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Thursday, 19 April 2012 11:38:42 Europe/London
In the process of buying a new house, you might wonder what new things you could bring into this property to make it feel more like a home. After furnishing and décor, one of the best ways of stamping your style on your new home is to install a fireplace.
The style and age of your property don’t matter: from ornate, Victorian, cast-iron hearths, to modern, Swedish, steel fire bowls, there is fireplace design to suit everyone and there’s nothing like the flicker of an open flame to make your living room into a cosy retreat.
If you have a chimney or even a non-functioning fireplace, you might want to consider having it opened up and restored. You’ll need to have the condition of the flue checked, and to make sure you have a grate and (optionally) a surround suitable for real fire*. Then you’re ready to burn solid fuels like coal and wood, or smokeless fuel if you’re in a Smoke Control Area. Solid fuel is an economical option for replacing central heating on cooler spring and autumn days or supplementing it in the depths of winter. Once you’ve experienced the joys of direct heat you will wonder how you ever managed to live without it.
If you don’t have a flue you can usually still have a gas fireplace installed. Recent designs of gas fireplaces are practically indistinguishable from the real thing, but they have several advantages. Firstly, if you don’t have a chimney a balanced flue gas fire can be vented through an external wall, or you may be able to have a flueless gas fire which vents into the room. Secondly, you don’t have to ensure that you have a supply of coal or logs on hand. Thirdly there is no dust or ash with a gas fireplace, unlike the solid fuel option. Finally, you can control the heat of a gas fireplace with far greater precision than is possible with solid fuel.
If you can’t install a flue, or a flueless or balanced flue gas fire is unsuitable for your room, you can still have the appearance of an open flame. Dimplex have a patent on a technology called Optiflame which allows them to add realistic flame effects to an electric heater. While electricity is more expensive than gas or solid fuel heating, you can still enjoy the ambient effect of the flame in conjunction with your existing central heating. This is an ideal way to make a feature of an unusable fireplace that no longer has a serviceable chimney.
There are so many options available in terms of price, style and fuel-type that there is bound to be a fireplace that will suit your home. A feature hearth can improve any property’s desirability, which can help speed up your sale when you finally put your home back on the market. And in the meantime, there’s nothing like an open flame to bring warmth to your home.
*Solid fuel fireplaces in England and Wales must comply with Building Regulations Document J