For many people, living in a house with a central, beautiful fireplace would be a dream come true. They envision cozy winter evenings, huddled up with the family for a quiet night in. They imagine the soft crackle of a modest fire. And they have countless decorating ideas to make the mantel look astonishingly good.
Unfortunately, this line of daydreaming is often brought to a screeching halt when people realize that installing a fireplace is probably outside of their budget.
However, this realization may be misleading. The reality is, fireplaces are more affordable than most people think. How can this be the case?
The Many Types of Fireplaces
When you picture a fireplace, what do you see?
If you’re like most people, you probably picture an old-school type of traditional, wood burning fireplace, carved out of the living room wall and connected to a massive chimney. Immediately, you imagine the costs and difficulties of adding a chimney to your home and making major renovations.
While this vision is certainly a possibility in the modern era, it’s not the only option available.
The truth is, today’s fireplaces come in countless varieties.
- Fuel. Wood isn’t the only material you can use in an indoor fireplace. It’s the most traditional material, and it’s still very popular because of its unique additions to the fire building experience, but in many ways, it’s outclassed by other fuel types. Having a fireplace that uses electricity, propane, natural gas, or other types of fuel generally entitles you to higher safety, cleaner burning, and lower total fuel costs. These alternative types of fuel are also ideal if you live in an area that prohibits traditional fireplaces.
- Form. Fireplaces also come in many different forms. They can fit almost any conceivable area of your home and utilize whatever connections you have available; if you don’t have the perfect “traditional” spot in your living room, or if you don’t have a natural gas hookup, you don’t have to worry. There are countless options available to you, and many of them are inexpensive.
- ·Materials and style. You can also get fireplaces made from a wide range of different materials, and fireplaces of many different styles. If you’re willing to shop around, you can find materials and a style that fits your aesthetic without breaking your budget.
The Potential of Fireplace Inserts
We also need to acknowledge the potential of fireplace inserts. These are special types of devices that make use of old fireplace enclosures, introducing a new fire production element. It’s an easy way to convert an old fireplace to a new, electric fireplace (or something similar) – and it’s much cheaper than tackling a total renovation job.
Having a fireplace in the home also comes with some benefits that justify the cost. Namely, fireplaces generate heat. If you and your family sit around the fireplace most of the winter, you can benefit from this direct, inexpensive heat source – and turn the central heating down.
Easier Installation (for Some Fireplaces)
Modern fireplaces are much easier to install than their counterparts were in the past. Accordingly, we’ve seen a significant drop in the average installation costs of the fireplaces. This even holds true for traditional fireplace installation jobs that require significant renovations.
It’s possible to do the installation work yourself, especially if you have DIY experience already. However, for many homeowners, the better move is to work with professionals so you can mitigate potential safety hazards and make sure the job is done correctly.
Energy Efficiency Settings
Some fireplaces have energy efficiency settings that allow them to use less energy while still serving your goals. Obviously, this isn’t available for traditional wood-burning fireplaces, but if you’re interested in electricity or natural gas, this setting could save you significant money.
Minimal Maintenance Needs
Keeping a traditional fireplace clean and functional still takes a lot of work. But if you’re willing to invest in a natural gas or electric fireplace, you should know that maintenance requirements drop precipitously. You won’t have to clean or repair these types of fireplaces nearly as often.
The Home Value Effect
Fireplaces also typically have a respectable return on investment (ROI) for your home value. If you spend several thousand dollars on a new fireplace, it will probably increase the value of your home by several hundred to a few thousand dollars, ultimately making up for a significant portion of your purchase.
Fireplaces range from surprisingly cheap to exorbitantly expensive, and they come in so many varieties that nearly any homeowner can find what they’re looking for. If you’ve always dreamt of having a fireplace, you need to stop dismissing this dream just because you believe you can’t afford one. Shop around and see what you find; you might be able to find something perfect and in your budget.