Indoor Fireplace Buying Guide
The addition of a fireplace can ignite the spark in any room. At Watson’s, we’re proud to carry a variety of fireplace types, sizes, and styles in addition to the accessories you’ll need to make the most of every experience. But before you buy, there are a few things you’ll want to take into account before deciding which fireplace is best suited for your home.
Bringing the Heat
When it comes to heat output, not all fireplaces are created equal, and that’s a good thing! Certain folks want their fireplaces to keep them warm and cozy, while others like the aesthetic appeal without wanting to break out in a sweat.
The area of your space and your desired heat output will determine the right kind of fireplace for you. Heat is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). In general, wood stove fireplaces produce the most heat, followed by gas fireplaces, and then electric. Speak to a Watson’s specialist to find out which will be best for your needs and space.
Which Fireplace is Right For You?
Gas fireplaces use natural gas or propane to keep a consistent flame, which burns around artificial logs to create the look and feel of a traditional wood stove fireplace. A gas fireplace does not require a traditional flue and chimney, so there’s less maintenance required. This means no chimney cleanings or worrying about whether or not the flue is open. Just turn on your fireplace and relax.
Here at Watson’s, gas fireplaces are our most popular option, as they offer the best of both worlds. Compared to electric and wood stove fireplaces, gas fireplaces are easy to ventilate, require low levels of maintenance, create a higher flame, and produce more heat similar to that of a wood stove fireplace.
Gas fireplaces are quite easy to install and only require a hookup to a gas line. We recommend consulting a master plumber or gas line installation specialist who will be able to safely and correctly make that connection for you.
If you’re interested in a gas fireplace, Watson’s recommends a Vent-Free option.
Vent-free fireplaces are exactly what they sound like and don’t require any ventilation whatsoever, making installation and maintenance a breeze. You’ll get a smaller flame than a direct vent fireplace, but the combustion output is so low that any excess gases can safely be dispersed into the room the fireplace is located in.
Electric fireplaces are great for those who are looking for the aesthetics of a traditional fireplace, but don’t mind lower heat output. While it is your decision on where to place your electric fireplace, we generally find they make popular additions to media consoles, allowing you to watch your favorite shows or movies with a nice, relaxing fire going directly underneath or next to your screen.
Electric fireplaces use a heated coil to draw in cool air, rapidly heat it up, and then funnel it through the output. Installation for electric fireplace could not be more simple, as they plug in directly to a standard 110 volt outlet.
Remember: An electric fireplace won’t do as much to heat up the room, but if you’re looking to add that cozy aesthetic without intrusive installation or maintenance, they are the perfect solution.
Wood Stove Fireplaces
A wood stove fireplace closely resembles a traditional fireplace in terms of form and function. They can either be inserted into an existing fireplace or be installed freestanding on legs. Installation of a wood stove fireplace can be more involved and may require minor construction, but if you’re looking for a fireplace to keep you warm, they’re a great option.
If you enjoy hearing the crackle, smelling the wood burn, and feeling the radiant heat, a wood stove fireplace is the only way to go.
Catalytic vs. Non-Catalytic Stove Fireplaces
Wood stove fireplaces have two types of combustion output: catalytic and non-catalytic stoves.
Catalytic stoves pass smoke and exhaust through a coated ceramic honeycomb inside the stove that burn away any particles, resulting in a long, even heat output.
Non-catalytic stoves do not use a catalyst to disperse smoke and particles, but have an internal system in place that provides necessary and safe combustion.
Parts in both catalytic and non-catalytic fireplaces will eventually need to be replaced. Consult a Watson’s specialist for further information on the best wood stove fireplace for you.
Whether you’re inserting a wood stove fireplace into an existing fireplace, or installing a freestanding fireplace, you’ll first want to consider local ordinances involving fireplace safety. For instance, there may be certain areas that will require less disruption to install a ventilation system. If piping is required, there may be distance requirements from certain materials like drywall.
To guarantee that your fireplace works as intended without compromising on safety, schedule a site survey with a Watson’s pro. We can work with you to find the most fitting place for your fireplace. As part of your site survey, you’ll get a holistic quote that will account for the fireplace of your choosing, piping and materials needed, and installation costs, so there’s no surprises.
No fireplace is complete without some fireplace logs carefully placed on the interior.
Electric fireplaces tend to come with logs built in and are less likely to be flexible with interchanging artificial logs.
Watson’s offers a variety great log options for gas fireplaces, depending on whatever style fits in with your vision.
When purchasing gas logs, there are two factors to keep in mind: size and gas source. Both gas logs and fireplaces come in a variety of sizes, so make sure the logs fit in your gas fireplace console. Additionally, they must match up with your source of gas: propane or natural gas. If you’re unsure about either of these, consult a Watson’s specialist prior to purchase.
Finishing touches are where you’re really able to customize and personalize your fireplace.
Make it your own with one, or a combination, of reflective gemstones that add a nice ambience to the glow of your fireplace, available in a wide range of colors.
Additionally, you can outfit the outside with some beautiful glassdoors, or a screen if that’s more up your alley. Fireset tools and log racks are also ideal ways to give your fireplace area a little something extra.
As always, if you have questions regarding your fireplace purchase, we are happy to help. Get in touch with a Watson’s expert for more information about our fireplace selection, installation process, and more.
Or come see for yourself by visiting us in store.