Even though we may have beautiful, sunny days, winter is approaching and with it, the cold and snow. It’s time to start warming up the house and making it the most comfortable ever. A great way to do that is by having a fireplace. If you don’t have one, there’s still time! It’s not only super warm and practical, but a super charming aspect to your house for those rainy days curled up reading a book, romantic nights, or having your friends and family over for the holidays.
Need more reasons why?
Low Energy Costs
Keeping the entire home warm is expensive, but a fireplace is a way cheaper alternative to other heaters. If heating is the number one reason for choosing a fireplace, consider the thermostat-controlled, self-modulated fireplace designs. That means it will automatically turn up and down to reach the temperature you program.
Wood is a more sustainable resource than all of the other fuel options on the market today, like fossil fuels, propane, and even natural gas. Plus, aside from making sure the ventilation, ducts and chimney are working fine, so the smoke doesn't stay inside the house, few services are needed to ensure that your fireplace remains as effective and energy-efficient as it is the first day it’s installed. There are even types of wood produced from replanted trees which are available as a fuel source.
For the especially eco-focused homes, bio-ethanol fireplaces use the biofuel ethyl alcohol, derived from natural products like corn for heating fuel. They are a great alternative to natural gas, because they don’t have to be vented and provide the level of energy efficiency and comfort that you deserve through the coldest winter days.
Gas logs, another all-natural heating fuel option are also available in both vented or vented-free styles depending on your home’s particular heating needs.
There are a lot of different options of logs to create a nice aroma to your home’s fireplace. Just a few of the specialized scented logs popular on the market today are cherry, pear, apple wood, sandal, juniper, cedar, oak, black walnut, and pine. That said, nearly any aroma can be designed for your personal preference.
Use seasoned hardwood or softwood for maximum efficiency.
If you like the rustic feeling of being close to a fireplace, you probably like the logs that crackle and pop. (Just be aware that it may throw more sparks than the usual, so having glass doors would be most advisable).
On an open hearth fireplace, everyone can enjoy marshmallows and other winter-perfect foods you want to roast. It’s like having a camp inside your house! In addition to that, you’ll be using less energy from electrical stoves or microwaves. Hardwood logs are the best for this use, since they produce more intense fires, though they’re more difficult to start a fire (instead, start it with softwood, after that, switch to hardwood).
Hardwood options include ash, pecan, almond, apple, dogwood, hard maple, red or white oak, and more, while the most common softwoods (less intense, but great starters) are: yellow pine, cedar, douglas fir and white spruce.
Warmth and Light All the Time
Possible blackouts caused my winter storms can leave you in the cold and dark for what often can be hours or even days on end. A fireplace will keep everybody comfortable and warm until power is back.
A fireplace is a classic feature. It will always be a sign of sophistication, and an elegant way to combine style, grace and functionality. Doesn’t matter if it’s ultra modern and minimalist, or a traditional and Victorian design, your home’s fireplace will never look dated. It inspires romance and a more natural vibe. Besides, holidays are best spent next to a big fireplace, since it can naturally bringing people closer.
- Be careful with infants, toddlers and pets near the fire. Even after the fire is out, the fireplace area may still be hot for a while, especially if it has glass doors.
- Don’t let any matches, books, or anything flammable like paper and plastic near the fireplace as they pose an obvious fire risk
- Similarly, during the holiday season, make sure the stockings on mantelpieces are safely and securely attached, so they don’t fall into the fire.
- Never leave the house or go to bed with the fire lit. If a lot of time passes, it may get too warm or accidents may happen if you have kids or pets.
- Purchase a carbon monoxide detector and have your home inspected for carbon monoxide annually for extra safety.
- Schedule a chimney inspection at least once a year, talking to a professional chimney sweep, if not for repair, at least for peace of mind. They should check to see if it’s free of creosote buildup and any other potential hazard. There’s no such thing as too much safety.
- Don’t use water to put out a fire unless it’s an emergency situation. That can make the ashes really difficult to clean.
- When cleaning, avoid strong products that may leave traces of flammable chemicals.
Keeping these simple fireplace safety tips in mind, you’ll be able to enjoy the best of your fireplace without any hazards. It’s a step up in style and charm, as well as a nice way to keep warm in the winter.