Things to Consider When Adding a Fireplace to Your Basement


CALGARY – LIVING – If you are considering renovating your basement, a fireplace might be a great way to decrease your energy costs and add something cozy to your home. Though your basement might be lacking in outdoor light, that can be made up by the glow of a fireplace, especially on a cold winter’s day. Before you start to build the fireplace, however, there are a few things that you have to take into consideration to choose the right one for you and your family.

What are your choices? There are a vast number of fireplace choices for your basement. You can choose from a wood-burning fireplace, one that burns wood pellets, prefabricated or gas powered.

Although most homeowners enjoy the natural look of a wood burning masonry fireplace and hearth, the gas log option and prefabricated basement fireplaces can cost as much as eighty percent less than the masonry option, and, if you choose a traditional looking one, you won’t end up losing a lot of the ambiance you crave.


Prefabricated fireplace

If you are looking at a prefabricated fireplace insert, then you have to figure out what type, size and style you are looking for. A prefabricated fireplace will have something called a British thermal unit (BTU). The middle-range BTUs of a prefabricated fireplace is typically anywhere from 25,000 to 35,000 with some give on either end. Depending on the size of your renovation, you will want to get the appropriate BTU output to make your basement energy efficient. If you get a fireplace with too few BTUs, it won’t be able to heat the space. If you get one with too many BUTs, you’ll be paying for energy you don’t need.

If you do choose a prefabricated fireplace, you might not need a chimney, but you will need a direct vent to blow outside. The advantages of a prefabricated fireplace are that they are highly efficient, they require less maintenance than a wood burning alternative, and they require a whole lot less space for installation.

Basement fireplace safety

One of the most important safety concerns you will need to address when you put a fireplace in the basement is safety. No matter what type of fireplace you choose, you will have to have the right type of ventilation system to remove smoke and carbon dioxide and to deposit it outside. Thanks to new technology, you don’t necessarily need a chimney, but the fireplace will have to have a direct vent system.

A fireplace that has a direct vent will not pull from the air inside your home, which is a good thing for a basement space. It will give your fireplace room to breathe properly. All the way around, prefab fireplaces are an excellent choice to maintain the quality of air for your basement renovation space.

Gas fireplace

There are a lot of people who enjoy a traditional wood burning fireplace. But, when you are considering a basement space, a gas log alternative might be a great choice without losing the aesthetics that you crave. Not having to lug wood down the stairs is a big advantage, as is not having to clean out the fireplace and deposit the ashes.

If you choose a traditional wood burning fireplace

If you do go with the wood burning option, make sure that you use the flue properly and that you take the time to have the chimney cleaned and maintained. Since the basement is a smaller and more confined space, you will want to make sure that there isn’t any risk of build-up that can lead to a chimney fire, especially if there are rooms in the basement that are more difficult to escape from.

If you are redoing your basement and considering a fireplace, installing one does have a lot of advantages. If you take into consideration the combined aesthetic appeal and energy efficiency, you might decide that a fireplace is an excellent addition.

If you choose a prefabricated fireplace, ventilation is simple, and the amount of energy it puts out will have your basement running with very little additional energy costs to your budget. The first place when deciding if a fireplace is right for you is to weigh the pros and cons of all of your fireplace choices and find the safest, least complicated alternative that also fits your individual decor taste.


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