Everything You Need to Know about Freestanding Fireplaces
If you’re looking for a heating option that is not only functional but provides a stunning aesthetic impact, freestanding fireplaces, heaters or stoves are the perfect solution for you. Humans have long used freestanding fireplaces or stoves as a way to warm up their homes and to cook food. Nowadays, this traditional method has been modernised to become a striking yet useful centrepiece for all sorts of homes. Freestanding fireplaces are a great solution for those who want to enjoy a fireplace but don’t have a chimney or hearth already built into their home. If you’re considering installing a freestanding fireplace, heater or stove, or simply want to know more about them, here are some essential things to keep in mind.
A Solid Foundation is Key
For a freestanding fireplace to be secure, you need to ensure the flooring is appropriate. As freestanding fireplaces generate a lot of heat, a fireproof platform is necessary. Some good flooring options include concrete, tile, brick and natural stone, meaning you’ll need to be mindful about the placement of your fireplace.
Keep Enough Distance from the Walls
Always check with the manufacturer of your freestanding fireplace on the appropriate distance the unit should be from the wall. This is necessary to avoid potential fires and ensure your warranty remains intact.
Ensure Proper Ventilation
One of the biggest dangers when it comes to any form of heating is to have proper ventilation. Without this, you risk a dangerous build-up of toxic fumes or a potential fire hazard. Freestanding fireplaces will need a chimney – an experienced fireplace distributor will be able to install all the necessary parts of your fireplace to ensure that ventilation is properly managed.
When you purchase a freestanding fireplace, you will have to decide whether you want a ventless or vented fireplace. Ventless fireplaces have no chimney or pipe to the exterior, meaning they can be placed anywhere without a fussy installation process. However, this means that you have to ensure adequate ventilation in other ways, such as leaving windows open, to prevent a build-up of carbon monoxide.
Vented fireplaces, on the other hand, involve a chimney or flue that pulls smoke, fumes and carbon monoxide out of the home. This will require a lengthier installation process, and will require occasional cleaning to minimise the risk of fires from debris that has become clogged within the chimney or flue.
Decide on your Fuel Source
Freestanding fireplaces can run on several different fuels, each having its own perks and drawbacks. The most traditional fuel is, of course, wood. Wood-burning fireplaces provide that authentic touch that draws people to fireplaces in the first place, but requires more maintenance and work in order to store and prepare wood for burning. You’ll also have to be mindful of cleaning your chimney regularly to ensure soot or ash does not build up and create a possible fire hazard.
Pellet fireplaces can also be used, which burn densely packed pellets made from wood, crop waste products or sometimes other materials such as nutshells, soybeans, wheat or corn. These models require a vent as well as maintenance and cleaning to remove ash. Those wanting an environmentally friendly fuel source will love pellet fireplaces, as they operate on biofuels.
Electric models are a highly popular option, as they simply need to be plugged in and use LED lighting to mimic the look of flames. These require no vents, emit no toxins and provide a satisfying source of heat. Fake logs can be used to replicate the look of a wood-burning fireplace, allowing you to reap the benefits of the traditional form without the associated maintenance.
For homes that are already connected to a gas line, natural gas or propane-powered freestanding fireplaces are a great option. Many of these models require venting, to prevent the deadly accumulation of carbon monoxide. Propane should also be handled and stored with care. Gas fireplaces are generally used as a supplementary form of heat, meaning you may have to have central heating in place as well.
Decide how much maintenance and cleaning you are willing to do, and which fuel source is most cost-effective in your area. If you live somewhere where you have access to scrap firewood, for example, wood-burning fireplaces will make sense for you. Or, electricity might be cheap where you live, making it the best option for you.