists of two separate functions. One being the heat element and the other being the fireplace designs visual element. The first decision made will usually be the type fuel it will utilize or the heating element. There are many primary forms of heat available for a home, such as a gas fired furnace or oil filled heater, that allow you to be less concerned with the type fuel in your fireplace. When I think of a fireplace, my first thought is the scent of burning wood. While some find that to be a very appealing smell, others would just as soon not have their clothing, curtains and other fabrics retain that lingering smell of smoke. Luckily, there are choices that can help with this issue. Other residential fireplace designs allow for the use of a vented or ventless gas fireplace, electric fireplaces that simulate the real thing or even a wood burning furnace.

While we know that seldom is anything ever as good as the real thing, these new gas log and electric fireplaces do a pretty doggone good job. In addition to their good looks they come with the benefit of not having to cut or buy wood year in and year out. Nor do you have to split or stack wood, carry it into the house and clean up the mess it makes. Once you consider all this, those electric and gas log fireplaces look even better.

Now that you know the type fuel to be used there are a few other necessary decisions to make about the heating side of your fireplace design. If you have chosen a gas log fireplace, you may choose to build a non-vented fireplace. While there are definite advantages to this type of application it also has it's drawbacks as well. One advantage of non-vented fireplace designs, and it is a major one, is the fact that you can place these in any room of the house and place them any where in the room. This, coupled with the other benefits I mentioned earlier, provide a compelling argument for installing gas logs along with a non-vented fireplace. However, before you make the final decision to go the non-vented route, know that once you do this, you can never go old school and burn wood.

If your decision involves the installation of a vented fireplace, you have another decision to make and that is in the type of vented fireplace to build. The two types are prefabricated and masonry fireplaces. While the prefabricated fireplace is cheaper to install, the masonry fireplace will likely last many more years. You may also consider a free standing fireplace. These are also available in many different styles. Whichever way you decide to go, professional installation is a must for this project as the actual construction of fireplace designs is likely outside the scope of abilities of even the most experienced do-it-yourself homeowner.

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