What kind of Custom Fireplace should you choose?

Thinking of adding a bit of charm to your home? Designing a custom fireplace is the ready-made solution. Custom fireplaces come with an added advantage that a slight modification can change the entire look-and-feel of your home.

Efficiency or style?

However, one needs to be prepared to answer a plethora of questions. What does the fireplace need to be like? Vented or ventless? What kind of wood burning process does one need to adopt? Catalytic or non-catalytic? What takes precedence? Efficiency of the custom fireplace or the looks that could determine the personality of my room?

Though there are innumerable fireplace products available, there are a host of advantages and disadvantages that each one comes with. Choosing a custom fireplace would more often than not depend on evaluating each design individually. Weighing the pros and cons of that particular design, understanding how it would affect your living room and then finally settling for it. This is precisely the reason why choosing a custom fireplace is an arduous task, though it looks very simple.

Vented or Ventless

The typical vented fireplace is the option for people looking at a combination of great technology and style. Whether one is thinking of a re-modification or a new construction, vented fireplaces seem to be the answer. However, the heat escapes through the chimney, while pulling in heat.

Ventless fireplaces that come at a lower price would prevent any heat loss whatsoever. So, many a homeowner turns to this option. Moreover, installation of a ventless fireplace is easier too. On the other hand, due to all the heat remaining in the room, people with asthma or allergies could find it extremely difficult due to the slight odor that tends to emanate from a ventless fireplace. The moisture given off due to excessive heat could also lead to a yellowish film getting coated on the walls.

The ideal solution to all these problems seems to be the new age direct-vent fireplace. It offers clean air and at the same time, excessive heat too. Efficiencies are also in the range of 75% - 85%. These direct-vent fireplaces come with a small sheet of glass, transparent and buckled with clamps. As a result, heated air can't be pulled in to the room, nor can the flames escape. Direct-vent fireplaces offer unique and distinct styles to choose from. The portrait style fireplaces can be tucked in non-conventional locations like a high-rise portion of a bed room, a kitchen cabinet in the corner etc.

For some log homes, arched screen doors with exciting themes like trees, forests, deer, bears and flowers are an interesting option.

Catalytic or non-catalytic

Catalytic and non-catalytic fireplaces are the next thing to consider when choosing a custom fireplace. A catalytic fireplace is one in which a catalytic converter is used to bring down the temperature at which smoke catches fire. Normally, if smoke catches fire at 1100 degrees Celsius, usage of a catalytic converter could help achieve that just at around 500-550 degrees Celsius. The catalyst gets hotter and hotter for the next 15-10 minutes and reaches 1300 – 1700 degrees, thereby giving you a warm effect, depending on the amount of wood, the dryness etc. Thereby, you save a lot of wood and at the same time, manage to keep yourself warm.

Non-catalytic method uses a tube with lots of holes. Hot, pre-heated air is blown through these tubes, thereby resulting in fanning the flames and giving a warm feeling in the fireplace. The drawback, however, is that the non-catalytic method does not last as long as the catalytic method. Since the air reaches very high temperatures, the tubes burn out very frequently and need to be replaced very often.

One thing is certain. Unless there is an experienced custom fireplace designer, most of these questions would remain mere enigmas. A custom fireplace expert, apart from suggesting the best possible designs to suit your home, the best quality material possible to add to the warmth and charm, would also point out ways to curb the costs.