Guest Post by Hearth & Home Technologies
It’s back-to-school time and very soon, frosty nights will move in. Make no bones about it – Old Man Winter is on his way and soon we will collectively switch our air conditioners off and furnaces on, bracing for the inevitable. But it doesn’t have to be that way – and we’re not talking about packing up and moving somewhere warmer. If you’ve ever had a fireplace, you know winters are more bearable with a hearth to make those long, dark nights more bearable. The right fireplace might even make you look forward to them!
Purchasing a fireplace or stove isn’t something most people do every day, so we asked the experts at Hearth & Home Technologies, the country’s largest hearth manufacturer, to enlighten us.
A logical first question is what kind of fuel and product is right for your home, way of life, and climate? Each has advantages, and depending where you live, there are also regional preferences worth considering.
Gas fireplaces are the most popular hearth system today, and for good reason. Operated by the flip of a switch or remote control, they are convenient and beautiful. Because they burn natural gas or liquid propane, there is no ash to clean up and maintenance is minimal. Gas fireplaces are popular in all regions of the country, especially in the Midwest where natural gas is plentiful and available in most neighborhoods.
Gas fireplaces come in many designs, ranging from traditional to modern – and hybrids of both. For instance, the Phoenix TrueView from Heat & Glo has the authentic look of a wood fireplace with a choice of traditional brick or a modern reflective black glass interior. Want to install it over a television? No problem with this fireplace, as a television can be safety placed just 12-inches above the fireplace, with no mantel!
If you want an inexpensive and easy-to-install hearth, an electric fireplace can be a good choice. They can be placed anywhere, since there’s no venting required – just an electrical outlet. Due to warmer climates and less demand for heat, they are most popular in the southern states.
Electric fireplaces have come a long way in recent years with regard to style options and authenticity of flames. In addition to free-standing units, certain models can be fully or partially recessed or hung on a wall, like the Simplifire Allusion. This modern, linear-shaped electric fireplace is controlled via remote, has a multitude of flames, and an ember bed with LED lighted themes.
Wood Fireplaces and Stoves
Nothing compares to the primal, soul-soothing effects of a wood-burning fireplace. While everyone loves a wood-burning fire no matter where they live, homeowners in mountainous and other regions with thick forests and abundant trees are most likely to choose wood hearths.
In addition to traditionally-styled wood fireplaces, they also come in sleek, modern designs like the Heatilator Longmire. Its linear shape will accommodate extra-long 30” logs for large flames that are more visible by sliding the glass and screen doors out of sight.
Free-standing wood stoves offer not only nostalgic comfort and warmth, but high efficiency for heating all or part of your home. There are great designs that bridge beauty and utility, like the top-loading Vermont Castings Defiant wood stove. It has a swing-out ash pan for easy cleaning and features thermostatically controlled combustion for longer burn times.
Pellet stoves are similar in appearance to free-standing wood stoves. These burn pellets made of condensed biomass materials like wood chips and sawdust. Innovative technologies have made them convenient, easy-to-use, highly efficient and environmentally responsible heat sources for all or part of your home. They produce very little ash and some have automatic cleaning cycles. Most popular in rural areas with limited access to natural gas, pellet stoves are heating powerhouses for homeowners who desire a more hands-off, renewable fuel heating system.
Today’s pellet stoves are smart, with programmable thermostats that adjust heat output and control room temperature. Like the Harman Allure 50. With fine, contemporary lines, it certainly doesn’t look like your parent’s stove and it will regulate room temperature within one degree!
Who doesn’t like sitting in front of a roaring fire while gazing into a starry night? No one. That’s why outdoor fireplaces are popular choices all across the country, and especially in the South Central East and Pacific regions. You can choose from wood for an authentic experience, or gas for more convenient, frequent fire enjoyment.
Outdoor fireplaces are available in many styles and some can be customized to your liking. For example, with the stunning Courtyard gas fireplace by Outdoor Lifestyles you can choose from standard definition logs, high-definition logs, or glass media for a jazzy modern experience. The interior can also be customized with stainless steel, traditional brick, or herringbone brick.
With so many options, you can find a hearth product that’s perfect for your home and outdoor spaces.
Do you have any more questions about what type of hearth is right for you? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Feel free to leave your questions or feedback in the comment section below.