Buying a Fireplace

Don't Purchase A Fireplace Until You Read This

Have you decided the allure of a warm, toasty fire is something you can no longer resist? Is the purchase of a fireplace in your future? There are many options depending on your needs, where you plan on installing the fireplace, and your budget. Below are some things to think about and consider.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Fireplace

1) Is your fireplace going to be in a new home you're constructing or are you adding one to an existing home? As you probably expect, it's much easier to put in a fireplace if you're building a new home or putting one in an addition you're adding on. If you are adding one to an existing home, you need to consider the following. Is there an existing chimney I can use for venting and is it in good shape? If I don't have a chimney to use for venting is there somewhere I can place the fireplace so that it can directly vent outside? Or am I considering a vent-free fireplace?

2) What type of fireplace do you want? Would you like a wood-burning fireplace ( If you are venting your fireplace through a chimney, the chimney needs to be in good working order. If you don't have a chimney or if it will be very expensive to get the chimney working properly another option for venting your wood-burning fireplace is with a direct venting system. A direct venting system can be used on nearly any room with an exterior wall. Do you prefer a gas fireplace instead of a wood-burning fireplace? A gas fireplace lets you avoid the work and mess of burning wood and can either be vented through a chimney, direct-vented or possibly even using a vent-free system.

3) Be cautious if considering a vent-free fireplace. Adding a vent-free fireplace to an existing home can be an attractive option to many people because there's no need to worry about having a safe chimney or having to have an outside wall to place the direct vent. And because there's no venting to the outside, there's no heat loss.

If you are considering a vent-free fireplace though, be aware of these proper operations procedures from the research division of the American Gas Association: only use the fireplace for short periods of time (less than 4 hours at a time); do not use in a small confined space; and do not use as the only source of heat. In addition, a vent free fireplace should not be installed if anyone in your home is pregnant, anemic, has respiratory problems; has heart problems, or is diabetic.

A few other considerations with vent-free fireplaces: they can cause excessive moisture; there may be a noticeable smell from the fireplace; and levels are low enough to not be considered dangerous to people who are healthy.

4) Another fireplace option is an electric fireplace. The electric fireplaces today are efficient and fairly inexpensive to operate. An electric fireplace is pretty much a "plug and go" item. You take it home, plug it in, and enjoy it. An electric fireplace will generate some heat but is not intended to be used as the primary source of heat in a room.

Shop Around Before Buying a Fireplace

5) Look before you buy. A great place to do research is a store that sells fireplaces and/or fireplace surrounds. Some companies who specialize in selling brick, stone, and tile for fireplace surrounds also sell the fireplace inserts as well. If you go to their showrooms you'll have the opportunity to see both the fireplaces and some of the fireplace surrounds with different styles of mantles, stone, brick, tile, and hearthstones. When I was building my home and was looking for fireplace ideas I went to my local stone company. They had a showroom with over 20 gas and wood-burning fireplaces on display. Each fireplace had a different surround that had been built by a local mason using various types of bricks and stones. It helped me make my decision on what brick I wanted to purchase, the style of surround I wanted, along with the type of stone I wanted for my hearthstone. Another good place to do research is on the Internet.

6) Work with a professional. Unless you are purchasing an electric "plug and go" fireplace or you are an expert in the installation of fireplaces, don't attempt to install one yourself. Consult with a professional because you want to make sure it is installed correctly so there are no dangerous fumes emitted and so the fireplace is not a fire hazard.

A fireplace can be a wonderful addition to a home. I have a gas fireplace. It's great to be able to turn on the fireplace on cold evenings and enjoy the coziness and warmth it provides. One of my friends has a wood-burning fireplace. They enjoy their fireplace as much as I enjoy mine.

By: D Ruplinger

D Ruplinger is a featured writer for For more information about fireplaces including wood burning fireplaces, gas fireplaces, electric fireplaces, and outdoor fireplaces, visit

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