Traditional masonry fireplace not only brings cozy atmosphere on the cold days but also elegance and aesthetic to your house. Furthermore, having a fireplace in a house is also a good real estate investment. This vivid interior decoration will increase the value of the house to more than 10%.
Nowadays, thanks to its popularity, many new constructed houses always come with a fireplace. However, studies show that more than 20 million houses in America built since the 70s did not have fireplaces. Until now many owners are willing to pay extra to have it in their houses.
If you are considering adding a fireplace to your house, you need to answer some critical questions to decide if it suits you the most and what value does it bring.
Is it possible to add a fireplace to my house?
The answer is yes. Currently, on the market, many diverse kinds of fireplaces can fit many houses. It would seem impossible if you cannot find any fireplace in your house.
However, the installation will depend on some restrictions according to the construction codes of local and state. Thereby, before starting constructing you should check carefully on the mandatory requirements to ensure safety.
Specifically, these are the requirements about the height of the chimney, the construction of firebox and chimneys, the construction waste and combustible materials. Those limitations will narrow down your choices. To comply with codes more correctly, you can ask for advice from the construction company or through online information.
Furthermore, another limitation that you may face is that the non-availability of wood and other fuels in the area where you live. Consider whether you will have to cut wood on your own or just buy split and pre-cut wood. If you have enough space to store the wood stack or if the natural gas resources are available, then your options have increased.
What kind of fireplace should I choose?
If your house is not built with a fireplace from the beginning, it is best that you should choose a zero-clearance fireplace that can be constructed with a frame wall. This type of fireplace uses gas or wood, and the fumes can be released directly through the side walls or go straight up to the roof through the chimney. The hearth is raised up around the fireplace base, therefore, increase heating efficiency.
Moreover, when you install this zero clearance fireplace, you can optionally customize the wall to fit your taste and budget. Especially, when the last steps are completed, you will have a fireplace that looks exactly like masonry ones tiled with stone or brick. Also, besides bringing high aesthetics to your home, this type of fireplace cannot only warm up a room but even your whole house.
How much will it cost?
The price of the fireplace can range drastically depending on the type you buy and some other factors affecting it. Here are some expenses you need to pay attention to when choosing a fireplace.
Installation and equipment cost
Equipment cost for a gas fireplace is in the range of $1,000 to $5,000. Depending on your way of construction, ventilation accessories can cost from $300 to $700 while the installation cost falls around $ 500. Other expenses will be gas conduit installation, frame construction, and finishing steps. If you choose a venting system directly through the wall, you will reduce the money spent on building the chimney and vertical flue. Additionally, these costs can add more if you want to retrofit more modern accessories to help increase the performance and eye-catching level of the fireplace. These advanced extensions can be a front decoration or functional remote control device.
Costs for a traditional masonry fireplace that you usually find in the resort in the mountains can start from a few hundred dollars to more than $ 20,000. Those costs include materials, transportation, installation, construction, and chimneys, surround and mantle … that need a hand of a professional technician.
Your budget used to install basic components of a zero clearance fireplace is about $ 2,000. Meanwhile, if you want it to be EPA qualified, you will have to spend at least $ 5,000 more for the door with a gasket that can adjust the amount of air used for combustion, as well as reduce emissions to the environment.
Moreover, if you simply need a unit just to get cozy through the winter, then an electric fireplace, which is about $ 500, is a reasonable choice.
However, all of the expenses mentioned above costs are not all because there are still charges like cutting exhaust fumes, fuels costs, and maintenance costs that are more expensive than initial installation cost:
Fuels cost depends on your living area, suppliers and of course your usage. The cheapest fuel is natural gas (about $ 1.42 per therm), following by heating oil and propane while electricity is more expensive. In some region, electricity cost even doubles the gas. The most economical solution is the use of firewood, especially when you are living near a cheap and abundant wood resource.
To make your fireplace works properly and efficiently, you need to pay attention annual maintenances. If you hire a chimney sweep for inspection and cleaning, you need to pay from $ 150 to $ 250. These costs are not expensive at all because of the regular your maintenance, the fewer problems for your fireplace.
Where will it be in my house?
Overall, the fireplace can be installed in any room in your home. While the most common place is the living room, you can still put it in a bathroom, kitchen or bedroom.
However, to optimize the value of your real estate, install the fireplace in a common room such as living room or great room. In contrast, if the purpose is to get a warm and cozy ambiance for yourself and family, bedroom or living room is the most suitable place.
Especially, there are some fireplaces designed to be placed outdoors. Nothing is better than camping in the backyard or stargazing with friends and family in a warm atmosphere. We note that you will have to pay the installation cost nearly equal to indoor units while the heating was not quite effective.
Are fireplaces as effective as other heating equipment?
There are many people think that a traditional masonry fireplace is not enough to heat a room, not to mention the whole house. The reason is that most of the generated heat does not go into the room but escapes through the chimney. To improve heat loss, you should choose the zero clearance fireplaces. These fireplaces have a door gasket to adjust outdoor air for combustion and reduced heat loss to 30%.
Also, there are many types of fireplace suitable for heating a particular zone or a small area where people spend the most time. Heating by zone will help you save a lot of energy costs. A gas fireplace has a quite stable heating efficiency around 80%.
Theoretically, installing multiple fireplaces in right spots can replace heating system in your home. Therefore, the fireplace is indeed as effective as other heating equipment.
In a word, a budget is not an issue because there are many types of fireplaces with prices and function that can fit your tastes. Home is a place where you spend most of the time and want to be at the end of the day so do not hesitate on improving its comfort and warmth. Nothing is more precious than a quality time with your loved ones beside a cozy crackling flame.