Fireplaces, in the recent past more for looks than for practical purposes, are coming into their own again as a source of home heating, according to some industry experts. “In the past, many fireplaces were just for looks,” says Zach of Embers. “With more people looking for more efficient ways to heat their homes, fireplaces are becoming more efficient. From gas to wood and now pellets, a fireplace can really heat a home instead of sucking heat out.”
Patrick Murphy with Dale Incorporated reports seeing a trend to have a wood burning fireplace in the living room and a gas fireplace in other rooms such as a study, bedroom, etc.”
And no matter the expense of including a fireplace in a newly constructed home, the demand for them has remained steady since the 1970s, according to a national survey. While there has been a very slight decline in the number of new homes that feature one or more fireplaces, overall demand remains strong.
Murphy says that direct vent fireplaces are getting larger to match the already large wood burning custom boxes that are available, while a more modern look is showing up in the trim styles available today.
“No matter what type of fireplace is chosen,” says Jennifer Wilson of Centurion Stone, “the look of the fireplace is as big a designs decision as any other. Centurion Stone products come in a variety of patterns and colors to meet any design need, whether elegant or rustic.”
Zach reports that non-vented fireplaces are slowing declining in favor as homeowners look for more clean burning fireplaces. “Every fireplace you add will add value to your home,” he says, “whether its one or seven, as in a job we recently completed. Fireplaces now come in more shapes and sizes than ever. Long horizontal fireplaces, circular fireplaces, arched, and vertical fireplaces are all available. And while fireplaces are definitely more efficient than ever.
“Fireplaces with logs are still most popular, but fireplaces with glass beads are really gaining in popularity with a lot more options on the market,” he says.
There is even a Limited Swarovski Edition unit available from Napoleon Fireplaces that offers an ember bed filled with authentic Swarovski crystals that glisten in the flames. It features an innovative “necklace” tray design that keeps the crystals in perfect display arrangement. The Swarovski logo is finely etched into the fireplace glass and the unit comes with a certificate of authenticity.
The recently approved tax credit available for efficient fireplaces has brought pellet-burning units, efficient wood-burning units, and similar units to the forefront for many shopping for fireplaces today.
Under the 2009 Economic Stimulus legislation, U.S. homeowners who purchase a 75-percent efficient biomass (wood or pellet) burning stove, fireplace, or fireplace insert and place it into service in their home during 2009 or 2010 can receive a 30 percent tax credit for costs incurred, up to $1,500. The Federal Government recently released clarifying guidelines for qualifying biomass products. Products include EPA-certified wood stoves, fireplaces and inserts, as well as pellet stoves, fireplaces, inserts, furnaces and boilers.
The trend toward adding fireplaces outdoors is growing, according to Murphy. “Outdoor fireplaces provide a new gathering place for family and friends, providing a focal point as more homeowners expand their living area to include outdoor spaces.
According to Clay Hair of FLC, Inc., homeowners want more options in free-standing and stand-alone fireplaces outdoors. “The trend seems to have swung in favor of gas fireplaces because of the convenience factor and, in some cases, local codes and regulations. However, we have a large clientele that wants the smell and sound of burning wood.”
Reporting that an outdoor fireplace can significantly change a space’s ambiance, Hair says, “Whether it’s a traditional fireplace or not, fireplace design options are numerous. People are buying accessories for their outdoor fireplaces just as they would indoors.”
As the mercury rises there’s absolutely no reason not to take the party outside and under the stars. The flames dance that much higher in the open air and the crackle of wood burning can give the crickets a run for the money.
There are a number of sources for fireplaces in the Greater Nashville area including:
Tennessee Valley Fireplace