Fireplaces can be a wonderful focal point, or in some areas, a needed source of warmth. If you are remodeling a home or considering a custom build. Think about getting your stove up off the floor by raising it up 12 to 18” for a better view from your sofa or bear skin rug. In production housing we typically see tile or a slab on the floor with the fireplace at the same level. But what if you simply framed the stove in a little higher than floor level and then built a raised hearth? I prefer the better line of site when in use and it creates a nice sitting spot when not in use.
Depending on your heating circumstances or intent for a wood or even gas burner, consider ducting the convection heat to the rest of the house with proper ducting and inline booster fans connected to a switch with a snap disc. Modern wood burners are extremely efficient, and most can be purchased with a blower already installed in the unit. They efficiently pull cold air from the vents below the firebox and as the air is heated, it creates a convection and forces the warm air out from the vents above the firebox and warms the whole room. A booster fan simply helps that process with the flip of a switch. A snap disc is sometimes installed at the blower unit and is a bi-metal product. When it heats up, it closes the circuit and kicks the fan on. As the bi-metal cools (as fire burns down) and separates the connection, the fan shuts off, so you are not blowing cool air. If you take this to the next level, then consider a wood burning unit ready for ducting that can deliver warm air to other areas of your home through ducting. If you install inline boosters in any ducts, then consider wiring them to your snap disc installed under the fire box and already connected to your main blower.
The last item to consider is fresh air for combustion. Some fireplace units will draft air from inside your home. However, some units can be ducted to pull outside air in from a duct. This is much easier than you are probably thinking as most fireplaces are located on an exterior wall anyway. I prefer to pull combustion air from outside.
Now, if all of this ducting and snap discing is overkill for your area and you simply want some ambiance in a room, then consider an electric model. With a little bit of framing and electrical work, you can have a very sleek and appealing fireplace for a $200-$900 depending on how wide of a unit you would like. For example: Mystflame 72 inch Electric Fireplace – Ultra Slim Frame – in Wall Recessed & Wall Mounted – Multicolor Flame – Log & Crystal Hearth – 1500/750 Watt Heater – Remote Control & Touch Screen- Timer
There you have it. Give your fire a nice line of site by getting it off the floor, create a sitting spot for when it is not in use with a built-up hearth, install a snap disc if you have a blower or booster fans installed, duct it to the rest of your home and use an external air source for combustion.