A Fireplace Addition to Warm the Winter Soul
It’s almost that time of year. That’s right, winter. The leaves are falling, the night air is getting chilly and comforting thoughts revolve around crackling fireplaces and cozy blankets. Not only does sitting in front of the fireplace sound romantic – it sounds relaxing! Unfortunately, we may not all be lucky enough to have that fireplace setting the mood with it’s warm light. Is it worth the cost to have one installed? How difficult is it to make this dream a reality? Let’s take a look at some options to see if you warm up to a new fireplace addition.
A wood fireplace is the most genuine of all fireplaces. You get the sound of wood burning on top of a subtle heat from the fire. However there are some strict regulations around adding a wood burning system into your home. Because of this, the cost of the chimney and the unit will be higher, you’ll need permits for the install, and you may need to make changes to your home insurance. A wood burning fireplace addition quickly becomes the most expensive, upwards of $5,000.
The most common fireplace additions being installed today are gas and electric. They carry the least amount of risk as there’s no chance of smoke damaging your space and no need for fuel (wood) storage. Yet wood burning fireplaces are still an option. The Advanced Technology Fireplace is energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Talk to your contractor about options and additional features to make sure you get the most from this high-end installation.
Read more about Fireplace and Wood Heating from the Government of Canada here.
These are very common on Vancouver Island as many homes are already using radiant electric heat with baseboards. What’s even more attractive is the ease of install and the cost of the unit. That makes an electric fireplace addition your least expensive option. Provided you’re looking for more than just ambiance, try to find a unit that has a blower. This will help distribute the hot air rather than relying on the radiant heat.
The biggest disadvantage of an electric fireplace is the monthly bill. Hydro BC rates are fairly steep resulting in potentially higher costs every month. If you’re concerned about how much energy you’re using with the fireplace you could have home energy monitor CT’s put on your panel. Some of these system have interfaces that show you your current usage so your bills are never a surprise.
Do you have natural gas at your home already? Then this is the option for you! Unlike the electric fireplace where you could possibly connect on your own, a gas fireplace requires a pipe-fitter to install. The installation is a straightforward process so the majority of your costs will be based on where you want the fireplace, and what kind of surround you choose. For example stone work for the mantle will require a bigger budget than just cutting into drywall for a flush mount finish.
Consider that a fireplace addition will also act as space heating. With this in mind, you can reduce the heating load of your home by keeping rooms that are seldom used at a lower temperature. When the fireplace is going you can turn down the heat in that room as well. Considering the monthly costs to run the fireplace, this would actually decrease your monthly utility bill. If you already have gas, you know that it’s about 1/3 of the cost of electricity. As a result, enjoying your new fireplace isn’t going break the bank! The price of gas coupled with the efficiency of the units make this fireplace addition a no-brainer.
You may want to familiarize yourself with local building codes for your new fireplace. These codes will determine heights and materials to be used and may influence the style of mantle and surround. Don’t forget that whether you want an upper or lower mantle, it will change the overall look of your room. With so many different textiles, textures and colours available for your fireplace addition, it might be difficult to make a decision! Discussing your vision with a contractor will help keep your ideas realistic and stay within your budget.
Ultimately, you’ll want to determine what type of fireplace you want installed, wood, electric or gas. Then determine what height you’d like to have the fireplace – for gas and electric units. Once you determine the surround materials and finalize the project you’ll just need to adjust your monthly budget for fuel as required.
Does this sound like the perfect fall project for you home? If you’d like to book your free consultation, send us a message. We’ve been helping homeowners on Vancouver Island for almost 20 years and would love to hear about your next project.