If your house did not have a fireplace when you moved in, you may have always promised yourself that you'd get one later. If that time has now come, consider the fireplaces and stoves below before making a decision:
These are the kind that everyone thinks of fondly when they picture fireplaces in their minds. You may want a wood-burning fireplace, and nothing else will do. If that's the case, you need to do some thinking and preparation to ensure that the fireplace is what you expect. You'll need to install a chimney in addition to the mantel and fireplace itself. A professional fireplace installation contractor is a vital partner for this accomplishment.
Also, once the fireplace and chimney have been expertly installed, you will need to consider maintenance. You'll have to learn to build fires and practice stoking them so that the fire can continue to burn. Afterwards, you'll need to keep the fireplace swept, so ashes don't build up. The chimney will also require inspections periodically.
Wood Pellet Stoves
A nice alternative to burning logs in a fireplace, pellet stoves can often run longer and provide more heat than traditional fireplaces. You will still need help with installation of the stove, typically iron with a glass window through which you can see flames flicker. This can be an easier setup than a wood-burning fireplace, as the pellets can burn a day or two without assistance from you once you've lit them.
Electric fireplaces can be plugged into most outlets in the house and don't need any vent at all. If you're trying to keep prices low, an electric fireplace can be a beautiful way to give different rooms the fireplace look everyone loves without the extra headache of breaking through walls or finding appropriate vent spots.
If you get an electric model, however, know that ambiance is the main benefit of these fireplaces; while some heat is probably going to emanate from the fireplace, it is unlikely to replace your primary heating source unless the room is very, very small.
Gas fireplaces can be started up by pushing a power switch or button. They can be operated with a thermostat for a more precise idea of what the temperature in a room will be. While you don't have to obtain gas or pellets, you will be responsible for the gas which will power the fireplace. Gas fireplaces can be surrounded by ceramic or stone framing. Pipe venting will need to be installed professionally.
Whatever type you finally settle on, your fireplace can be a gorgeous, useful new addition to the house. Talk through the selection process with a fireplace installation contractor who can guide you properly.