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What Kind Of Fireplace Do I Have?

By Lawrence Macmillan October 25, 2021

There are a huge number of different kinds of fireplaces, and it can be confusing. There are 3 main categories that all fireplaces fit into, based on the way that the flames are generated.

These are wood, gas, and electricity. Each type of fireplace comes with its own set of pros and cons.

We recommend reading up on all 3 types to ascertain which is the best for your home and heating needs.

If you are lighting your fire for the first time, it is imperative to know what fireplace you have. This ensures you correctly light the fire and do not run into problems. If you are inside, contact a technician for further advice.

What Are The Different Styles?

Inserts

These are closed units that are fitted into an existing open fireplace. These are helpful as they pull cool air out of the room that it is in, and the smoke is vented out of the chimney flue.

If your fireplace is mounted on a wall without a chimney, this suggests it is a direct insert. This means that air is drawn in and smoke is vented out through a wall or ceiling outlet.

Open

These are the traditionally seen fireplaces, often large, exposed, and made from brick. They are instantly recognizable and most commonly sought-after.

If your fireplace appears open but has doors mounted snugly against the wall you are likely to have an insert fireplace.

Stoves

These are smaller, freestanding firebox units. They are commonly installed in hearth fireplaces as the flames are much more easily controlled.

They commonly use wood as fuel, but you can also purchase stoves that run off gas or pellets too.

Pellet and wood stoves must have a flue connected to allow for adequate ventilation. Stoves that burn ceramic pellets or logs will use gas as their fuel source.

Often these ceramic logs can be moved around and rearranged to suit your design ideas.

Wood-Burning Fireplaces

Enclosed

These fireplaces often have a large glass panel installed in front of the flames. This will allow you to watch the fire as it burns with less risk of things (or people) falling into the flames.

These fireplaces keep more warm air in the room and allow less air to escape up the chimney. This makes them slightly more efficient at keeping the room warm than open-hearth fireplaces.

Fireplace Insert

These are highly convenient little inserts that are placed inside the opening of your existing fireplace. These serve to enclose your fireplace, making an open-hearth fireplace more fuel-efficient and effective at heating your home.

Open-Hearth

An open-hearth wood-burning fireplace is a traditional fireplace that has been around for centuries.

They are typically made from brick or stone and are the typical fireplace people think of. You can see the flames cracking and smell the wood-burning.

You will feel intense heat when sitting close to the fireplace, but the heat distribution around the rest of the room is often not as efficient.

They take a lot of work and time to install as you need both a fireplace opening and a chimney to allow the smoke to vent out of the home.

Wood-Burning Stove

These are not technically fireplaces, but are often installed close to or inside one. Wood-burning stoves are stand-alone pieces of equipment that appear somewhat like a large box with a vent for smoke to escape through.

These are great as you can burn wood with ease but without the need for a specifically designated fireplace.

The wood-burning stove cannot be moved once installed as you will need to install a number of pipes to connect the stove to the vent, chimney, and the outdoors.

Gas Burning Fireplaces

Direct-Vented Built-In

These can be vented into an existing chimney in your property, or you may opt to create an entirely new chimney for it.

Alternatively, you can vent the smoke out via a pipe as this is a less invasive method and requires no structural alterations to your home.

These fireplaces burn with a yellow-hued flame evoking the feel of a traditional wood-burning fireplace.

Ventless Built-In

These are much easier to install as there is no requirement for a vent to be installed. The flame of these fireplaces is a blue hue which means some people find them less aesthetically pleasing.

The flames from this type of fireplace are predominantly clean-burning, although there is a risk that some contaminants may make their way into your home.

Ethanol Burning Fireplaces

Fireplace Conversion

You can purchase ethanol-burning inserts for your existing fireplace that will simply slide in. This maximizes your space and ensures that the fireplace matches up to your home’s current aesthetic.

These inserts come in a variety of designs from more traditional to modern-inspired fireplaces.

Wall-Mounted

As the name suggests, these fireplaces are installed on the walls of your home, and can be mounted at any height. This gives you a lot of creative design freedom and makes the fireplace multipurpose.

Not only can it be used to increase the warmth of your home, but it will double as a piece of artwork.

Tabletop

These too come in a large range of designs and sizes. They are portable and can be used in a variety of locations. This is easier to do with the smaller versions, but all can be moved.

These tabletop fireplaces are very useful if you only want to heat the room you are sitting in, but do not wish to install fireplaces or central heating in every room of your home.

Electric Fireplaces

Mantel

These are designed to be reminiscent of traditional built-in wood-burning fireplaces. As they are electric, there is no need for piping, venting, or a chimney.

They are aesthetically very similar and will create the same striking effect, without any of the hassles.

TV Stands And Entertainment Centers

Some TV stands or entertainment centers will have an electrical fireplace element included.

This makes it very easy to incorporate the fireplace into your home design without taking up too much space. This is ideal for people in small apartments who do not have the luxury of space to play with.


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