Different Types of Fireplaces: How To Choose the Right One for You

by | Sep 14, 2022 | Fireplace

Projections show that the global electric fireplace market size will reach a size of $2.77 billion by 2028.

While electric fireplaces have become very popular, several other types of fireplaces can be used in both residential and commercial buildings. Knowing what the different types of fireplaces are will help you best decide which is the most suitable for a given project.

For a rundown of the different types of fireplaces available, keep reading.

Wood-Burning Fireplace

This is the most traditional type of fireplace available. These are perfect if you want to give a home a classic feel. A wood fireplace only needs wood to generate heat, meaning there’s no reliance on an electricity supply.

Many people still consider these the most aesthetically pleasing fireplaces, offering a better atmosphere than other options. This is the case when the fireplace isn’t in use and acts as a centerpiece of a room, and even more so when there is a fire crackling away.

There are, however, some downsides to a wood-burning fireplace. They require a chimney to let the smoke out, and the majority of the air that’s heated escapes through the chimney. This makes them less efficient than other fireplaces.

Wood fireplaces are also quite messy, and there may be a risk of sparks jumping out from the fire, presenting a safety concern. Chimney fires are also a possibility if there’s a buildup of creosote in the flue.

Logs are available in stores, or people can chop the wood themselves. Chopping wood is hard work, but some people enjoy this. Ultimately, a wood fireplace is best for people who want something with a more traditional feel in their home.

Gas Fireplace

Compared to a traditional wood-burning fireplace, gas fireplaces are cleaner, easier to maintain, and more efficient. They also generate a clean flame that doesn’t produce any smoke. From a practical standpoint, these are often a much better choice than a wood-burning fireplace.

There are multiple types of gas fireplaces available. A vented gas fireplace has a vent that draws in outside air, and another to let out combustion gases and fumes. These are far more efficient than wood-burning fireplaces, but still not the most efficient option available.

Ventless gas fireplaces draw in air from the room and let exhaust gases out the same way. This is possible because the gas is clean, so the fumes aren’t harmful. As all the heated air stays inside, this system is as close to 100% efficient as possible.

Gas fireplaces are very versatile as they can go almost anywhere – especially ventless ones. A wall thermostat or a remote can make it easy to control the temperature. It’s worth bearing in mind that these can lack the authentic appearance of a wood-burning fireplace, as well as that smokey scent that some people enjoy.

Some states also have rules in place regarding gas fireplaces. We operate in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and while there are no laws against them in NJ, bills are currently being considered in PA.

Electric Fireplace

Electric fireplaces are among the most convenient and versatile types available. As they’re powered by electricity, they don’t require any other type of fuel. They also don’t emit any fumes, so there’s no need to worry about ventilation.

These can be placed anywhere, allowing for some very unique design choices. They’re often made to look like classic wood or gas fireplaces. Some even include LED lighting as well as speakers that can imitate the crackling of a wood fire.

Typically, there are three main types of electric fireplaces:

  • Electric fireplace mantels
  • Wall-mount electric fireplaces
  • Electric fireplace inserts

These all work in a similar way, with the main difference being the physical design.

Electric fireplaces are safer than most other types and are very easy to maintain. Many modern ones can also be controlled via smartphones or other devices.

The main drawback is that these lack the traditional feel that you get with other fireplaces. They also rely on electricity, so in the event of a power outage, you won’t be able to use an electric fire.

Ethanol Fireplace

An ethanol fireplace (also known as a bio-ethanol fireplace) burns ethanol to generate heat. These can be even more simple in design than electric fireplaces, and there are plenty of design options available.

Ethanol is a clean-burning fuel, and the liquid can be poured into the container and then lit. It gives off a genuine flame that you don’t get with an electric fireplace. When considering the most simple types of fireplaces in homes, these are top of the list.

It’s important to bear in mind that bio-ethanol fuel is highly flammable. It needs to be stored and handled carefully to maintain safety. The fumes can affect air quality, so these should only be used in well-ventilated areas.

Outdoor Fireplace

Some homes may not be suited for an indoor fireplace, in which case an outdoor one may be an option. These can be added to any backyard to turn it into the perfect space to relax and entertain guests.

If you’re installing an outdoor fireplace you can choose from a range of options such as a wood-burning fireplace, or a modern ventless model. You could even have a firepit instead, which can double as a grill.

While fumes are less of an issue with an outdoor fireplace, smoke can still be problematic. A chimney over the top can help direct smoke upwards so people aren’t breathing it in.

Deciding Between Different Types of Fireplaces

With all the different types of fireplaces available, it can be hard to know which is the best option. You need to consider the location first, as some rooms won’t be suited to specific types. You should also think about who will be using the fireplace, weighing up the pros and the cons of the different types.

At Dreifuss Fireplaces we offer professional fireplace installation services throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Whether you need a fireplace in a commercial or residential building, we’ve got you covered. To find out more about our services, click here to contact us today.

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Philadelphia, PA 19111

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