Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fireplaces Compared

            With the fall and winter seasons approaching, I have been thinking about ways that we stay warm.  Many people have central heat and do not have to worry about electrical wall units, space heaters, and other sources of heat.  On the other hand, there are many people who rely on other heat sources such as fireplaces.  Whether you already have a fireplace or are looking to get one, here are some differences and comparisons of the common fireplaces.
            Wood.  For centuries, wood burning fireplaces have been around and keeping people warm.  Many say that wood burning stoves put off the most heat and warm their homes efficiently.  It is usually pretty easy to obtain firewood to fuel the warmth needed to keep a family warm during the cold months.   However, to be able to get through these chilly seasons, it may be necessary to have a lot of firewood available.  If there isn’t a covered area to store the wood, it can become soaked and hard to use for the fireplace.  Then there is the maintenance of the fireplace; removing the ashes from the unit and having to worry about the chimney being clean and clear of debris.

            Electric.  Some people may prefer having electric fireplaces.  They are easy to turn on (just flip a switch) and are low maintenance; there is nothing that needs to be cleaned up after it has been used.  On the other hand, electric fireplaces consume a lot of energy and do not seem to put out enough heat for the cost.  In this sense, they are usually used in conjunction with other heat sources, such as a central heating system.  They can give value to your home and create a “cozy” feel to the home, but when it comes to warmth, they just fall a little short.

            Gas.  One of the most common types of fireplaces are those that are powered by natural gas.  These fireplaces seem to have all the benefits of both of the wood and electric fireplaces rolled into one unit.   There is little maintenance-other than occasionally replacing some parts (the best part of the electric fireplace).  And depending on the type and model, they can put out enough heat to warm a large area (the best of the wood fireplace).  Instead of using up wood or electricity, it is simply added on to the gas bill each month.  They come in many different styles and give the added value to the home.  One of the drawbacks is that of any gas powered appliance-it has the possibility of leaking gas.  This can be fixed easily by installing a gas detecting alarm.

            Pellet.  Fairly new on the market, these fireplaces use compressed wood pellets that are continuously loaded into the fireplace, creating heat that is long and steady.  They do not require much maintenance and are very efficient.  One of the disadvantages is that in order for the fireplace to work, you do need to buy pellets every once in a while.
            No matter what you decide, you can count on and trust Vermont Castings for a wide variety of efficient, high-quality products and parts.

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