Add value to your home with the right choice of fireplace

Add value to your home with the right choice of fireplace

Private Property South Africa
Sarah-Jane Meyer

Fireplaces are more than a source of warmth - they’re an integral part of interior design that will improve your lifestyle and add value to your property.

According to local design experts, bold, linear, and modern are the hot trends for fireplaces this winter.

Some fireplace designs in vogue right now include:

• Frameless one-sided wood and gas linear fireplaces.

• Round and four-sided fireplaces can be viewed from all angles, creating a striking focal point in a modern setting.

• Vertical floor-to-ceiling fireplaces draw the eye upwards.

• Double-sided fireplaces divide two adjoining spaces seamlessly and heat both rooms.

• Three-sided fireplaces are useful for separating sections of a single room and can also be installed along a wall.

Heat output

Before looking at styles, it’s essential to determine the correct heat output needed for your space.

• A fireplace with a heat output that is too low won’t warm up the room properly.

• A fireplace that puts out too much heat means you will have to use the dampener to keep flames low. The fireplace won’t burn efficiently, which will cause soot build-up in the chimney.

Heat output is measured in kiloWatts (kW). The formula for determining the fireplace right for your space is:

• Height x length x width of room x 0.07 = x kW

Designs

Once you have determined the right size fireplace for your needs, it’s time to look for a style that suits your space and lifestyle.

• Open hearth fireplaces may look cosy and welcoming, but more than half the heat generated is lost up the chimney. Open fireplaces also use more fuel than closed combustion fireplaces. This makes them more expensive to run and less eco-friendly. An open fireplace is also more cumbersome to clean.

• If your home already has an existing hearth, you could consider installing an inset closed combustion fireplace in the space. This will improve efficiency and is far easier to clean.

• Wood-burning fireplaces are more expensive to install than open-hearth fireplaces. However, they quickly heat a room and usually pay for themselves in savings on electricity in a few years. Most wood-burning fireplaces can also burn coal, making them effective and efficient. Up to 80% of the heat generated by wood-burning fireplaces goes into warming a space, so they are easier on fuel and cleaner to run. They come in a variety of finishes including steel and cast iron and styles vary from traditional to modern to suit most interiors.

• Flueless gas fireplaces don’t need chimneys, so they can be installed wherever desired. A flueless gas fireplace creates a warm atmosphere with the dancing flames of a real fire, and when not in use is unobtrusive.

Central heating

A hydronic central heating system is an economic and environmental asset to your home that can help you save significantly on gas or electricity and total heating costs.

Regular fireplaces usually only heat a single room or adjoining spaces, whereas a hydronic fireplace can heat your entire home by converting some of the heat generated into hot water.

In a hydronic fireplace, the boiler heats water in a closed-loop system and hot water is pumped through wall-mounted radiators or underfloor heating to warm your home. Excess hot water is stored in a tank and can be used throughout your home in radiators, underfloor heating, domestic hot water and to heat the pool.

Safety

Whichever fireplace you decide on, you need to make sure that it is installed correctly and that all safety measures are in place to avoid accidental fires and injuries.

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