Fireplaces: The Different Types and Uses

The word “fireplace” conjures up images of an extension of the living room wall; one which houses a space where a stack of wooden logs slowly burn and crackle while giving out a steady stream of heat which is greedily soaked in by the inhabitants of that room. Quite naturally, the fireplace is a characteristic of homes which exist in colder climates, such as many parts of Canada. So naturally, images of a wood-burning fireplace is guaranteed to transport one back to childhood when one feasted on British classics authored by the likes of Dickens, Wells, Austen and Wodehouse, among others. There is, however, more than just the wood-burning variety of fireplaces. You have, for instance, the gas burning fireplace, ethanol fireplace and electric fireplace. These are the basic broad divisions, and each one of them has multiple sub-divisions. Information courtesy: The Original Flame. All of this is written down below in complete detail:

Wood Burning Fireplace: As mentioned in the introduction, the wood burning fireplace is what comes first and foremost to mind while picturing a fire-place. However, ‘wood burning fireplace’ is not a homogenous category. It boasts of these sub-types:

  • The Traditional Open Hearth: These have traditionally been made from brick and mortar (sometimes stone or marble). Although this is possibly the most popular one in the history of fireplaces, it is fairly expensive and difficult to build. A really deep open-hearth fireplace is really time-taking; especially the opening and the chimney. This is also not the best kind of fireplace that there could be when you want a really warm living room.
  • Enclosed Fireplaces: This is the diametric opposite of the open-hearth fireplace, as is very evident from the name itself. The most prominent feature of this fireplace is a huge see-through glass panel which would enable you to enjoy the flames of the fire as it simmered and crackled. In this design, the heat is insulated to a large extent so that it stays in the room rather than escaping up the chimney.
  • Fireplace Inserts: Here you add more wood to the fireplace through ‘inserts’ which are fitted into the structure of the fireplace.

Gas Burning Fireplaces: Fireplaces which run on gas generate much more heat in comparison to the ones which run on wood. This, in fact, has been the most prevalent logic peddled by gas fireplace suppliers while selling customers their ware. And owing to the fact that they’re not as construction-intensive as wood-burning fireplaces are, they are much less expensive. The sub-types for this variety are as follows:

  • Built-in Fireplaces with a Direct Vent: Here, you can actually see the leaping of large yellow flames which gives out the feel of a wood fireplace. The main advantage of this kind of fireplace is that with it, you can make do without getting a chimney constructed. You can even stick in a pipe and use it as a vent for the smoke generated. And this is a kind of chimney that can be installed in any room.
  • Fireplaces without Vent: These are, as the name suggests, have no vents. These are built-in fireplaces indoors which have no need for any chimney. These are the easiest to install; even easier than the ones with the direct vents.

Ethanol Fireplaces: Contemporary in design and remarkably easy to install, ethanol fireplaces are all the rage in today’s world. And the best part about them is that you can always find a design which would be perfectly compatible with every kind of interior decoration and colour scheme. They are perfect if you seek clean burning that’s also completely devoid of any odour. It is also the most eco-friendly of all fireplaces. Without further delay, we’re going to jump straight into the collection of sub-types:

  • Wall Mounted Fireplace: This is a kind of portable fireplace which can be put up anywhere you will for it to be displayed. And because of this ‘hanging’ feature, it can be of excellent use as a substitute for fine painting or any other kinds of art which are frequently used as wall hangings. When hung the correct way, it can be a substitute for a television when it comes to a centrepiece of a room.
  • Fireplace Conversion: This is where you make use of an existing fireplace and convert it into an ethanol-burning one. All you have to do is slide in an ethanol insert which can sport either a contemporary or a traditional look.
  • Tabletop Fireplaces: Tabletop fireplaces sport a variety of sizes, so that they can be used in a large variety of settings. These are easily portable, and they are much like the wall-mounted fireplaces with the only difference being that they have to be put down or placed upon a plain surface.

Electrical Fireplace: These are the most cost-effective options out of the ones listed on here. Here you could easily choose to turn the heating switch on or off while still maintaining a fireplace-like ambience. Below are the two different kinds of electric fireplaces:

  • The Mantel Variety of Electric Fireplace: These have the facade of a wooden fireplace, the old, yesteryears, nostalgia-invoking kind. But in stark contrast to an actual open-hearth fireplace, this requires very little venting or chimney. Thus with this you get the best of both worlds.
  • Fireplace TV Stands and Centres of Entertainment: A few companies are known to make furniture which come combined with a built-in fireplace.

And with that, we end our list of the various types of fireplaces in the market till date.  

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