Since human beings first harnessed fire, the hearth has been a symbol of comfort and safety. Our ancient ancestors gathered around a fire where they cooked food and likely told stories and laughed. Hearths and fireplaces have been a common feature of homes until only recently. So if you’re thinking about building a new custom home, you might have considered whether or not to include a fireplace in your design. But beyond the romantic notions, is it really worth it?
There are many things that make having a fireplace worthwhile. The most obvious one is the romantic setting of a cozy fire. A fire offers a kind of cozy warmth that can’t be duplicated with any heating appliance, and it uses no electricity. Because it will heat a home without using any electricity, many people are turning to them to cut energy costs or even for energy independence.
However, one of the problems with a fireplace is that people wind up not using them. Sure, the idea of the fireplace is great; but the reality is that a fireplace takes a lot of work. A wood-burning fireplace requires wood to burn, which requires a lot of preparation. In addition, burning wood creates smoke and soot, and that can be quite messy. Because you need to keep the damper open to let the smoke out through the chimney, it will often pull heat out of the house, which can sometimes make it even colder inside instead of warmer.
On the other hand, a gas fireplace does not produce the mess of a wood-burning option, and does not require so much cleaning. However, if you do not have a natural gas line going to your house, you will need to use propane gas, and the tank to store propane will have to be kept somewhere nearby. Some people choose to bury the propane tank or hide it with landscaping.
Finally, an electric fireplace is an easy solution to the problems of a wood-burning or gas, but it is definitely not energy efficient, and you will probably wind up paying more for what is essentially a glorified room heater. Nevertheless, an electric fireplace adds much better ambiance and the old romantic atmosphere from humanity’s deep past.
In Southwest Florida, there are usually only a few days out of the year that the weather gets cold enough to warrant a fireplace, but the old romance of having a fireplace is a really cool feature. If you’re working on designing your new custom home, be sure to consider whether or not you want a fireplace in your home. Be sure to consider whether you would actually use it, and if it would still have the same effect if left unused. If you have any questions at all about building your new custom home, be sure to stop by Harden Custom Homes at 2818 Tropicana Pkwy W., Cape Coral, FL, 33993, or call us at (239) 205-5075.