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The very idea of a fireplace makes us feel warm and cozy. All of us have dreamt of the glow of a warm fire in the family room while we sit sipping on a hot beverage or cognac while it snows outside. A basement fireplace might not really have the same romantic appeal, but it does not take away from the fact that the basement is a great location for your home’s fireplace.
In fact, a lot of older homes that house the rich feature fireplaces and kitchens in the basements. And considering that fireplaces add to the home’s value by at least $1,000 to $5,000, all the way to $15,000 in some cases, adding a fireplace is definitely a worthy investment.
So if you’re considering installing a fireplace in your home, read on to know more about basement fireplaces.
Are basement fireplaces legal?
The basement is a perfect location for a fireplace to heat a multi-story home, even more so if you also have a den or a man cave there as well. A basement fireplace is legal in most parts of the country. However, it is always best for you to check with your HOA as well as your local building codes and laws before you begin the project.
It is also essential that you get a certified chimney specialist on board just so you know your basement finish, the amount of space you have, ventilation, and wiring all allow for a chimney to be installed there.
What problems do basement fireplaces face?
Let’s take a look at some common issues you could face with a basement fireplace.
This is a problem that is faced by those who have a wood-burning fireplace and is mostly observed in the warm and humid months when the fireplace isn’t used regularly.
The reason for this odor is the build-up of creosote in your vents or in the chimney. Creosote is a fire hazard waiting to happen and should be addressed immediately with an inspection and chimney sweeps.
This is a problem seen most often in the winters. If you observe that the chimney vents seem to have more cold air than warm air coming out, it is a sign that there is a leak in the system that is letting the cold drafts in.
Once again, call upon chimney professionals for a fireplace inspection and take remedial action. Among the solutions, installing a gas fireplace insert and making sure the fireplace damper works properly are commonly used.
Smoky smell in the basement
Some larger homes feature more than one fireplace on different floors. If your basement starts to smell and feel smoky when an upper fireplace is in use, it means that the smoke is coming in through an unused basement fireplace flue, and could indicate damage to the flue liner. A professional chimney inspection is just what the doctor ordered!
Basement fireplace types
We’re now going to take you through the types of fireplaces you can choose from for your basement, as well as the costs, pros, and cons of each.
If you want a wood pellet fireplace or a gas fireplace for your home, then you’re looking for a direct vent fireplace. Direct vent fireplaces have rigid or flexible pipes that are installed in your walls. Vents fresh air from the outside into the firebox, providing much-needed oxygen for the fumes to burn, while also venting out smoke and fumes from the fire back outside. Meanwhile, cool air from inside the home is drawn into a separate chamber, heated by the fire and warm air is vented back into the home.
Read more: Basement fireplace design tips
Wood pellet direct vent stove
- The fuel of choice is pellets made from compacted sawdust.
- The pellets are burned, and a small fan directs the warm air into the home. This requires electricity.
- Great aesthetic value.
- They are more energy efficient and better at heating than traditional wood fireplaces.
- Less efficient than gas direct vent fireplaces.
- Based on usage, they require frequent chimney cleaning and maintenance. Wood fires create creosote, soot, and ash, all of which need to be cleaned regularly.
- Expect to pay between $1,900 and $3,300 including professional installation.
- Can be used to cook as well.
Gas direct vent fireplace
- Connect directly to the home’s gas line.
- Can work during a power outage.
- More energy efficient and better at heating that a wood pellet stove.
- Are more expensive, costing between $2,300 to $4,000 including installation.
- Not as aesthetically pleasing as a wood pellet fireplace.
- Electric fireplaces have inner coils that use electricity to heat up, and the resultant heat is distributed using an electric fan.
- No need for a ventilation system.
- Can be plugged directly into a wall socket.
- Feature a faux flame that looks authentic, and can be touched from the outside.
- Come in a variety of sizes and designs.
- Easiest to install.
- Safest option as well. They do not need constant supervision.
- Will increase your energy bills by a substantial amount.
- Cannot be used during a power outage.
- Are the most affordable, with the average cost being around $1,200.
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