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How to Choose a Fireplace

Choosing a fireplace for your home is an important decision. It can be costly -- anywhere from $500 to thousands of dollars -- but it is often an excellent investment. Fireplaces are one of the features most frequently sought after by home buyers and so your decision can have a direct effect on the value of your home.

To help you narrow your choice of fireplace, there are several questions you'll need to consider:

1) Where do you want to have the fireplace installed?

If you are looking for an insert to upgrade an inefficient or nonworking fireplace, this may be an easy choice. But with today's direct vent or even vent-free fireplaces, your options are nearly unlimited. Maybe you'd like to begin your days with the luxury of a fire in your master bathroom, or maybe you'd like a fireplace along an interior wall in the kitchen. Without an existing masonry fireplace and chimney, you can consider freestanding, vent-free gas or electric fireplaces and stoves that can be installed nearly anywhere.

2) How much would you like to spend?

An electric insert installed in a nonworking fireplace could cost as little as a few hundred dollars. If you want to remodel your home, the cost of adding a wood-burning or gas fireplace could cost as much as $5,000, if venting and a chimney are required.

3) Do you want your fireplace to look impressive, heat your home or both?

Today's gas log sets and electric and gas fireplaces and stoves offer incredibly realistic flames and if that's all you want, you can stop there. But if you also want to heat a room or area of your home, there are many excellent options for you. Consider fireplaces that run on natural gas, propane, wood pellets, or oil. We also have models that run on electricity that can serve as an alternative fuel source. Having an alternative heat source in your home is a smart precaution against winter power outages.

4) If you want to heat your home, how far do you want the heat to reach?

A fireplace can be an excellent way to heat a new addition to your home without altering your central heating system. But the right fireplace choice for your home can also significantly cut down on your central heating bills.

5) How much do you want to regularly spend on fuel, and what types of fuel are available in your area?

Of course, the cost of a fireplace doesn't stop with installation. You will continue to pay for fuel and maintenance and should take those costs into consideration. The fireplace you choose should be fueled by a product that is readily available to you and within your budget. Some fuel types include: gas (either propane or natural gas), wood, and wood alternatives that include electricity, oil, wood pellets and wood wax firelogs (both made of sawdust that is a byproduct of other manufacturing processes) and even corn or coal.

6) How will the fireplace style you are considering blend with the design elements already in your home?

A modern, brushed steel fireplace would look out of place in Craftsman style home. But a cast iron freestanding stove would be a perfect choice for an American country style home. Consider the style of your home's exterior and interior, and then narrow your choices. Rest assured, you will find a fireplace design that will work perfectly in your home.

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