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Fireplaces – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Ethanol fuelled Fireplaces:

These types of fireplaces work on ethanol, a type of alcohol which works as a fuel. The only thing that has to be done is to pour ethanol into the burner and just light it with a match or lighter.

The good:

  • Affordable and can fit in anyone’s budget.
  • You don’t need a chimney, stovepipe, or flue to install one, as they can be portable
  • Very clean burning, meaning there is no leftover ash to clean

The bad:

  • Fuel can be expensive and is sold separately from the set
  • You have to choose between decoration or heat, as smaller units do not give a lot of heat
  • Some models have protective screens, and others sell them separately

The ugly:

  • If instructions are not followed, it can create an open flame that can cause injuries or property damage
  • Ethanol is a combustible material.
  • You cannot use ethanol to heat an entire house.

Stand-alone fireplaces:

This type of fireplace is a free-standing construction that doesn’t need to be built as a traditional fireplace.

The good:

  • Generates a really good amount of heat
  • Can add value to a property if you are thinking of reselling
  • You can find electric, wood or gas as basic choices for the fireplace

The bad:

  • If the home doesn’t come with an already existing fireplace, it needs to be installed and is costly
  • If the fireplace needs to be vented (Not the case for electric or ventless options) a chimney needs to be installed, which adds to the
  • The style can increase the cost of the installation, while a simple style can be cheap, a traditional look can be more expensive

The ugly:

  • Can be a big investment depending on the style

Fireplace inserts:

An easy description for these types of fireplaces are fireproof boxes made out of steel or iron, with insulated glass that creates a closed combustion system.

The good:

  • It can be powered by electricity, gas, propane, wood, pellets or coal
  • If installed properly, can be a much better heater than traditional fireplaces
  • Some types (electric, propane, and gas) provide a timesaving advantage

The bad:

  • For wood or coal types, you need to get the material to fuel the fireplace
  • Ash needs to be cleaned out of the fireplace, so it’s a constant maintenance
  • Fuel can be limited

The ugly:

  • Whenever you are placing the fuel, some smoke can get out and cause a health issue
  • Without proper care and maintenance, can generate deadly gases.

In the end, the choice is up to you, whatever style you consider fits your budget and aligns with your taste, it will be worth it.


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