Fireplaces are found in many South African homes and nothing warms the heart or hearth like a wood fire… The ambience and aesthetic value, truly make it a special part of your home. To decide what kind of fireplace is best for your needs and how to get the most out of it requires a bit of research. Read on to get some timely fireplace tips.
Fireplaces are found in many South African homes, especially away from the coast. Fireplaces are a cost effective way to heat your home during winter and who doesn’t love a traditional fire warming the house?
What are the options?
Gas delivers more heat at a lower cost than wood. Gas fires also burn very clean and require less cleaning and maintenance. Gas fireplaces typically need less installation work and less overall cost.
Electric fireplaces are probably not the best option for South Africa as we have an unpredictable electricity supply and the cost of electricity is high. Also we mostly burn coal to make electricity so wood or gas are better options from an environmental perspective.
Wood fireplaces are the most popular but also require access to good wood and regular maintenance of the fireplace and chimney. Regular maintenance will keep your fireplace heating the home effectively.
Anthracite and coal fireplaces are very effective although the fuel can be expensive.
The material around your fireplace can have a great impact on how much heat is retained, where the heat is focused and how much heat is needed to warm a space. Choosing the position of your fireplace and the construction materials used to build it wisely; will mean getting more warmth for less spend.
A fireplace expert or experienced builder is your best bet.
Remember that the safety of your home and family could be at risk from a poorly planned or badly installed fireplace.
Always use a professional to get the best results.
Another pro tip is that a well insulated home will need less heating to keep it nice and warm.
Tabletop fireplaces are a recent trend, they are usually portable so they can be moved to where they are needed. They also do not require expensive installation and can be taken with if you move- making them a great option for renters. Tabletop fires have to be used with care, ceiling hangings, light fittings and curtains need to considered when positioning one- a fire that is too large could damage the ceiling or could cause the house to catch on fire.
Burn dried hardwoods, Green wood and softwoods give less heat, produce more smoke and cause more resin build up in fireplaces.
Get your fireplace inspected by a professional and cleaned if needed. Build ups of soot and creosote can cause problems if not attended to regularly.