By Chiara Bleich. Fireplace. Published at Monday, September 24th, 2018 - 00:11:15 AM.
Wood burning fireplaces can become complex even when we are building outside. The atmosphere created around a wood burning fireplace is comforting, calming. The crackling and popping of the wood and the smell that permeates the entire yard adds enjoyment to the functional heater. However, building a custom fireplace can become expensive and complicated. In addition to the firebox and the mantle that we devise as the custom plan, a flue and chimney must be built up through the roof and terminated above the roof line. For many homeowners we have worked with, the expense of cutting through a roof, plus the associated laws and inspections attached to resealing a roof and the expense of building a chimney places the project outside an acceptable budget.
Stone materials vary enormously in colour and composition; whether you opt for limestone, granite, marble, cast stone, slate or even a thin stone veneer each have their own unique look and feel. Of all the stone materials, marble is probably the most expensive and difficult to maintain but if you are after a sumptuous elegant look in your living room, it can be the perfect choice. On the other hand if you don’t want to spend huge amounts of money there is always the cheaper alternative of man-made marble. Limestone can be very captivating if you select a neutral colour that will complement almost any interior design while granite, though not so soft, is also a good choice because it needs very little maintenance.
Ventless gas logs are designed to be used indoors and have several safety features that make them safe inside your home. Manufacturers of ventless gas logs have a limit to the amount of BTU’s burned which limits the size of most unvented gas log burners to 30". The size of a firebox that would comfortably hold a 30" gas burner is 42" to 48" which is still a large fireplace. A standing pilot assembly stays lit and heat is tracked with a thermocouple. If the flames go out for any reason, the thermocouple cools and gas stops at the valve. Oxygen depletion sensors are also attached to the gas valve to ensure the flames do not burn up so much oxygen in the house that unsafe conditions are created.
The benefit to a ventless gas log fireplace outdoors is convenience and cost. The process of building proper ventilation and a chimney can often double the expense of custom fireplaces indoors or outside. Convenience is the ability to create a perfect flame pattern as easily as turning on a barbeque grill. Many gas log fireplaces have complex valve options that allow variable remote controls that alter flame height, on/off remotes, wall switches and thermostatic controllers that turn the fireplace on and off based on the temperature read at the thermostat. I do not recommend any of these valves in your backyard. A manual safety pilot kit has a standing pilot light that stays on always. As long as the pilot is burning, the fireplace can be controlled with a simple control knob. A couple of decorative ceramic pinecones or wood chunks hide the controls. Remotes, wall switches, thermostatic controls and other valves use batteries. Even a gas log fireplace that is under an overhang will be affected by moisture in the air. Here in Florida where humidity is tremendous, a battery operated valve will corrode within a year in most backyards.
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