Fireplaces represent the idea of home, with good reason. They have been a source of warmth and a focal point since time immemorial. To this day, fireplaces are more than heating devices; they also connote safety and belonging in every space they are included. Perhaps that is why more and more homeowners want to add one to their homes.
Technology has allowed fireplace design and engineering to make great strides over the years. They have changed so much yet remain the same in many ways. When talking about appearance, fireplace builders have come up with truly stunning models. However, on the other side of that coin, most heaters remain true to the original concept: you can observe dancing flames in a firebox while soaking in the heat it provides.
Despite the numerous adjustments and designs, there still remains some primary distinctions in some fireplace models. One of these is their placement. If you are seeking to purchase a heater, expect to choose between two positioning types: freestanding and insert. Here is a more in-depth overview of each type fireplace and what you need to consider while choosing between them.
These are both the more conventional and better-known types, primarily because they were the premier types of fireplaces in use when heaters were first invented. Consequently, insert fireplaces are what comes to mind when you mention a home heater. They are all about the stone or brick face and chimney, often with a mantle and grate.
There are also two kinds of insert fireplaces:
Inserts- which are meant for use with already existing chimneys.
Fireplaces- which require a frame that is constructed from scratch.
Opting to use a fireplace insert has one primary advantage- it greatly increases the efficiency of your open fireplace. Furthermore, it is easily adaptable. So whether you choose to go with wood or gas, the installation process is not overly complicated in either case. The only drawback is that inserts are not ideal for fireplaces that aren’t centrally located. If yours is in a corner, it is likely that an insert will make your heater a little less effective.
Alternatively, choosing a fireplace provides a little more room for maneuvering in terms of positioning. All you need is a well-constructed frame-typically made from timber- and an idea of where it would look and feel best. You can also choose a venting system that works best for you. Therefore, you are not restricted to using a vertical flue if installing a termination into an external wall is more manageable.
In both cases, inserts and fireplaces have tremendous aesthetic appeal. They retain the appearance of traditional fireplaces while producing more heat more efficiently. They primarily warm the room using convection since all radiant heat is absorbed by the wall surrounding the heater. Consequently, to facilitate this, insert fireplaces often have fans or are designed to direct the heat outward from the firebox into the room.
Like the name suggests, freestanding fireplaces are not installed next to or within any surrounding walls. As a result, you have a lot of flexibility in selecting a position for one of these appliances. And as always, there are some pros and cons to this feature.
Firstly since there is no need for walls, installing a freestanding fireplace can be more budget-friendly than the inbuilt types.
Additionally, you can determine your energy type references based on how you want to vent the fireplace. As a guide, wood-burning freestanding models must be flued vertically while gas varieties work well with both horizontal and vertical vents.
Since a freestanding heater is completely exposed to the whole room, you benefit from both radiant and convective heat. This boon means losing less heat to the room’s barriers, making it a very effective alternative.
However, there is one major consideration. Just because you can choose where you want to position a freestanding fireplace doesn’t mean it will work well anywhere. To get the most out of the heater, consider these tips when heating more than one room. First, try picking a spot that is as central as possible for a wood stove. Its vertical flue will restrict the airflow, so such a placement will facilitate better heat distribution. In contrast, since gas models use both venting systems, you may install them wherever you feel works best.
All in all, choosing between an insert and a freestanding fireplace comes down to which type ticks the most boxes. Nonetheless, if you remain uncertain of the best choice, do not hesitate to seek professional assistance. Contact your local heating experts for more nuanced advice based on your preferences. No matter the final selection, you will change your home for the better.