A fireplace is a specially built space in a room in which a fire can be lit using wood, gas, or electricity.
It is a structure constructed with a hearth where a fire can be lit for the purpose of generating heat. This kind of structure can be either indoors or outdoors and is made of stone, brick, or metal.
A fireplace can be defined as a place for a domestic fire at the base of a chimney, or, that part of a chimney that opens into a room and in which a fire is built using coals or wood.
A fireplace is also described as an open recess into a wall of a room at the base of a chimney which is used for building a fire.
A fireplace is a focal point in any home. It is a desirable feature for homes in cold climatic regions, but it is also ideal for warm climatic regions of the world that tend to experience cold seasons.
Electric, Gas and Wood fireplaces which one wins?
Electric, gas and wood fireplaces are different in the way they appear and are also different in the way they function.
To help you determine which fireplace is best for your home, we need to analyse their differences. It will help us see the pros and cons of each type.
Traditional wood fireplaces are the classic of all fireplaces and are more appealing and elegant as compared to electric and gas fireplaces.
They create a good ambiance that is irreplicable and which is different from that created by both gas and electric fireplaces. They generate natural warmth and create a great atmosphere in living rooms. They also create a unique invigorating smell.
On the other hand, electric and gas fireplaces come in a range of many different designs. Electric fireplaces mimic a fireplace by projecting an image of burning wood or coal without producing flames. Gas fireplaces appear like real wood and coal fires because they produce real flames.
Gas and electric fireplaces are far much easier and cheaper to install than wood fireplaces. For an electric fireplace, all you need is to assemble the unit together and then determine where to place it.
The location must have a power outlet or socket to plug the unit into. An electric fireplace is portable, allowing you to move it from place to place within your home. It can also be mounted up on a wall.
However, it has a better appearance when recessed into a wall. This requires some work to be done on the wall to create the recess. Use a trained professional for this task.
A gas fireplace first requires the installation of a gas line or outlet before installing it. Seek professional assistance for this. Some gas fireplaces come with vents. Others do not. Most models however require vents.
For those people who are unable to operate vents, it is advisable to settle for a non-vent unit. Your professional assistant will then set it in place and get it properly hooked up.
Wood fireplaces are more demanding when it comes to installation because they require a chimney. This calls for more costs and more time in setting up the place.
The professional skills of a stone mason are required for constructing the chimney, firebox as well as the chimney cap.
If the wood fireplace is made of stone, install firebricks into the firebox to make the fireplace completely safe to operate. Wood fireplaces also require the installation of carbon monoxide and smoke alarms.
Wood fireplaces require constant supply of wood. Wood is far more expensive to use because it costs more annually to produce a number of BTUs similar to those of a gas fireplace.
They are also known to draw out warm air from a room, releasing it outside through the chimney. This decreases their efficiency in terms of energy consumption. They loose more heat through chimneys than gas fireplaces.
Gas fireplaces are more energy efficient as compared to wood fireplaces. They burn more efficiently and release much fewer pollutants into the atmosphere.
They also loose some heat up the chimney just like wood fireplaces. The loss is however insignificant when compared to the loss of heat in wood fireplaces.
Most people prefer buying an electric fireplaces is uses less than half of the energy consumed by gas fireplaces, making them far cheaper to run.
Electric fireplaces have very little to no maintenance. Gas fireplaces on the other hand have low maintenance.
Their valves need to be checked for any leeks, and the vents need cleaning and inspection once every year. These yearly checks ensure optimal performance of gas fireplaces.
Wood fireplaces are cumbersome to maintain because they require intense labour when it comes to cleaning. The burning of wood produces by-products such as ash, creosote, and soot, and these need regular removal.
Creosote and soot must be removed by professionals. Wood fireplaces also require professional maintenance and cleaning once a year because of the need to clean the chimneys.
Electric fireplaces are the safest to operate so long as they are not damaged. Overheating is not a problem as modern units come with automatic switch off features which put off the fireplace once overheating occurs.
Gas fireplaces are generally safe to use, but their glass doors tend to become hot enough to burn if touched. They also have the potential to endanger the lives of users through gas leaks if poorly maintained. A gas leak can cause fire and health problems.
Wood fireplaces, especially the open or unscreened ones can cause fires through falling embers if they fall on wooden floors and carpets. Chimney fires are also known to occur from build up of creosote.
Electric fireplaces have no negative impact on the environment as they do not release particles into the atmosphere. Gas fireplaces produce some CO2 gas which is released into the atmosphere.
Wood fireplaces produce smoke which is bad for the environment. The smoke leads to smog and rancid rain which is not good for crops. It also pollutes the air indoors.