You might wish to install a fireplace for one of three reasons: heating for the pleasure of it, to animate an evening between friends, for example; for additional heating to accompany the main heating; or as the main heating unit.
When it comes to which surfaces to heat, it is important to consider certain parameters, including insulation, altitude, region, glazing and flooring. Calculating the power for the surface to be heated is the same as for a wood stove: 1 kW of power for 10m² of surface.
Bespoke Fireplace Designs gas fireplace
If you choose to install a fireplace for the simple pleasure of it, choose a hearth that offers a nice view of the fire. A glass model, for example, will allow you and your guests to be in direct contact with the fire. In this case, the need for a strong fire that provides large spatial heat is less important.
As for using the fireplace for additional heating, you’ll most likely want to use wood as fuel because it’s the least expensive fuel on the market. However, other options exist if the economic side of choosing a fireplace isn’t your first concern—as you will probably only use the fireplace throughout the winter season.
When selecting a fireplace as the main heating unit for a room, consider value for money. As noted earlier, wood is the least expensive fuel on the market. In the case of a power failure, as a wood-based fireplace doesn’t require electricity, the fire will continue burning.
Whatever your reason for selecting a fireplace, it will never act as a central heating unit and will not distribute heat to all the rooms in a building. A fire also demands attention. It takes time to handle the wood, store the logs and feed the fire regularly.
Focus wood-burning fireplace
On the other hand, the essence of wood smells better than fuel oil, and nobody will dispute that a dinner in tête-à-tête is more romantic around a chimney than in front of a boiler. We suggest you discuss your decision to use a fireplace as the main heating unit with your architect or contractor in parallel with a wood heating professional who is familiar with the current regulations and will achieve the proper thermal balance. Regulations change frequently enough, and differ depending on the country, and professionals will be up-to-date.
In 2018, in Montreal, for example, new rules banned wood-burning fireplaces and stoves that emit more than 2.5 grams of fine particles per hour. In the U.K., the burning of fuels such as wood and coal in open fires and domestic stoves are said to contribute to particulate pollution—so we can imagine the regulations here. Across the ocean, some New Yorkers consider the fireplace to be inefficient and polluting; although the smoke from the fire smells nice, they say, it can cause inflammation and illness, crossing into the bloodstream and triggering heart attacks or other conditions. Most fireplaces, though, are used far too infrequently to cause any real damage to the environment or health.