Obviously, fireplaces create heat and warmth for your home, but a fireplace is more than just a wood burning furnace, there is something appealing in the sight and feel of a fire that create a sort of mental warmth and ambience that can’t be duplicated. Fireplace racks and accessories can fine tune this ambience, or even improve on the heating performace and safety.
A mantel or chimney-piece can enhance or detract form your rooms design. Consider all the styles and designs. Here is an item that can be elaborately intricate, artistic or understated and functional. More than just a protruding shelf, a well chosen mantel and surround can affect the overal appearance of the fireplace and room. Mantels can be made of many elements like wood, stone, and marble. Updating your mantel can really give a fireplace a fresh look.
A fireplace screen or spark screen is a neccessary safety item. Yet they can be quite decorative. The screen is needed to keep the poping sparks and embers from flying out of the fireplace. Screens cna get worn looking with age and a fresh screen can be a quick and easy way to improve the look of your hearth. Explore the different style of fireplace screens; curtain and freestanding designs to see what works best for your environment.
Handling the Fire and Ash
If you are burning wood, a fireplace poker (or stoker) can be invaluable in keeping the fire maintained. This tool is used to push, pull and poke in the fire without burning your hands. Embers can be stirred up, logs rearranged and burning items can be handled without fear of blisters. Functionality is important, but style can be considered as well with such items as fancy brass pokers. Also matching spade, tongs, and broom can complete your fire iron set and make maintaing and cleaning your hearth easier.
Fireplace inserts made to burn wood, pellets or gas can further refine the look and performance of your fireplace. A well designed insert will allow for more heating with less fuel, while incorporating different style to complete your room design. Inserts can be a great investment in heating efficiency as well as the look of the room.
There is debate over the efficiency of grate heaters. They basically insert a heat exchanger near the fire and blow air in and then back out into the room. The argument is that they rob so much heat from the fire that the fire does not burn effectively and overall heat production is reduced.
It is argued that glass doors are one of the best hearth investments. If combined with an external air supply they allow full radiant heat while stopping room heat loss when the fireplace is not burning. Even with a damper closed, there is air and heat going up a chimney.
This is just a partial list, but you can see how taking another look at your fireplace and accessories could yield savings in energy and a more beautiful hearth.