PROPERTY NEWS - Is a fireplace something you can no longer do without? Choosing the right fireplace for your home and your budget is not too difficult.
There are a few aspects you should be thinking about. Are you adding a fireplace to an existing home, or is it going into a new house? It's generally easier to put a fireplace into a new home or an extension to an existing home.
If you are planning to add a fireplace to an existing home, here are some further considerations:
Firstly, is there an existing chimney, and what condition is it in?
If there is no chimney, is there a place where the new fireplace can go which will allow it to vent directly outside? Or are you considering a vent-free fireplace?
If you live in a townhouse complex, you may need permission from the body corporate before installing a direct venting system.
If your house has no chimney, or if it is going to be expensive to get the chimney working properly, a direct venting system may be your best bet. A direct venting fireplace can be installed in practically any room with an exterior wall.
Modern closed-combustion wood-burning fireplaces or stoves are extremely safe and efficient. They convert as much as possible of their fuel source into heat, while generating only a minimum amount of ash. Unlike gas, wood is a renewable resource, so wood-burning fireplaces have strong green credentials.
Would you prefer a gas fireplace rather than a wood-burning stove? Gas fireplaces allow you to avoid the mess and bother of burning logs, and can be direct-vented or vented through a chimney.
Vent-free gas fireplaces are also available.
It is attractive to consider a vent-free fireplace, especially when you are adding it to an existing home. There is no need to have a chimney, or even an exterior wall for a direct vent. There is also no heat loss to the outside, because there is no vent.
Vent-free fireplaces should not be installed in small, confined spaces. They should only be used for less than four hours at a time, and should generally not be the only source of heat.
You should not consider installing a vent-free fireplace if anyone in your home is a diabetic, has heart or respiratory problems, is anaemic or pregnant.
Vent-free fireplaces can cause excessive moisture. In addition, there may be a noticeable smell from the fireplace.
An electric fireplace is another possibility to explore. Modern electric fireplaces are efficient, but the cost of electricity is obviously an important factor to bear in mind. Electric fireplaces are simple to install, because they need no venting system. With some units, you can simply take it home, plug it in and it's ready to go.
An electric fireplace may be the only option for use in apartment buildings or in a townhouse complex.
You should generally not attempt to install a gas or wood-burning fireplace yourself - rather make use of the services of an expert. Incorrect installation could result in the emission of dangerous fumes, or in a fire hazard. It's best to consult a professional.
A fireplace, whether gas, electric or wood, can add warmth and cosiness to your home.
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