Fireplaces add both atmosphere and functionality to our living spaces. Whether your goal is to become energy independent, prepare for life’s surprises, or just to have a place to unwind or share with close friends, fireplaces remain a long standing tradition in home design.
Here are four types to choose from for your home and the pros and cons of each.
Traditional, wood-burning fireplaces can of course heat your home. You can also use them to cook food and provide light in case of emergency, and the fresh crackle and warm glow of the fire can be relaxing, romantic, and cozy.
That said, these nostalgic home centerpieces can be cumbersome to maintain and costly to fix, not to mention the inconvenience of having to replenish firewood. Additionally, some homes simply cannot be retrofitted to accept this full-fledged traditional option.
Luckily, modern homes design and decor have answered many people’s desire to experience the benefits of a home fireplace without the hassle. If the wood-burning option is not possible, consider these attractive alternatives.
Gas fireplaces provide the visual aesthetic of traditional wood fireplaces without much of the hassle. Where burning wood requires a stash of firewood, special tools, and screens, gas fireplaces use clean-burning natural gas as their fuel source.
Natural gas burns without harmful byproducts such as carbon-monoxide, flying sparks, or messy piles of ash and soot. Instead of hauling logs into your home, why not press a button and instantly create the atmosphere you want?
If you live an on-the-go lifestyle but still want the benefits of a fireplace, this is the choice for you.
While gas fireplaces offer many advantages, they are often cost-prohibitive (especially if you don’t already have natural gas lines in your home). Electric fireplaces have many of the same advantages as gas, but require less in up-front costs.
While going with the electric option will cost you some of the unbeatable ambiance of a crackling, wood fire, it meets the basic requirements of light and heat that can add depth and character to any room.
And any room means any room: electric fireplaces are versatile and inexpensive enough that they can be installed virtually anywhere in your home. So whether you like the feel of a centralized, grand hearth or a cozy bedroom fireplace nook, don’t overlook electric.
Relatively new to the scene are ethanol-fueled fireplaces, which function similarly to the gas option but draw their energy from environmentally friendly ethanol. Like its natural gas counterpart, you can count on ethanol fireplaces to burn cleanly without harmful levels of combustion byproducts.
Ash and soot? Not a trace. Also, lighting your ethanol fireplace is as easy as adjusting your thermostat, flipping a switch, or pushing a button. Unlike natural gas, however, ethanol-burning fireplaces require a storage tank to function, so make sure you have the space and time to manage your fuel use and replacement.