Erin Doman on October 21, 2015 9 Comments When considering ways to remodel a home, many people consider adding or restoring an indoor fireplace. They do so much more than merely heat up a room; fireplaces change the feel of a room as well, making it more romantic and cozy. There are several different types of indoor fireplaces you can purchase, but they basically fall into the broad categories of wood burning, gas burning, ethanol burning or electric. Here is some fireplace information for you to consider while you’re making your decision. Wood Burning Fireplaces A traditional wood burning hearth is what most people think of when they picture a fireplace in their head. There’s nothing quite as romantic as the snapping and crackling of a roaring fire. These days, however, there are a number of options for you in this category, and they can differ in terms of how easy they are to install, how much heat they give off and how cost-efficient they will be for you to operate. 1. Traditional Open Hearth These are the types of fireplaces that have existed for centuries. Typically made of stone or brick, when you are close to them, you can really feel the heat, smell the wood burning and hear it crackling away. They feel the most authentic, however, they often are not as effective at heating the room as some of the more modern varieties. Also, if you do not already have a fireplace in your home, it will require a fair amount of construction work to put in both the opening itself and the chimney for proper venting. 2. Enclosed Fireplaces Rather than being open, these indoor fireplaces are enclosed. Traditionally, this type of fireplace features a large glass panel enabling you to enjoy the ambiance of fire as it burns. This design is such that you have less heat escaping up the chimney and more entering the room so you stay warmer while still having the cozy feel of a wood burning fire. 3. Fireplace Inserts These are inserts that are made to fit into your existing fireplace simply by sliding it into the opening. They are enclosed, enabling you to easily turn an inefficient open hearth heating system into one that is more fuel efficient and effective. 4. Wood Burning Stoves Although not technically a fireplace, wood burning stoves are an alternative that allows you to burn wood for heating without needing a fireplace. It will, however, require a pipe to vent the smoke through a chimney to the outside. Gas Burning Fireplaces Although they may not offer the same feel as wood burning versions, fireplaces that use gas burn more cleanly and typically create more heat for a lower cost. They can also require less construction or reconstruction to install, making them an attractive alternative to traditional wood-burning indoor fireplaces. 5. Direct-Vented Built-in Fireplaces The direct-vented variety can be vented through an existing or newly constructed chimney, however, you can alternatively use a pipe so that less changes in the house’s structure are necessary and it can be installed in any room. The flame is yellow so it has more of the feel of a wood burning fireplace. 6. Ventless Built-in Fireplaces Ventless built-in indoor fireplaces are the simplest to install as there is no need for a chimney or vent. With this type, the flame color is the blue typically associated with burning gas. Although every effort is made to keep them clean burning, it is possible that some contaminants will enter your home with the use of a ventless built-in fireplace. Ethanol Burning Fireplaces Fireplaces that burn ethanol have become the current trend for their ease in installation as well as their contemporary design. You can find a design to fit in well with any decor or budget. They are clean and odorless and, perhaps best of all, they require minimal installation, if any. Note that they will probably not create as much heat as a gas or enclosed wood burning fireplace, but they are more environmentally friendly. 7. Fireplace Conversion If you have an existing fireplace, you can get an ethanol burning insert that will slide right in, making use of the space and the current aesthetics. There are different options available depending on whether you want something that is more traditional looking or if you want to upgrade it to have a bit of a more modern appearance. 8. Wall Mounted Fireplaces With this style, you can actually hang your fireplace on any wall that you choose, making it double as both a heating source and a piece of art. It’s the perfect alternative to a television for the centerpiece of a room. 9. Tabletop Fireplaces These come in different sizes, enabling you to make use of them in a variety of settings. They are easily portable, especially the smaller models, so you can take them from one room to another or move them if you need to use the table or other piece of furniture for a different purpose. Electric Fireplaces Electric fireplaces are the cost effective option out of all of the types of fireplaces on the market. As an added bonus, electric fireplaces are relatively easy to install. Another added benefit of electric fireplaces is that most of them enable you to turn the heating function on or off while maintaining a fireplace-like ambiance. Most electric fireplaces include a remote-controlled heater and some even have different varieties of fire effects, which allows total user customization. 10. Mantel Electric Fireplaces Mantel electric fireplaces are meant to mimic a built-in wood-burning fireplace, but they do not require any venting or chimney access. This allows you to incorporate the elegance and tradition of a mantel fireplace in any room of your house without a lot of hassle or expense. 11. Electric Fireplace TV Stands & Entertainment Centers Some media furniture comes equipped with an electric fireplace. This allows you to combine two important pieces of furniture. Electric fireplace entertainment centers are beneficial for people who live in smaller homes or apartments. Design Your Own Fireplace It is easy to design your own fireplace to fit your needs. In fact, there are ethanol burners or electric fireplace inserts that come in a variety of shapes and sizes so that you can purchase them–as well as the other parts needed, such as gratings and enclosures–and build your own to fit your design scheme perfectly. In this way, you can create your own fireplace of any size–even make one the length of an entire wall. You can fit them into a column or other design feature, or create a pedestal for them. There’s no end to how they can be incorporated into your home. The only limit is your own imagination. As with any home improvement, it is a good idea to take a moment to think about exactly what you are trying to achieve with your indoor fireplace. Consider the structure that you already have, the amount of heating that you want to achieve and, of course, the design of your home. It’s also smart to keep in mind the reality of what using this new indoor fireplace will mean. For example, using a wood burning fireplace or stove will require keeping wood on hand which then necessitates having a place to store it. With all these things considered, you can then use these tips about indoor fireplaces to help you focus your home improvement efforts.