A Guide to the Best Fireplaces

Fireplaces not only look beautiful in any home, but they are extremely effective for heating the home throughout the Winter months. In Australia and especially cities like Melbourne, the Winter months can last up to 4 or 5 months. Investing in a fireplace is therefore an effective solution to heat your home. We asked the experts at fireplace store Flues and Fires in Melbourne for their opinions on the best fireplaces.

fireplace in home

  1. Ventless Fireplaces

This is the most environmentally efficient type of fireplace that also offers ease of instalment and placement in the house. Rather than venting the fumes through chimneys, the ventless fireplace uses the air of the room directly and delivers it back inside. Making it extremely feasible and flexible to place in the room.

All the fireplaces need a ventilation system to exhaust combustion gases or wood outside in the environment, thus keeping the home safe. But simultaneously, these gases causes immense air pollution outside, and become the cause of numerous hazardous environmental issues.

Surely, it has immense environment-friendly characteristics, but it can pose serious health concerns to the people breathing the air mixed with burnt gases. And for that reason, this design has been banned in many places. So, if you are planning on installing this fireplace, you must Consider going through rules and legislation associated with your city/ state.

  1. Electric Fires

If you are looking for a fireplace that will add a modish and trendy touch to your place while being extremely safe and efficient than the electric fire is the one to go for. Let’s check out its Pros and Cons a little more.

Electric fireplace

Pros

Easy Installation

Just plug in the switch on the wall, and the fireplace will start heating your place right away. Its installation is extremely easy and immediate. In addition to that you can plug in the switch anywhere you want to, making them highly portable as well.

No Fumes

Being run by electricity, without any sort of fuel or gas, there is no mess of fumes, ashes or carbon soot. So, with these fires being installed, there is no need to ponder about gas leakage or air pollution.

Ease of Maintenance

These fireplaces don’t need much maintenance, as there is no burning of wood or gas is involved. The heat is produced by the electricity so no cleanliness is required.

Cons

Unreal Fire

If you are a fan of heat produced by real wood burning, then probably you won’t be satisfied with this fireplace, as the fire is obviously fake.

Need Electricity

Their exclusive characteristic of being lit up by the electricity is their biggest disadvantage actually. In case of power shortage in your area, you won’t be able warm up your place.

Expensive

Use of electric fireplaces will cost you more in your utility. And the price of these fires is also more than the traditional heaters.

  1. Gas Log Fires

Gas log fireplaces are a modern version of wood-burning fireplaces but are cheaper, cleaner and more efficient. Being much more advantageous than the wood-burning fires, gas log fires have become more popular and trendy.

Pros

Easy Usability

Just rotate a knob or push a button, and the fireplace will heat up at your desired heating temperature. This is time-saving and extremely easy to operate.

Real Looking

The burning effect of the gas and the intricate designing of the logs make it feel actually real.

Cons

Less Heat

If you are used to wood-burning fireplaces, then the gas log will feel definitely feel less efficient in producing heat.

  1. Wood Heaters

Burning of wood is the most effective and highest heat generating option. If you are wishing for a scenic ambience and immediate heating at your place then wood heater come first on the priority list.

woman enjoying wood heater

Let’s review its advantages and disadvantages in detail.

Pros

Cost Effective on Utility Bills

Apart from the purchase of wood logs, wood heaters don’t need any sort of electricity to produce the heat, which reduces the utility billing amount.

Highest Temperature

Among all the heating sources, wood heaters generate the highest amount of heat. So, if you wish to enjoy the cozy environment with high temperature, the wood heater will be the perfect choice to go for.

Cons

Production of Hazardous Gases

Burning of the woods not only produce visible carbon soot and ashes but also release harmful gases (carbon oxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide) in the air in excessive amount. Breathing in such polluted air can be a cause of numerous health issues.

High Cost of Wood Logs

These fireplaces need continuous wood to spread heat, which is really expensive. This not only makes it costly in terms of expenditure of money, rather it is environmentally expensive as well. We may not realise it right away, but saving nature must be our topmost priority.

  1. Ethanol Burning Fire

Fireplaces using neither gas or wood logs, and not even the electricity; sounds amazing. The ethanol burning fireplaces have become immensely popular, trendy and desirable fires recently. Due to the ease of installation, contemporary design and being energy efficient, it’s no surprise why is it so. Let’s Pros and Cons of this type of fireplace in detail.

Pros

No Smoke/ Fumes

One of the most disadvantageous things of wood burning fireplaces is the production of the excess amount of hazardous smoke and fumes in the air, whereas, with the ethanol fireplace, there is no need to worry about this thing anymore. The fuel that heats up the fireplace is absolutely clean, and the final product made out of combustion is very little amount of water along with carbon dioxide. And the water produced is minimal, so you don’t have to worry about wet walls or suffocation.

No Chimney is Required

As these fireplaces do not produce smoke or fumes, so there is no need of chimneys. This gives a whole lot of advantages including freedom of placement, ease of installation, simple Construction and mobility of fireplace. None of this is possible with other fireplaces.

