Are you ready for winter?
Now is the time to make sure your home, office, or other space are ready before the winter chill sets in. And while there are numerous ways to warm your home, there is nothing quite like the beauty, warmth, and cosiness of a fireplace. It is also a more affordable alternative to using plug-in electric heaters or air conditioners.
Fireplaces provide warmth, light, visual appeal, and ambience for relaxing and entertaining. The options in terms of types of different fireplaces from which to choose are wide and varied.
Types of Fireplace
There are several fireplace options, depending on your décor, the design of your home, your budget, and your preferred fuel.
- Wood Burning Fireplaces
The traditional means of heating a home was the open fireplace, and a lot of older or heritage homes have an existing open hearth or enclosed combustion stove.
The majority of open-hearth fireplaces are made of brick or stone, with a timber or stone mantle. They do provide the rustic ambience of crackling wood and real flames, however, an open fireplace can emit airborne pollutants throughout the room (or home) and do tend to lose a significant amount of heat up the chimney. They are also hazardous to pets and children and can be messy and emit flying embers, as well as producing creosote deposits in the chimney or on the glass panel. You must consider safety, efficiency, availability/costs of firewood, annual chimney inspection and cleaning, and local government regulations. Creating an open-hearth fireplace is expensive, but it is generally budget-friendly to operate.
Modern closed combustion wood-burning stoves can be a better option for many people – they are energy-efficient, sustainable (as wood is a sustainable resource) and produce little pollution or ash as they are fully enclosed. They also deliver the cosy effect of real flames, the crackling sound of splitting wood, glowing embers, and unparalleled warmth, being much more efficient than open fireplaces. They require less firewood than an open fire and are safer for kids and pets.
Wood burning fireplaces of any type are best used when burning aged/seasoned hardwood. This burns hotter, longer and with less resultant tar buildup than softwood. Commercial wood bricks or pellets are other good alternatives.
There are also wood burning fireplace inserts available, which are enclosed combustion fireboxes that fit into an existing hearth space. This is an efficient option.
- Gas Burning Fireplaces
This modern alternative to wood-burning fireplaces may be retrofitted into an existing hearth space. Lightable via remote control or piezo ignition, most have a glass panel at the front and flames with realistic faux embers, logs, pebbles, or glass crystals. This is an economical option (gas being much more affordable than electricity) which also causes lower pollution levels than wood-burning fireplaces. Flues can be routed through a rear wall or ceiling vent or an existing chimney. The array of styles from which to choose ensure there is an option to suit every décor.They may require electricity or a battery for operation.
- Electric Fireplaces
The appearance of these has approved dramatically over recent years. They are fan-assisted and require no venting and, usually, hang on a wall to plug into a powerpoint. Best suited to modern décor, an electric fireplace is a good option if installing a gas flue or a chimney is not achievable.
- Ethanol Fireplaces
Fuelled by ethanol (alcohol), biofuel, or methylated spirit, these decorative burners are controversial and the current Australian advice is to avoid them as they can be dangerous. Due to a series of serious injuries associated with their use, selling ethanol fireplaces has been banned in the interim in NSW, Qld, Victoria, SA, and WA, as well as in the ACT. During this time, investigations into the safety of these burners will continue.
Otherwise known as a firepit or chimenea, this fireplace option is ideal for your back yard, patio, or outdoor entertaining area. A brazier is a simple, portable, wood-burning container in the form of a metal box or dish on feet. It enables airflow from the sides and underneath, minimising smoke production. It can also be used to cook; for example, integrating a grill or pizza oven.
How to Choose the Right Fireplace?
- What is your primary motivation – i.e. visual appeal, warming a single room or a whole house, indoor or outdoor use, etc
- What is your preferred fuel?
- Do you have an existing venting system? Will you need to install one?
- What are your mounting/display options?
- What is your budget? Consider not only purchase and installation costs but also ongoing costs for fuel and periodic service.
Professional fireplace retailers and installers can answer all of your questions and point you in the right direction to make a perfect choice.
Keep Warm with Fireplace Masters
Winter will be here before you know it! Fireplace Masters has everything you need to install the perfect fireplace for your home, office, or commercial space, to look fantastic and beat the chill.
We are the only specialised fireplace retailer in the Illawarra. Proudly an Australian owned family business, we bring over 40 years of experience and our expert guidance and advice will help you choose the ideal fireplace for your unique needs.
We are not just a top retailer of a great selection of quality fireplaces but also a licensed Building Company offering unparalleled fireplace installation and service, with in-home consultations where required.
To see our full range and to chat with our expert team, visit our welcoming showroom at 2/30 Shaban St, Albion Park Rail, NSW.
Learn more about us and the products we offer here.
Contact Us today or call us on (02) 4257 5493 for a measure and quote.