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By Chiara Bleich. Fireplace. Published at Wednesday, September 26th, 2018 - 00:26:58 AM.

There is no doubt that there is a great deal of joy to be had from an open fire, especially on a cold winter’s day, and nothing quite adds as much character to a room as a beautiful open fireplace. An open fire gives us the kind of primeval comfort that our ancestors probably felt while enjoying the crackling of a burning logs and the scent of wood smoke. There is an unmistakable quiet pleasure to be gained from watching soft flickering flames dancing in an open grate. While there are a lot of obvious advantages of using a wood burning stove there is nothing to touch the charisma of an open fireplace in your home. It not only adds tangible warmth to a room but it also serves as a focal point, especially in the country home where there is more likely to be natural fuel easily to hand.

Alternatively you can use veneer stones which are in fact real stones but thinner and therefore easy to work with. They give your fireplace the look of real stone but will save you money since they are much cheaper. One important point to consider when installing a heavy stone fireplace; do make sure that you have a strong ground floor which can support the weight of the structure. If you have any doubts, have a professional surveyor check it out before you start building. You may just need to reinforce the floor to support the weight of your new fireplace. More and more frequently I have clients who want me to custom build outdoor fireplaces in their backyards. Especially in this economy as homeowners maximize their property investment by taking "staycations" the backyard is becoming an oasis of outdoor enjoyment. Fireplaces have traditionally been thought of as wood burning but more and more homeowners are using gas logs as a beautiful and simple alternative to the wood burning fireplace.

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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