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Adding Warmth with a Fireplace

by Jessica Wormeck January 19, 2013

Especially in colder climates, a fireplace is a valued feature within a home. Not only does a fireplace provide warmth on a cold winter’s day, but it can also create a warmer environment and add dimension to a room.
For homeowners who would like to install a fireplace, there are many options, ranging from a brick-lined hearth and custom mantel costing thousands of dollars to gel- or electric-fueled fireplaces that are much more affordable.
Here is some useful information for those considering a new fireplace:

- If you are set on a wood-burning fireplace, but are on a budget, choose a ready-made unit, a drywall surround and simple wall-mounted mantel. In an existing home, the actual installation is a major expense due to the renovation work required to build the infrastructure, such as a chimney.
- One alternative is a gas- or propane-burning fireplace that is professionally hooked up to a gas line or connected to a propane tank. This option becomes even more affordable when opting for a vent-free gas fireplace that eliminates the need for a chimney.
- The least expensive option is a gel-fuel fireplace or an electric fireplace that totally eliminate all installation costs. Not only are they portable and ready to use out of the box, but you can easily install electronics or a mantel above these units since there is no flue or chimney.
- Before deciding on an option, check local building codes for possible restrictions on the types of fireplaces that can be installed in your area. It is also important to consider ongoing costs such as fuel, cleaning and service.