December 2022

Let me stand next to your fireplace

A traditional fireplace conjures a cozy winter scene: the bright orange flames dancing, the soothing syncopation of the crackling embers, curling up under a blanket with a good book and a mug of hot chocolate with tiny marshmallows bobbing on the surface.

But this idyllic fireplace reverie is often more enjoyable in our minds than in real life. The reality involves cleaning soot, stockpiling wood, and annual chimney maintenance-not to mention the dangers of inhaling fireplace smoke.

In the short term, exposure to this smoke can cause headaches and irritation in the lungs, sinuses, throat and eyes. In the long term, breathing this smoke-which has many of the carcinogens contained in cigarette smoke-can cause serious health issues.

Also, you may not live in a home or apartment where a fireplace is physically possible.

But there are a lot of perks to having a fireplace: added warmth, ambiance, and of course property value.

So, how do you get the best of both worlds? Here are four ventless alternatives to a wood-burning fireplace offering cleaner emissions and less maintenance.

Ventless gas fireplace

A ventless gas fireplace offers several conveniences not available with a wood-burning fireplace. Get your fire started in seconds with the touch of a button or remote control; adjust the height of the flame with the same controls. The heat is extremely consistent.

The downsides include a lack of orange flames (gas fireplace flames are blue), no wood smell, and no crackling sounds. The fireplace needs to be hooked up to a gas line, which may not always be viable. And there are still possible contaminant emissions, just to a much lesser degree.

Electric fireplace

If you don't have a gas line to hook up to, an electric fireplace is a great, environmentally-friendly alternative that doesn't emit fumes.

You can choose a mantel electric fireplace that looks like a wood-burning one, or a portable fireplace you can move from room to room as you see fit.

Electric fireplaces give you the heat and light of a real fire without actual flames or smoke. All you need is an outlet to plug the unit into.

The downsides include a higher cost to run than a gas fireplace, the inability to use the fireplace during a power outage, and the lack of that smoky fireplace smell.

Alcohol gel fireplace

Alcohol gel fireplaces offer a true flame that doesn't need venting. Fueled by a gel containing an isopropyl alcohol mixture, these flames can be started in seconds with a long match or long-reach lighter.

The downsides include having to replace the gel every few hours and the unit producing much less heat than the other options.

LED fireplace

An LED fireplace allows you to enjoy the heat of a traditional fire while viewing simulated flames in beautiful HD. No real flames means no emissions, of course.

The downside is that an LED fireplace can be pretty expensive.

There you go.

Get your fire going.

Wrap yourself in a warm blanket.

Find a good book.

Get the biggest mug of hot chocolate you can hold without hurting your wrist.

And be sure to get a bag of fresh tiny marshmallows; the little dried ones that come in the pouch with your hot chocolate just aren't as good.

A note from your lending specialist

If you find a great place to live-with or without a fireplace - I can help you explore financing options to acquire it.

MAP5093224 | 11/2022