Fireplace installation isn’t as common in new home construction as they once were. However, the aesthetic appeal of a fireplace as well as as source of winter warmth holds an attraction for many. As a result, adding a fireplace is still a popular option with homeowners. To decide whether adding a fireplace is a good choice for your home, it’s necessary to consider a few important factors before you commit to the project. Here are some issues you’ll need to clarify first.
- Is the project feasible? Building codes may impose restrictions that make the addition problematic or prohibitively expensive. The height of the chimney may be strictly regulated and other details such as the firebox and flue may not fit your home’s existing construction. Further, local regulations may curtail the amount of smoke you’re allowed to emit.
- What about costs? Whether you choose a wood-burning or natural gas fireplace, the initial price will include the wood-burning firebox or factory-built gas/propane unit. The cost of adapting the existing structure for addition of a chimney, then framing and installing the chimney, as well as adding an interior mantle pushes the total much higher. You can cut that cost by opting for a fireplace that vents horizontally through the wall—known as direct venting—eliminating the expense of chimney installation.
- Does it add value? Some of your fireplace installation investment may be recouped via a higher property value. Although fireplaces are less often included in new construction, surveys show that a substantial majority of prospective home buyers still consider a fireplace to be a market value enhancement. However, other priorities today typically inspire higher market value than a fireplace.
- Will it reduce energy efficiency? To feed combustion, a roaring fire actually pulls warm indoor air out of the home, then sends the heat up the chimney, often increasing heating energy use. Costly thermal loss can be nearly eliminated, however, by installing a sealed unit that utilizes outdoor air for combustion as well as direct venting instead of a chimney.
For more about the pros and cons of adding a fireplace, contact Apollo Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Plumbing.