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Choosing Ideal Fireplace Style for Your Park City Home

If you’re considering a new fireplace for any area in your home, this is likely an exciting time where you’re thinking about several things. One of the top priorities to keep in mind here: Choosing the ideal style, including not only the proper fuel source for your needs, but also in a few other important areas.

At Uintah Fireplace and Design, we’re proud to offer a wide range of new fireplace options in Park City and other parts of Utah, including all three of today’s primary fireplace fuel sources: Electric, gas and wood. While you’re choosing between these three for your needs, though, it’s important to dig a little further than just the fuel source alone and look at some other details — with that in mind, here’s a primer on each of these three fuel types, plus some of their sub-categories and why each might be an ideal choice for your upcoming fireplace installation needs.

Gas Fireplaces

As the name suggests, gas fireplaces utilize either propane or natural gas to fuel a burn that typically runs for between three and four hours at a time. Gas-burning fireplaces either actively heat the home or serve as standalone items; those that do not actively heat (and rely on existing heating methods such as your furnace) are referred to as vent-free fireplaces, which typically come with their own ventilation system.

Let’s get a little more specific on the types of gas fireplace you have available to you today:

  • Direct vent gas fireplace: These gas fireplaces require an exterior vent, both to draw in air and to expel exhaust. This makes them one of the more popular options, as they typically blend in nicely with your exterior home décor and do not take up any extra space inside (and can even be placed directly alongside the wall). If necessary, you can add blowers to these fireplaces that will direct warmth from the fireplace into the home, helping with energy efficiency during cold months.
  • Natural vent gas fireplace: Also called a B-vent gas fireplace, this type draws in air from within the home, but then expels it through exhaust via a chimney that runs through the roof.
  • Vent-free gas fireplace: As noted above, this is a gas fireplace that requires no venting at all. It’s typically known to be more efficient than other gas types, burning cleanly and resulting in fewer emissions.

That’s still not the end of the story when it comes to gas fireplaces, however. You also have several specific design or construction options if you’re going this route, including:

  • Freestanding stoves: These are typically direct vent gas fireplaces made from cast iron or steel, with a glass front that covers the flame when it’s not being used.
  • Inserts: These are gas fireplaces made specifically to be inserted into a masonry or pre-built fireplace with an existing chimney, so they blend in seamlessly and require no construction of their own. As a bonus, inserts typically have a double wall that lets them work more efficiently during all seasons.
  • Zero-clearance: Fireplaces that are pre-manufactured and can be installed directly against materials like wood, walls or panels.

Electric Fireplaces

For those looking for a mix of modern and traditional fireplace style, electric options are a great choice. Once again, though, this category splits into three primary subcategories:

  • Wall-mount electric fireplace: Designed to hang on a wall, these electric fireplaces have both heater and flame options, so you can choose whether or not to allow heat into the room.
  • Built-in electric fireplace: For the most seamless look possible, the built-in electric fireplace will be built directly into any wall area of your choosing, providing the same heat and flame options as well as an entertainment system if desired.
  • Free-standing fireplace: Also known as electric fireplaces, these are similar to freestanding stoves but do not provide additional heat due to their open flame. Instead, they provide a modern touch without sacrificing any necessary heating capabilities, in many ways mimicking traditional fireplaces from an aesthetic standpoint.

A major part of the benefit of electric fireplaces is how versatile they are — they can be installed virtually anywhere in your home, from hallways to kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms. Some can be controlled via remote control in addition to the standard on/off switch, while others may even boast a built-in sound system that lets you enjoy music or television in the background with ease.

On the flip side, they may not add as much value to the home as other styles. In addition, they cannot be used when the power goes out.

Wood Fireplaces

Finally, the most traditional fireplace option, wood, remains viable today. Again, though, your choice will largely depend on the specific type you’re looking for:

  • Open hearth wood fireplace: Open fireproof boxes that are built into the wall of your home, with an exterior chimney.
  • Wood-burning stove: Used as a supplemental heat source rather than as the only source of warmth, stoves are built to be placed against an exterior wall and can come in one or more sections.
  • Zero-clearance wood fireplaces: Enclosed wood fireplaces that are completely fireproof, allowing them to be placed against exterior walls in an indoor area.
  • Wood-burning fireplace inserts: Finally, a very popular wood option today is the wood-burning insert, which is an enclosed box that’s meant to sit within an existing fireplace opening.

For those who want the most traditional look, aroma and even sound from their fireplace, wood is really the only choice. However, those going this route must realize that there’s some significant maintenance involved, from caring for the fireplace to preparing wood — but if you’re prepared for this, you really can’t go wrong here.

For more on choosing the ideal fireplace for your needs, or to learn about any of our modern fireplace options, speak to the staff at Uintah Fireplace and Design today.

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