Keeping the fires burning during the cold season
BY MAGGIE CALLOWAY
There is nothing as comforting after a day in the trenches as a fire. There is probably some primitive part of our brain that equates the warmth of a fire with safety and comfort.
Whatever your personal choice or circumstances, there have never been such a variety of fireplaces available. Even if you live in a condominium, where it would be frowned upon if you started opening the walls to accommodate a chimney, there is now a great solution.
Ethanol burning fireplaces, which give off no heat but have a real flame look, don’t require venting or gas lines and are a great choice for condos and give real ambiance to your living space.
“Electric fireplaces have come a long way over the last few years,” says Dale Fougette of Fireplaces Unlimited. “They used to be a bit stiff and unrealistic but now they are sometimes mistaken for a gas fireplace in the showroom. You can now get an electric fireplace with a long linear look instead of the square box with the traditional log and you can just plug it in. There are also options; you can heat a condo or a basement suite when hard-wired to a higher voltage. Another advantage of an electric fireplace is they don’t have to be installed on a special surface, they are all pretty well zero clearances, they can be framed with wood and you can drywall right up to them. They are very safe.”
Gas fireplaces are becoming standard in most townhouses and condos and there is something to be said for just having to flick a switch instead of lighting a fire from scratch.
“There are also a lot of zero clearance gas fireplaces that can sit on combustible floors, not to be confused with gas inserts that have to be totally surrounded by non-combustible material,” says Fougette. “This is an example of why it is so important to advise us about which application you are planning.”
No matter what the style of your home there is a design that would work beautifully but what if you what you are looking for is not available?
“We do a lot of custom fireplaces both for commercial applications and homes,” says Fougette. “There is pretty well no limit to what we can design from multi-sided fireplaces to over-height installations. All shapes and sizes, pretty well whatever you can dream, it can be made for you.”