There is nothing quite like a fire in the fireplace to stir the soul and warm the heart. Contrary to what you might think, you do not need a professional mason or a large investment to add a fireplace to your home. There are however, several different types of fireplaces to choose from. Factory-built or zero clearance fireplaces, high efficiency units, clean burning open fireplaces, and brick or stone masonry units.
Factory-built fireplaces are pre-constructed and ready to be framed into virtually any room in your home. Basically, factory-built (commonly referred to as "zero-clearance") fireplaces are metal fireboxes with an insulated cabinet built around them. Spacers allow them to be installed against wooden framing materials and on combustible floors. A metal chimney attaches to the top of the unit and runs to the top of the building.
High efficiency wood burning fireplaces heat like a stove, and are installed like a pre-fab fireplace. They have gasketed doors, controlled combustion air, and allow the option of dumping extra heat into other nearby rooms. The fireboxes are smaller than a conventional fireplace but will provide 75% heating efficiency compared to about 12% with an open fireplace. Many options are available with these types of units including face / surround options, blowers, door design, and more.
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