You can definitely add a fireplace anytime, but it’s really better if you plan ahead and build it in right from the start. The reason you can add them later is because now, they’re really normally not masonry fireplaces.
Naturally, if your fireplace is installed properly, it’s not going to endanger your new home or your family in any way. And when it comes to choosing a fireplace for your new house, here are two basic directions you can go:
* Wood-burning fireplace
* Gas-burning model
Two wood-burning types:
* Becoming rare – expensive to build
* Heavy – expensive to reinforce the foundation to support the weight of brick and mortar
* Foundation settles – cracks in chimney – sparks can get out into surrounding wood building materials
* Generally less energy efficient
Prefab Wood-burning Fireplace
* Very lightweight
* Easy to install in new or existing homes
Things to look for in a proper installation:
* Fire Block
* Made of oriented strand board, usually one-inch thick, depending on your local building codes.
* Flames are slowed from reaching the attic.
* Sheet Metal
* Helps stop fire if it makes it beyond the Fire Block
* Holds flue out away from the combustible materials, all the way up the firechase.
* Actually two pieces – one tube inside of another tube.
* First tube is where all the hot air is coming up out of your fireplace.
* Air pocket between first tube and second tube keeps it cool on the outside.
* No sparks can jump out of it.
The four-foot long sections of the flue fit together easily and form a tight seal. After connecting each section, you just raise the flue into the chimney. If you live in an area with high winds, the sections need to be attached with screws to keep gaps from forming and allowing flying embers to make their way out into the firechase.
* Setting the Fireplace
* Set 8" high cinder blocks to raise the unit off the floor.
* Plenty of room to add tile, brick or drywall.
* Zero-clearance fireplace – you can put building materials around the edges.
* Check for level & nail it in place.
* Flue Elbows
* If your fireplace and your firechase don't line up, you can use elbows to get the flue exactly where you need it.
* Add a couple of elbow joints, join the flue to the fireplace without compromising the home's design.
WOODBURNING ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Most fireplaces are not energy-efficient.
* They actually cool down your home every time you start a fire.
* Fire needs oxygen to burn, so it draws from out in the room.
* Air you've already paid to heat goes into the fireplace and right up the flue.
* All your energy dollars shoot right out the top of your house.
Eliminating the problem: Exterior air intake.
* Valve with a handle on the inside
* Tube goes to the exterior of your house
* Exterior air intake draws the cool air from outside your house into the fireplace to fuel the fire
* Air inside your house stays warm
* Much more energy efficient than drawing air from inside, like traditional fireplaces.
* Many are extremely energy efficient & can heat up to 1500 square feet
* New gas logs are very realistic looking
* Draws air from the room, sends it up the chimney
* Becoming very popular
* Don't require a chimney
* Flue can go directly out the back through an outside wall or straight up through a chase
* Double flue pipe serves two purposes
* Releases harmful burned gases into the outside
* Brings in fresh air for the fire to burn
* Latest development & controversial
* Burns air from the room, cleans it with a catalytic converter, then returns it to the room
* Prohibited in some cities & states
* Fireplace Finishing Touches
You can add ceramic tile, marble, brick or even stucco to finish out the hearth of your fireplace. You’ll also want to add some glass doors to protect your interior from sparks and embers, and they’ll also radiate heat while they keep the fireplace from drawing any air from the room. If you pay close attention while your fireplace is being installed, you can relax and enjoy a safe, energy-efficient fireplace for many winters to come.