Traditional Wood-burning Fireplaces
Nothing beats the old classic
Many people feel that there is nothing that can match the look, feel and smell of a true wood-burning fireplace. As technology improves, the choices available to prospective fireplace owners continue to grow and the increased level of cleanliness and convenience of modern fireplaces can make them a very viable alternative to gas fireplaces.
There are three main types of wood-burning fireplaces:
- Traditional wood-burning fireplaces are generally constructed of masonry or factory-built out of cast-iron, plate steel or even lighter metals such as aluminum.
- Clean-burning fireplaces (as their name suggests) provide the most efficient burning of wood to lessen creosote buildup and the emission of environmental pollutants such as Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) and particulate matter (PM)
- EPA certified fireplaces produce less than 7.5 grams of particulate matter (PM) per hour when installed and operated correctly
Which is the best option for a wood-burning fireplace? The answer and the reasons for it are as varied as the owners of fireplaces themselves. Since your fireplace will be a focal point in your home, you'll need to balance the cost of implementation and installation with the continuing cost of maintaining a fireplace over the years. Be sure to pick whichever of the three options you feel will be the best compromise between performance and aesthetic charm.
If you require plenty of heat, either the clean-burning or EPA-certified wood-burning fireplaces will be the most attractive. The newer options are closed-combustion systems requiring glass fireplace doors. Although these are more efficient choices, some people feel that the steel and glass doors make the fireplace too "removed" from the room in which it is located. This is certainly a valid complaint – we recommend that you visit a showroom or model home to see the different fireplace options in action and find out what your instinctive reaction is to a particular fireplace style.
For those who prefer the more traditional 'open' fireplace, you may have to accept some heat loss as the price for the ambience of that faint wood smoke smell and the un-muffled crackling of pitch or the visible appeal of a burning log, unobscured by the tempered glass present in more modern fixtures. There are a variety of fireplace tools, mantels, and chimney accessories to complement wood-burning fireplaces as well as gas fireplaces.