The heart of any home, a fireplace is where the family comes together to relax, chat and enjoy each other’s company. And it can also make a world of difference to the whole house, giving it a light and warmth something like central heating or a reverse-cycle air conditioner just doesn’t manage, but which fireplace is right for you? Finding a fireplace is easy, but finding one that suits you, your lifestyle, family and your home is the tricky part. Advances in fireplace technology and innovation in recent years means they have come a long way since the traditional open fireplace or pot belly stove. Today you’ll find everything from gas, wood and electric fireplaces, to double sided, three-sided and even fires suspended from the ceiling. Here are Insiders top tips for choosing and fireplace.
1. Patience vs Convenience: What’s more important to you?
Lifestyle is one of the most important factors you need to consider when choosing a fireplace. If you’re looking at wood fires, consider if you’ve got the time, patience and space for wood storage and don’t mind cleaning up the mess. Some people love the process of collecting and chopping wood, others however have a different set of priorities. If you love the process of building a fire and watching it catch, wood is good. For those who would rather switch their fire on from their remote or smartphone, a gas or electric fireplace is probably better suited to you. Some even have apps that allow you to turn your fire on when you’re on your way home from work – what beats that?
2. Fireplace Surrounds: Design a look you’ll love
When it comes to choosing a surround for your new fireplace, the first thing you’ll need to decide is the style or look you want. If your home is traditional, decide if you will you keep the character features, or go with a completely new modern fireplace style instead. Surround options might, however, be limited depending on what type of fireplace you choose – wood, gas or electric. Wood fires require non-combustible materials like brick masonry surrounds. Some gas and electric fires have Zero Clearance technology which means you can surround your fireplace in almost anything. You also don’t need to worry about using non-combustible materials around the firebox either.This means you can unleash your creativity when it comes to your fireplace design – let it be the hero of the room with bold wallpaper or tiles, blend it into custom cabinetry or let your imagination go wild and create a curved wall. The only limit is your imagination. For the traditionalist, choose if you want a mantel piece or hearth – there’s no requirement for either, it’s purely a matter of looks.
3. Heat Output: How much heat do you really need?
Are you heating just a small closed off living room, a large open plan living area, or do you want to direct heat to other rooms within the home too? There are lots of different ways heat can be dispersed throughout the home so make sure you ask these questions first. And before you start looking, it’s worthwhile knowing the square meterage of the space so you can match that to the fire’s heat output too. You don’t want to end up with a fire that’s not hot enough, or one that will overheat the room. Some fireplaces simply direct heat from vents located on the front of the fire however others have ducting systems which can direct heat from the fire to other rooms in the house too. Double sided fireplaces are also a great option if you want to heat two adjoining rooms, and they look pretty good too! Other fireplaces are installed purely for looks and ambience with minimal heat output, so make sure you know exactly what you want out of your new fire when it comes to heating your home.
4. Installation & Placement: What’s actually possible?
When it comes to choosing where to put your fireplace, you not only need to think about what looks good and suits the way you live, but also what’s actually possible when it comes to installation. Wood fires often come with a bunch of restrictions – they require vertical flues, non-combustible surround materials and council consent. If you’re after a fireplace with flexibility and fewer installation restrictions, then a gas heater or electric fireplace might be better suited to you. Look for flexible flue systems which let your flue run up the ceiling, through the walls or even under the floor. This means you can install a gas fire in most places around the home – in the middle of a room, apartment building and two storey homes. It also makes them perfect for retrofitting too (that’s replacing an existing open wood fire with a new sealed gas fire).
Electric fireplaces don’t have nearly as many restrictions when it comes to installation, however, you will have to compromise on heat output, and the flames won’t look as realistic as a gas or wood fire. When it comes to positioning a fireplace within a room, you’ve got a few things to consider too – do you want the fireplace to be the focus of the room, or would you rather it blend in? Is it your main source of heat, or is it more for ambience? Will the room be about entertaining or TV watching? Technology has come a long way in recent years which means you’ve now got plenty of styles and shapes of fireplaces to choose from, even double sided options which are a great way to heat two spaces while still visually connecting them too. Depending on what you use the room for will ultimately determine where you place the fire – just make sure you ask yourself these questions first.
5. Fireplace Safety: How to spot a safe fireplace
Perhaps one of the most important things you’ll want to understand is how safe the fire is, and to do this means you’ll need to understand how they work. If you’re looking at gas fires, make sure you look for a fire that is direct vent, room-air sealed. This means that the room will be completely air-tight to fumes and there is no way these can enter the home. This not only makes them the safest option but means higher efficiency too which is a win-win for you.Wood fires and open gas fires on the other hand draw in air from the living room – this means the room the fire is located in requires adequate ventilation. This is what creates those annoying cold drafts, and with some open gas fires, there’s some risk that toxic fumes can enter the room too. If you’re looking for a wood fire, think about purchasing a protective screen if you’ve got small children or pets around the house, or for gas fires, you can purchase a safety mesh screen that goes directly over the glass.
Whatever your style, Hurst Homes is here to help your create your dream home! Our custom Wagga House & Land Packages allow you to design a home that suits your lifestyle and budget! Just another reason why we are considered Waggas best builder. To get started on your dream home contact us today on 0438 692 962 or click here to look at our available turn-key house and land packages.
For more tips form the experts visit theblockshop.com.au