Fireplaces: Which Type is Right for Your Home?
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Fireplaces: Which Type is Right for Your Home?


The warmth of a roaring fire is one of the most enjoyable ways to keep the Portland area’s damp winter chill away. A gas fireplace can provide this kind of comfort, and there are several types available to fit your needs.

Inserts — These models are designed to be installed in an existing fireplace space to convert it from wood-burning to gas. Because gas fireplaces are typically more energy efficient than wood-burning models, inserts give you a way to improve your home efficiency without giving up your crackling winter fires. While the existing masonry chimney can be used if it’s in good repair, it must be re-lined first. On the downside, most of these models are natural-vent designs, which are less efficient than direct vent, but direct-vent models can be found.

Free standing — This type doesn’t require an existing fireplace space because it’s entirely self-contained. Freestanding fireplaces can be mounted on legs or pedestals, in a hearth or even on a wall. These models are easier to find in direct-vent designs. Either top or rear-vented, they can be vented through the wall, through a factory-built chimney or through an existing chimney.

Free-standing fireplaces are ideal for use in a room addition that isn’t sufficiently heated by the existing heating system. Because they can be placed nearly anywhere, they also allow you more freedom with your interior design.

Factory built — Also known as zero clearance, this design can be safely enclosed by combustible material, such as walls with wood studs, without risk of damage. This allows zero-clearance models to provide more heat than conventional masonry fireplaces. Instead of a masonry chimney, they use a stainless steel flue. Although these models are usually installed during a home’s construction, they can also be retrofit as part of a home renovation project.

Whatever type of gas fireplace you choose, it should be professionally installed to ensure that it performs safely and efficiently.

For help choosing or installing your new heating equipment, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling in the Portland area.

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