Choosing a fireplace is often about visual appeal and the feel of the heat, but there are a few technical aspects to consider as well. The form and fitting options must be considered for your living room or chosen area, and you need to consider fuel types such as gas or solid fuels. Here are a few fireplace options to help you understand the different features and technical aspects:
Fireplace Efficiency Considerations
Your fireplace needs to distribute heat in a useful way, fit in with the room's aesthetics, and be easy to clean and repair.
As far as efficiency, consider the amount of fuel used to the heat produced. Although industry professionals have multiple tools to test the efficiency, home and business users need to keep an eye out for a few basic features.
First, what is the insert made out of? Does it have an enclosure that retains heat, and is the opening shaped in a way that allows heat to freely flow from the fireplace? Inserts with too many decorative changes to the backing can be inefficient due to heat loss.
One example of heat loss caused by improper backing is hole-filled or slotted inserts. These inserts are designed to give a view of whatever may be behind the fireplace insert, such as showing off the original fireplace materials or showing off lighting behind the fire.
Such inserts are purely decorative. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but know that you're getting the insert for decorative purposes rather than for heating.
Fuel Delivery And Aesthetics
Another example of inefficient heating design is using odd ports for fuel and flame delivery. Using a lot of tubes with holes to create intricate flame designs or changing the exit hole of a pipe to create twisting flames is cool, but once again a purely cosmetic change.
Any surface that touches flame is affected in some way, leading to some level of heat loss. The amount of heat lost should be low as possible for efficient fireplace inserts, but additional piping, valves, and holes simply create more metal to leech away at the heat, and more areas for heat to escape without entering an efficient area for distribution.
It's possible to have an enjoyable fireplace design without adding a lot of fancy flame tricks or decorative piping. Many different types of logs can be fabricated for your fireplace, using any type of wood in the world if you can provide a picture. If you don't know what kind of wood to choose, we have multiple natural wood designs for realistic, crackling fire appeal.
Contact a heating and fuel professional like Nordic Stove and Fireplace Center to discuss your options for efficient heating with good fireplace design.