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Fireplaces: what to consider before buying!

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Now that winter is very much on the cards, we all seem to be thinking about the same thing; how to stay warm! We all know that it would have been a little more cost-effective and sensible to get our heating issues sorted out in summer, but we were too busy perfecting our fashionable new zen gardens to do it then, so now, in December, we are thinking about fireplaces!

A great way to ensure extra warmth and style, a fireplace is a terrific addition to any home and will work best, generally speaking, in living rooms, as this is where you tend to spend the most time and want to feel really cosy. You might struggle to get a fireplace put in before Christmas, especially if you are calling heating experts in busy cities, such as London, but it's worth a try, once you've considered all the most important factors. We're going to help you cut through all of those big decision, right now, so let's talk fireplaces!

1. What fuel source would be best for you?

This is the main question you need to ask yourself. Can you imagine wood being in vast supply? Is bio-ethanol something you're interested in? Maybe a multi-fuel fireplace would even be best? You need to weigh up costs, environmental impact, efficiency and of course, aesthetics. We always love a wood-burning fire, but never forget that there is a lot of clean up necessary and the ash gets EVERYWHERE! Not great if you have white walls!

2. How much heat do you need it to generate?

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Chiemsee Öfen

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Chiemsee Öfen

The heat that a fireplace kicks out is measured in kW and the higher the number, the warmer your room will be. In a small to average living room, you shouldn't really need more than 3-5kW, but bigger spaces or open-plan homes will need significantly more. 

3. Which aesthetic style will look right?

Let's say that you have a really traditional, large and decadent living room. A small, contemporary installation simply isn't going to look right, is it? There are so many styles of fireplaces now readily available that you will definitely be able to find something that works well, looks great and doesn't stick out like a hot thumb!

4. Have you got a strict budget?

Budget is always going to be a factor when choosing a new installation for your home, so what should you be putting aside for a fireplace? Well, for small traditional wood-burning stoves, you're going to need at least £1000, but then don't forget that you'll have the flue to buy, chimney sweeping costs and installation fees. Yes, you might save money on your central heating bill, in the long-run, but initially, this is not a cheap home improvement. 

5. Will your home be efficient enough?

If you are definitely going to take the plunge with a new fireplace, you'll need to up the efficiency of your home a little bit, to make sure you are getting the full benefit. Now would be a great time to replace any blown sealed double-glazing panels and to add some draught excluders to the bottom of your doors! Once the heat is there, you really want to trap it in!

6. Is your ventilation up to scratch?

We've mentioned chimney sweeping already, but it is worth reminding you that you will need to have excellent ventilation if you want to safely light any style of fireplace. Your chimney needs to be clear of soot and debris so that it can offer a good 'draw' of air that will send any and all smoke shooting out of the top of your roof, not into your home! An ineffective chimney simply isn;t safe, so always call in an expert before you install a fireplace.

7. Do you need a self-contained unit?

Finally, you might like the idea of going a little off piste and choosing one of the newer self-contained fireplaces, as seen here. That's a great idea, but be aware that you WILL need a flue and that inserting one out of the side of a property is no small task. Experts make it look simple, but it is an expensive part of the process and will mean that you need to choose a spot for your unit that you'll always be happy with!

For a little more warm and toasty inspiration, take a look at this Ideabook: Unmissable advice for creating a snug winter home.

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