WHICH FIREPLACE IS RIGHT FOR YOUR HOME?
During the cold, dark winter months there’s no toastier feeling than curling up beside the fireplace with a good book. But when it comes to purchasing and installing, it can be hard knowing which one to choose. Before you take the plunge, we take you through the pros and cons of the three main types of fireplaces.
Pros: The classic wood-burning fireplace is the oldest style with the most authentic ambience. It’s one of the more environmentally friendly options as it doesn’t use fossil fuels, however if you view the pros and cons a global scale, the environmental effects of particle pollution has seen them banned in some parts of North America. Log burners are more cost-effective on your utility bills, not to mention that money-can’t-buy cosy feeling. Despite us being the southern hemisphere, a real fire still manages to conjure up images of Christmas stockings and a cosy family gathered around the hearth. Christmas in July anyone?
Cons: It’s a lot more work to clean and maintain, with the left-over soot and ash needing proper disposal and not to mention the chimney sweeping! Don’t forget the expense and/or labour of keeping your log supply up to date. The fire risk is of course higher with open fireplaces, so be sure to have a grate to keep your little ones safe, or choose an enclosed wood burning fireplace. With the potential for heated air escaping out the flue, log-burners aren’t the most efficient at heating, however in mild climates and rural properties with free wood supplies, this may be neither here nor there.
Pros: The convenience of instant warmth with the flick of a switch is pretty tempting. There’s very minimal maintenance with a gas-burning fireplace, no messy clean up and there’s less construction required to install one. Fire risk is also lower, and it will keep your room at a controlled temperature all night long. Depending on the cost of sourcing wood for a traditional fireplace, the running costs of a gas burner can be more economical, with gas being a more efficient fuel source.
Cons: You don’t get that authentic, wood-burning aroma, but depending on your position on smoke (and its capacity to set off fire alarms!), this could be considered a pro. While gas powered fireplaces heat up quickly, they lose heat just a fast. They can also be a more costly upfront investment, and less environmentally friendly when you consider the impacts of fracking for natural gas.
Pros: There’s no clean up or fumes, and a very low fire-risk. The initial cost is also a lot lower than a traditional fireplace, and by comparison, they’re the easiest to install. Some utilise a glowing log feature that emulates the visual effect of a real fire – without ever getting smoked out. Some models even allow you to turn on the fire ambience independently of the heating element, a level of flexibility that certainly surpasses traditional log burners.
Cons: It’s a less environmentally friendly option, unless of course your house is powered from renewable energy sources like solar or wind. As with all home electricals that utilise a heating element, an electric fireplace will have a more noticeable impact on your electricity bill when compared to a slow combustion fireplace that simply uses a fan to distribute the heat of burning logs.
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