A fireplace remains the most popular choice and adds significantly to the value of any home. Most fireplaces are no longer the traditional brick and mortar, but are engineered and pre-built by major manufactures. More than seventy-five percent (over a half million each year) of all fireplaces installed each year are factory-built and shipped to the construction site.
A factory-built fireplace is actually a firebox enclosed within a steel cabinet. A blanket of insulating air keeps the outer wall cool, land spacers surrounding the cabinet allow it to be installed in close proximity to the wood framing (hence the name "zero-clearance fireplace"). They pass rigorous testing standards established by Underwriters Laboratories and the American Gas Association and have an excellent safely record.
Factory-built fireplaces are surprisingly inexpensive. They use a safe, lightweight chimney and do not need any additional footing or other structural support.
Because they have fewer limitations than site-built masonry fireplaces, they can be easily and safely installed in almost any room. Factory-built fireplaces are available in a range of sizes, and can be open on one,m two ("see-though" and corner models), three ("peninsula") sides or four sides ("oasis"). Brick, stone, marble and other facing materials can be combined with your choice of mantels to sit your decor.
Fireplaces not only burn wood, but many now burn natural gas or propane. There are even new electric models that offer amazing realism. Many open fireplaces are decorative in nature and are designed for aesthetics rather than efficiency. However, there are gas models available that have the same efficiency rating as central furnaces, as well as efficient, nonpolluting EPA certified wood-burning fireplaces. These have a broad range of heating capacities; some even offer ducting and heat systems that make it possible to heat a substantial portion of your house
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