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Don’t Settle for Builder Grade Fireplaces

Choosing Your Fireplace - NY Hudson Valley Chimney SweepThere are two ways to get a new fireplace: have a home with a fireplace built, or have a unit installed in an existing home. Either way, there are choices the homeowner should make instead of letting the builder choose what style & model they receive. Builder grade fireplaces often lack the longevity & performance that a highly rated fireplace can offer. A new fireplace should fulfill your desires & heating needs, not those of the person performing the installation, nor should it simply be based on cost.

Here are three things to consider when having a home built or having a fireplace added to the home you already live in.

  1. Gas or wood. First, decide if you want your fires to be fueled by natural gas/propane or wood logs. There are benefits and disadvantages to both. For example, gas burns cleaner and is more convenient to use, but it may cost more. Wood is economical, but you have to contend with purchasing (or chopping), storing and loading it into the fireplace regularly.
  2. Fireplace types and features. When getting a new fireplace, you’ll have to choose what kind will be best for your needs. Here are a few options.
  • Masonry: A traditional masonry fireplace can work with gas or wood and it looks great, but it may be cost-prohibitive for some because of lowered heating efficiency.
  • Ventless: These fireplaces (gas only), as the name implies, need no ventilation system. They are very efficient and can be installed in many areas within the home.
  • Direct-vent: Also for gas operation only, direct-vent fireplaces channel fumes and gasses to the outside of the house. These are very popular and relatively economical.
  • B-vent: Not as efficient as ventless or direct-vent, B-vent fireplaces are often chosen because their doors and screens create the ambiance of a real wood-burning fire with none of the hassle.
  • Prefab, dual fuel: These units can burn either gas or wood and are vented similar to masonry fireplaces. Not the most efficient type of fireplace, efficiency can be enhanced with glass doors that reduce heat loss.
  1. Surrounds and mantels. After you’ve decided on the best fireplace style, open up to the many variations of aesthetic additions that can make your hearth area come alive. Choose surrounds constructed of marble, granite, ceramic, brick or stone. Select a mantel with the color and design style that perfectly accents the room. Go with a traditional, contemporary or highly customized look.

Masonry FireplaceIt may seem as if there are a ton of choices in having a new fireplace added to a home, but a little consulting with a hearth store expert will help you streamline your decisions and end up with a unique and beautiful fireplace. The bottom line is, you can choose how you want your fireplace and surrounding area to look, so take the time to do your research before allowing your contractor to decide what to install.

After your fireplace is up and running, Hudson Valley Chimney Services can provide the cleaning, inspection and repair necessary to keep it running safely and efficiently for years. Call (845) 471-1071 and ask about our comprehensive chimney sweep services.

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