Cons

Not Sufficient Heat Production

The heat produced through ethanol flame is not warm enough, and certainly has absolutely no comparison with the traditional wood-burning fireplaces. This is because ethanol is not the primary heat source, so less heat is generated.

Consumption of Oxygen

This is a simple rule when the fire is burning, air oxygen will be Consumed. Same goes for this fireplace as well. So, it’ll be wise to open the door for fresh air every once in a while.

The time to install your new wood heater this Australian summer 

The popularity of wood heaters for Australian homes has been growing, and advanced technology has made them more stylish as well as efficient. New homes today are sporting many of the sleek contemporary designs. After all, the crackle of burning logs does create that very desirable ambience as you sip some hot chocolate or perhaps red wine!

Wood heater in a houseWhen you start shopping for your new wood heaters, the best place to start is researching online. Look for the reviews and testimonial for retails and brands, and choose the one with top customer ratings, such as Flues & Fires and Classic Fireplaces and BBQ’s. Apart from having the most satisfied clients, these businesses offer wood heaters from popular national and international brands.

  • Space heaters

This is the general definition for wood heaters since they heat a given space directly offering higher output compared to other variants of fireplaces. All types of wood heaters heat well and are capable of heating 80 to 400 sq.metres plus.

  • Radiant wood heaters

Some models of wood heaters are merely ‘radiant’ which means that they only radiate heat at a steady pace. Other types can employ a fan to quickly push the heat out. When you evaluate different models for you should take into consideration the personal heating needs for your home since wood heaters provide the heat in multiple ways, and getting it right is therefore important.

  • Freestanding wood heaters

This type of wood heaters transfers one third the heat output through convection and the rest through radiation. Radiated heat provides warmth to the surface of various objects like ceilings, floors, furniture, walls as also people facing the heater. These heaters emanate heat in every direction, and the surface temperatures are very high. These heaters are provided with a ventilated casing surrounding the firebox in tile or metal. Some variants are also provided with inbuilt electric fans to increase the flow of convective air.big house with wood heater

Where you house the wood heater and how your room is configured will be the major considerations when you choose freestanding heaters. While an inbuilt fireplace will consume significantly lesser space and also blend into the wall seamlessly, the freestanding heaters are ideal when a dramatic focal point interests you. Another consideration impacting your choice will be the materials employed in the construction of your home itself. While the freestanding heaters can simply be positioned away from any combustible surface, in-built heaters will need a surrounding casing in the non-combustible material. But, if freestanding heaters have to be placed closer to a combustible surface, there are other technical solutions like zero clearance boxes and heat protection panels that can solve your problem.

  • Double sided wood heaters – Jetmaster

This type of wood heaters presents significant advantages over the other types and includes unique warmth, cost efficiency, energy independence, eco-friendliness, reliability etc. It is also a creative means of maximising the performance of the fireplace and bringing down the cost of heating simultaneously. Jetmaster is among leading Australian vendors for this type of wood heaters. A significant advantage of this kind of wood heaters is their ability to heat two different rooms concurrently. Think of the patio that is seldom used during winter because space lacks heat during winter. If one wall of your living room is shared with patio, you can significantly expand the use of your home during those cold months without additional heating costs by installing a double sided wood heater.

doubled sided wood heaterSimilarly, if you have two bedrooms abutting each other you can choose the double sided heater for both rooms, and the ambient heat would be adequate to keep both rooms warm and comfortable. Further, you will need only one chimney and flue leading to lower maintenance costs as compared to two independent installations.

Having examined different types of wood heaters, let us now examine some of the other important aspects that will influence your shopping.

Irrespective of the type of wood heater that you choose, you should ensure that your choice complies with the regulations concerning Clean Air emission. In turn, this would also mean that the efficiency rating of the wood heater you choose is at an acceptable level.

All wood heaters sold in Australia need to be compliant with the Clean Air Emissions regulations, which mean they have achieved an acceptable efficiency rating. Optimizing the efficiency of your wood heater above these minimum standards depends to a large degree on how you use it.

Here are a few tips to get the best out of your wood heaters during the upcoming winter:

  • Use paper, kindling wood, or firefighters to get the fire started. Once a hotbed of fire is established, you can add the larger wood pieces.

  • 3 to 4 smaller logs work better with your wood heater as compared to 2 large logs.

  • You can avoid much of the smoke when you allow a small amount of air overnight. During the night the air supply should be partially open.

  • When adequate fresh air is allowed, it promotes combustion efficiency and the heat can be conserved by closing the curtains and doors and it is important that you get the balance right.

  • Getting the heater professionally installed is the best way to go or else, you should ensure that the size and other parameters are in sync with the intended purpose.

  • Petrol/oil/Kerosene should never be used for starting the fire. Use only well-seasoned, dry hardwood.

  • Remember that a well-maintained wood heater can serve you for several decades.

  • Wet, partially wet or green wood promotes smoke and causes irritation to the inmates. If any member of your family is suffering from respiratory issues, you should take particular care of this aspect.