If the kitchen is the heart of the home, the fireplace is surely a close second. There’s nothing quite like a crackling open fire to bring warmth and atmosphere to your home, whether cuddling on the couch with the kids, sipping red on a raining night or relishing the toasty ambience over a book in your favourite armchair. Here we outline the three mainstream options to help you find the perfect fireplace for your home.
Fireplace purists might argue that nothing can replicate the atmosphere and aroma of a traditional wood-burning fireplace. Available in both a built-in design or freestanding, they’re a prized feature for those fortunate enough to have one and don’t require electricity or gas to operate — just logs. Yet, unless the fireplace was built into the original design of your home, you’ll need to get council approval to build one retrospectively as there are strict regulations around installing wood heaters and chimneys. Wood-burning fireplaces also require regular cleaning and log-stocking.
Gas fireplaces mimic the look and feel of traditional wood-burners. Fuelled by gas, it’s easy to control the flames and amount of heat they produce by simply turning them up or down, and you don’t need to stock logs to burn. Many gas fireplaces are designed with faux logs — some of which are surprisingly realistic. They can be built-in as inserts or freestanding and, as they produce a small amount of smoke, ventilation is required. Being gas, they must be professionally installed by a licensed gas plumber. They also require a hearth if positioned over a combustible floor, such as timber.
Easy to install yet loaded with ambience, an electric fireplace is an electric heater designed to imitate the flickering flames of a conventional wood-burning fireplace. Operated by remote control, the heat can be easily adjusted and some models even allow you to change the colour of the flame. They don’t produce any fumes or emissions, so they don’t require chimneys. They’re also maintenance-free with zero flues to operate, logs to stock or ashtrays to be swept clean. Stylish, very safe and better for the environment, electric fireplaces are a popular choice and can even be self-installed.