If you have been looking for fireplaces to put in your home, you will see that there are a great number of different makes and models. You will also notice that they can use different types of fuel as well. Because the kind of fuel influences what the fireplace needs for proper installation, you may find that some are not suitable for certain living spaces. Picking the right one goes far beyond simply finding a style of mantle that you like.

Fireplaces can be divided into two groups: those that require external venting and those that do not. Fireplaces that need external venting include wood burning and natural gas fireplaces. Units that do not require a flue are ones powered by electricity and ethanol.

If you are looking at any fireplace, you need to research them carefully before making your decision. Some units, such as natural gas, ethanol and wood fireplaces require installation by a qualified professional and may also require special routine maintenance. This will keep them operating at peak efficiency and can keep you safer, as well as ensuring that they use the minimum amount of fuel necessary to keep you as warm as you want.

Wood burning fireplaces are the most traditional. This is because wood has been used as fuel for thousands of years. Many older homes have fireplaces installed already, but you need to make sure that they are functional and in good working condition. Many fireplaces in older homes were blocked off to keep heat from escaping and if you assume they will allow smoke and heat to escape properly you may have a problem on your hands. A wood burning fireplace needs access to fresh air to give the oxygen needed to feed the fire. A flue which is built into the fireplace provides that source of fresh air. You need to routinely check to make sure the flue is not blocked and that creosote, a flammable substance, has not built up on the inside of the chimney.

Natural gas fireplaces are also very popular. They are normally completely glassed in at the front and the heat is emitted through grating around the fireplace. Many wood burning fireplaces have been converted using a natural gas insert. They can be wonderful but you need to make sure that the proper chimney liners have been used because of the difference in temperature between a wood fire and a natural gas one. You also need to make sure that there is a source of fresh air to allow carbon monoxide to escape. Natural gas fireplaces are convenient because they can be turned on and off by means of a control which makes them very easy to operate. The hook up and venting will need to be done by an experienced installer however, and this can make them more expensive.

Of the two ventless fireplaces, many people are beginning to prefer bio fuel units. These burn ethanol as a fuel source and this makes them very warm and efficient. Unlike wood and natural gas, they do not emit harmful chemicals which make them appealing to many apartment dwellers who do not have access to an exterior wall. However, they will require some construction since they need a fireproof burning chamber to burn the ethanol. This may make them unsuitable for some buildings.

An electric fireplace may be the solution if you want the look of a fireplace but are unable to do any construction. They are simply a heating unit which is constructed to look like a fireplace. This is set against the wall and is plugged into an electrical outlet. They can be flat wall models or corner models depending on your preference. Since minimal wall preparation is needed they are often able to be installed by the homeowner or apartment dweller and do not need professional installation. Newer models are much more efficient and attractive than the first electric fireplaces. This has caused the electric fireplaces to become a lot more popular.

If you want a fireplace, you should think about which model will suit you best. If you are able to build into a wall, consider a wood, natural gas or ethanol fireplace. If you are unable or unwilling to do so, electric models are attractive and effective alternatives.

Author's Bio: 

Annie is an expert furniture and interior design writer. Her current area of specialism is children's bedding, desks and christmas