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A wood fireplace glows with warmth, surrounded by stacked firewood.

What to Consider When Picking Out Your Next Fireplace

Whether you want a fireplace for its aesthetics or you want a more efficient way to heat your home, there are many things to consider before making your purchase. All types of fireplaces have their benefits, with some being better suited to your home than others.

So to help you with your search for the ideal fireplace to suit your home and your needs, consider the following tips and questions to ask yourself.

Questions to Ask Yourself

To help you determine what type of fireplace you need, ask yourself the following questions:

What Would Suit Your Home, Aesthetically?

When choosing a fireplace, consider the architectural style of your home and the interior décor, such as your furniture and the room’s colour palette. For a traditional home, you may opt for a classic fireplace or stove with a brick surround. While for a modern home, an electric or gas fireplace with sleek contemporary designs and clean lines is better suited.

However, transitional homes mix classic designs with modern accents so that you can opt for either a traditional or a modern fireplace.

You wouldn’t necessarily want a pellet stove in an ultra-modern home. But maybe you’re after a charming transitional look.

How Is the Room Laid Out? What’s the Design?

The fireplace should be functional in the room you choose. So consider the room’s size and purpose, and ask yourself whether the heat of the fireplace will improve or reduce the comfort of the room.

For example, a small room or a room that is already warm most of the time (e.g., the kitchen) could become uncomfortably hot with a burning fireplace. But you could direct the heat elsewhere—e.g., into the living room if the fireplace connects to the kitchen and living room. Or, you can opt for a smaller electric fireplace that won’t overheat the room.

What Are Your Needs for A Fireplace?

To help you narrow down your search for the right fireplace styles, create a list of what you want and need from the fireplace—what is most important to you. Are you relying on a fireplace to add warmth to a room? Or will the fireplace be used more for aesthetics—such as a decorative addition to the room?

Do you want the fireplace to be an energy-efficient, supplemental heating source to help you lower your heating bills in the winter?

Do you want the smell and look of a real wood-burning fireplace? Or, would you prefer a low-maintenance fireplace that turns on with the push of a button?

What kind of fuel are you willing to use? Are you able to source and store firewood? Do you have an existing gas line to your home? Or would you need to have one installed?

Do you experience power outages? If so, will you rely on the fireplace as a source of heat during power outages in the winter? If you live in a rural setting, pellet stoves can help keep you warm during power outages.

Avoid Choosing A Fireplace Based On…

  • Heating more than one room—this will lead to overheating your fireplace’s main room;
  • How the fireplace looks with flames—you’ll also want to enjoy the fireplace’s appearance when it’s not in use since it will be a focal point in your room, and it won’t always be fired up; and,
  • Whether the fireplace has a fan—while fans are useful for circulating heat, the best fireplaces don’t need a fan for heat output.

Your Fireplace Options

There are many types of fireplaces to choose from, and each type has its pros and cons.

Here’s a look at the different styles of fireplaces available on the market.

Pellet Stoves

Pellet stoves are a lower-maintenance alternative to wood-burning fireplaces that provide plenty of warmth and are an efficient heating source. Simply pack the stove with pellets, and let it run for 24 or even 48 hours.

Pellet stoves have a rustic, charming look, and are usually made of cast iron with enamel finishes. They can be installed on most exposed walls, and come in small sizes to suit smaller rooms.

Wood-Burning Fireplaces

Wood-burning fireplaces offer the traditional and authentic fireplace experience, with the magical sound of crackling flames and the smell of burning wood. You can opt for fireplaces with doors for added protection and to conserve heat in your home.

These fireplaces do require a chimney, so you’ll have to keep that in mind when choosing the location for installation. They also require regular cleaning, and you have to work to keep the fire going. But if you are up for the task, wood-burning fireplaces are a nice addition to the home.

Gas Fireplaces

Gas fireplaces are a popular choice throughout the world. They are a convenient, efficient, and low-maintenance heating source. And they come in a variety of styles. If you have an existing wood-burning fireplace in need of an update, gas inserts are also available.

Gas fireplaces require a gas hookup and are vented through a PVC pipe in the wall, so they can be installed in any room you want. They can also run on a thermostat, acting as an excellent supplemental heating source, especially for zone heating.

Electric Fireplaces

While gas fireplaces emit more heat than electric fireplaces, electric fireplaces are another excellent option for zone heating, and they are energy-efficient.

These flexible, easy-to-use, low-maintenance fireplaces don’t require venting and are safe to use in small rooms. So you can have them installed in any room. They are also portable, so you can move them around, and take your fireplace with you if you ever move to a new home.

Electric fireplaces also come in different styles and finishes to suit a variety of homes.

With so many types of fireplaces to choose from, it can be difficult to decide on just one. But with these questions and considerations, and the help of fireplace experts, you can find the perfect fireplace that suits both you and your home.