All About Fireplaces
Warmth and ambience
Even as recently as the early 1980s, residential fireplaces were much less common than they are today. Before then, the vast majority of serious wood-burning, particularly for heat, was done with basement wood furnaces or simple black cast-iron or plate steel wood stoves. Now, the wood-burning situation has changed markedly. Most new home wood-burning appliances are efficient wood stoves and advanced fireplaces which are often able to provide much or all of the heat for a home while at the same time offering the beauty and atmosphere of a visible fire.
A fireplace or woodstove offers security and peace of mind, as many of them do not require electricity to function. In the event of a winter emergency or disaster, even if the power goes out, natural gas is typically available for many hours.
If you have a wood-burning fireplace or traditional wood stove, you may even be able to cook your food on a wood fire, transforming a potential catastrophe into a family adventure. It's like looking back on a bygone era when wood heat and candles would have been the normal way of life.
The addition of options for propane, electric and natural gas fireplaces has expanded the number of residential hearth choices so that some form of working fireplace is a realistic option for nearly every home. With more energy-efficient, well-insulated houses that provide effective moisture and air barriers, it has become ever-easier to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature without using massive amounts of fuel, whether wood, gas, or electricity.
Like any other household appliance, a fireplace or woodstove comes with its own set of potential dangers and necessary safety precautions. The keys to safe and successful fireplace ownership and operation are always good planning, careful installation and proper maintenance. Proper location of a fireplace ensures good heat coverage of the area that you want to warm, as well as visibility of the hearth for the sake of providing an attractive viewing experience for your family and friends.
For more information on either wood-burning or gas fireplaces, fireplace products, styles and options, browse through the shopping links in the box at the top of this page.