Ed’s Woodshed knows there is simply nothing quite like cozying up next to a warm, roaring fire. Fires are so relaxing you can go as far as downloading an App on your smart-tv and watch hours upon hours of a cracking, wood-burning fireplace – just to create a tranquil mood in your home. But why not bring the real ambiance of an actual fireplace into your home!
If you are contemplating renovating an existing fireplace or installing a new one, there are several things you should consider before making any decisions. Before the winter sets up on us, let your friends at Ed’s Woodshed help you decide what’s best for your home and budget.
There are two types of fireplaces to choose from: wood or gas. Both offer the same overall look and feel, and depending on what you’re choosing to do aesthetically, both can be designed to fit your liking.
Wood-burning, open-hearth fireplaces, require a fully-functional chimney, while gas inserts require tapping off your current gas-line. If you have an existing chimney for burning wood, you may need to have one of our chimney inspectors do a full inspection of your chimney’s components, like the flue, liner, smoke chamber, and damper. If there is masonry work required, you’ll have to seek out the help of a stone mason to help reconstruct your chimney. More notably, if you’re going to build one from scratch, you’ll absolutely need the help of a contractor and bricklayer, among other parties if necessary.
Gas Fireplaces and inserts do not require a chimney, but they do require you tapping off your gas line. They also require an electrician, if you’re going to install a blower to provide more heat output and create any remote switches. You may need to update your panel box for this. You’ll also need to have a venting system put in place. Some choose to use their existing chimney as an access point to the outdoors, others may choose to run it through an outside wall. There are various types of pilot systems to consider. Some offer pilot lights that are always lit, like a furnace unit, controlled by a wall switch or remote control to turn the burner flame on and off. Other systems can include a switch/remote that sparks the pilot light, then light the burner, or the simplest version would include manually lighting the burner with a match.
Gas fireplaces are more modern and may cost less than rebuilding or constructing a new fireplace, but you will have to consider the cost of gas used during the winter months. Wood is also cheap, and in some cases free. Wood also requires more work tending to a fire to maintain temperature, while gas is the matter of flipping a switch providing a steady heat source.
Hire a Professional: Unless you are in the profession of building or installing fireplaces, it’s best to hire a professional to assess and consult you on adding a gas or wood fireplace to your home. There are various types of building codes that should be fully met in order to burn gas or wood in your home. An expert builder, installer, gas technician and electrician are going to understand and follow all of these mandates. Do NOT cut corners when installing a fireplace. Smoke and fire can be fatal!
Spark Screens, Carbon Monoxide & Smoke Detectors. If you are burning wood in an open-hearth, you’ll want to invest in a spark screen. The popping and cracking of embers sound great, but they’ll easily catch your carpet on fire if they spark out of the hearth.
And, even if you don’t use either type of fireplace, you should always have working carbon monoxide & smoke detectors located within your home! If you’re choosing to use a gas or wood fireplace, this is a great reason to invest in several of them now.
If you’ve decided on adding a fireplace to your home, please call Ed’s Woodshed and speak to one of our installation experts today – 412-257-0492. We specialize in bringing beauty and safety to your home!