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What Is A Zero Clearance Fireplace?

By Lawrence Macmillan August 15, 2021

A zero clearance fireplace is a fireplace that doesn’t need to be kept at a distance from combustible materials. The installation requires minimal venting, and there’s no surrounding hearth. The self-contained units come in many styles and sizes, making it a perfect choice for all kinds of homes.

Fireplaces are fantastic additions to the home. They add warmth to any room, but they also create a unique ambience. A fireplace can make a plain room cozy and comfortable, while still serving a function. However, many of us are put off due to the work we imagine it takes to install a fireplace - especially for homes without a chimney. 

Traditional fireplaces need a surround and hearth. Without that, the heated fuel can become hot enough to damage the combustible materials nearby.

It’s necessary to build this space in to accommodate for the transfer of heat, and make the fireplace safe. With a zero clearance fireplace, the heating risk is removed. No space is needed between the fireplace and the walls - hence, zero clearance.

Zero Clearance Fireplace

The zero clearance fireplace doesn’t require the same extensive installation as a traditional hearth fireplace. Instead, these simple units are pre-manufactured, self-contained fireboxes. They only need basic pipes for venting, rather than a full chimney.

They don’t require extensive masonry work, because the distance of a hearth isn’t needed for safety. The fuel that’s heated within the unit never gets hot enough on the outside to affect the surrounding area. Zero clearance fireplaces can be installed directly next to sheetrock, wood, or paneling. Because of this, zero clearance fireplaces can be built into almost any room in the house.

Fireplaces are an incredibly desirable item. Sitting in front of a crackling fire never goes out of fashion, and the gentle light and enveloping heat are luxurious in any household.

Installing a fireplace can increase the value of your house, and make it stand out in a busy marketplace. And while this was at one time almost prohibitively expensive, a zero clearance fireplace makes fireplace installation significantly easier.

A zero clearance fireplace is perfect for homes that don’t already have a fireplace. They need none of the existing masonry to function, and they don’t even require a chimney.

Venting can be achieved with stainless steel pipes that run out the top of the fireplace and through the roof. These pipes can be left exposed, or covered and concealed. An easy solution, that doesn’t require extensive building work.

If you still aren’t convinced, below is a rundown of the major benefits of installing a zero clearance fireplace:

They’re compact, fitting everywhere

Many rooms would benefit from the addition of a fireplace. As well as being a focal point, they serve a necessary function. Fireplaces add a rich warmth, a gentle light, and an unbeatable atmosphere.

In a small room, a fireplace can be all the heating and light necessary, especially for romantic or relaxed evenings. Unfortunately, traditional fireplaces are big. They need space to operate safely, and even streamlined designs can take up an entire wall of a bedroom.

This problem is removed with zero clearance fireplaces. As they can be installed inches away from combustible materials, the units themselves are compact. Master suites, guest bedrooms, offices - any small nook can be upgraded.

Some can even be installed safely into mobile homes. And there’s still enough room for other design features. The fireplace doesn’t take over the room - it simply integrates in.

Reduced installation costs

While a zero clearance fireplace does need venting, it doesn’t require the costly addition of a chimney. Instead, it can be vented using steel pipes. These run out the top of the fireplace and through the roof, with none of the complicated masonry necessary of installing a chimney in a home without one.

Some models need even less than this, venting instead from pipes in the back of the unit. Zero clearance fireplaces also don’t require a concrete surround. When half the wall doesn’t need to be adapted for the fireplace, it becomes a lot cheaper to install. 

Easier installation

What you save on price, you also manage to save on time. We strongly recommend getting a professional to install your zero installation fireplace. They can get the job done quickly, safely, and with an impeccable finish.

Low maintenance

Once your zero clearance fireplace is in, it’s simple to look after. Especially as there’s no need for chimney or masonry repairs. They’re easy to operate as well, so even first time fireplace users can quickly get to grips with it. And everyone can appreciate how the lack of surrounding masonry makes them easier to clean.

Different fuel types

A zero clearance fireplace is incredibly adaptable, and that goes for more than just style. Traditional zero clearance systems come using a variety of fuel; from logs, to pellets, to gas.

The modern versions tend to use wood logs, for a natural, efficient, and environmentally friendly fireplace. Even electric zero clearance fireplaces are available. Whichever fuel you prefer to use, there’s a zero clearance fireplace to match.

More efficient

Some traditional open-hearth fireplaces only operate at a miniscule 10% efficiency. That means that 90% of the heat they generate goes straight up the chimney, wasted.

Zero clearance fireplaces, on the other hand, have up to 70% efficiency. They can warm even a large room incredibly well, and could be all the heating you need for a cozy space. Heating bills are slashed, and you can feel good, helping the environment.

Stylish

There are so many styles of zero clearance fireplaces that you just might be stuck for choice. Whether you like the sprawling look of a traditional hearth, or prefer a streamlined modernity, there’s a zero clearance fireplace for you. Without the necessary surround, these sleek units fit comfortably with any style of home.

A zero clearance fireplace can improve the home in many ways. The perfect balance of stylish and functional, these low-cost options fit impeccably into any style room, in every type of home.


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