Gather ‘Round the Fire to Experience Hygge

As winter sets in and the days get shorter, it’s time to embrace the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced hoo-gah). What is hygge, you ask? It’s a centuries-old lifestyle that celebrates coziness, contentment, and finding joy in life’s simple pleasures. 

Ready to give it a try? Grab a mug of hot cocoa and read on to learn more. 

A Cozy Fire is Key to Hygge

While folks in Denmark incorporate hygge into their lives all year long, it feels especially worth pursuing during the long nights and slower pace of winter. And there’s no quicker way to get in the hygge spirit than by pulling up a seat in front of a roaring fire. 

If your existing masonry fireplace is inefficient, you may want to install a fireplace insert into that space. Inserts contain and radiate heat back into the room more effectively than traditional fireplaces. If you don’t already have a fireplace, this might be the winter to add one to your home. Given that there are a number of options that can bring hygge to your home, Vanderwall can help you determine if gas, wood, or electric is best for you, or if you’d prefer a cozy wood stove

Other Ways to Practice Hygge

The art of hygge includes spending informal time with family or close friends and sharing a meal, wine or beer, or hot chocolate. Provide yourself and your guests with comfy chairs and blankets as you sit around the fire. Oh, and don’t forget the candles! (The Danish are Europe’s biggest consumers of candles, burning through around 13 lbs per person each year)!

You can increase your home’s hygge quotient using what you already have at hand:

  • A comfortable sofa
  • Comfy chairs
  • Some poufs or floor cushions
  • Fleece or knit blankets
  • Plenty of scented candles (think cozy scents like vanilla, winter aromas like pine, or mix and match)
  • A playlist of relaxing music
  • Comfort food (like soup, stew, curry, or chicken pot pie)
  • Warming drinks like hot chocolate, hot apple cider, warm sangria, or hot toddies

Keep in mind, you don’t need to limit yourself to your living room. You can keep that hygge feeling going outside with help from an outdoor fireplace to keep you and your guests warm and toasty.

Bring on the Hygge with Help from Vanderwall

However you decide to bring on the hygge this winter, be sure to practice fireplace safety, and know that you can count on the experts at Vanderwall for help with everything from installation to hearth supplies and tools. Visit our showrooms in Grand Rapids and Spring Lake for inspiration and assistance.

What is hygge | All you need to know about the small joys of life

Practice Fireplace Safety to Enjoy a Cozy Winter

Cozy season is officially here, and that means it’s time to make sure your fireplace is in safe operating condition. By taking a few steps now you’ll enjoy peace of mind every time you and your family use your fireplace.

First Things First

Regardless of whether you have a gas or wood-fire fireplace, have your chimney inspected and cleaned regularly. A certified chimney sweep will remove debris, blockages, and creosote, the chemical mass of carbon that can be formed by wood fires. Creosote can form a thick coating of debris in the flue (the chimney’s passageway for smoke) and cause a chimney fire.

At the very least, visually inspect your chimney flue to be sure there isn’t a nest or other blockage that could prevent smoke from moving up and out of the house. Be sure your damper can be easily opened and closed. Keep the area around your hearth free from home decor or any other combustible material. 

Make sure you clean all old ashes out of the fireplace before stacking wood for your first fire of the season. Sweep or vacuum the cold ashes and dispose of them outside. 

Practice Fireplace and Wood Stove Safety

Once you’ve prepared your fireplace for the season, make sure to follow the do’s and don’ts on this checklist every time you start a fire. (Note that some items only apply to wood-fired fireplaces). 

  • DO make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order. Keep fire extinguishers charged and accessible.
  • DO be sure your grate or andiron—the metal structure(s) that hold wood inside your fireplace—are in good shape, to prevent wood or logs from rolling out of the fireplace.
  • DON’T allow anything that can burn to come closer than 3 feet from your fireplace or wood stove.
  • DON’T burn paper in your fireplace or wood stove.
  • DO keep a metal screen in front of your fireplace to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out. 
  • DO make sure fireplace “on” switches and remote controls are out of the reach of children.
  • DO keep the doors of your wood stove closed unless loading or stoking the live fire.
  • DON’T leave a fire unattended. Be sure the fire is fully extinguished before leaving or going to bed. 
  • DO put ashes in a metal container with a lid. Place the container outside at least 10 feet from your home.

Consider an Insert to Improve Efficiency

A fireplace insert is a great way to upgrade an old fireplace. Traditional fireplaces only radiate about 10 percent of the heat they produce into the room. Fireplace inserts contain and radiate heat back into the room, making them up to 80 percent more efficient while also reducing wood-burning emissions. 

Make Sure You Have the Right Tools and Expert Help

Fireplace doors help retain heat indoors when the fireplace is not being used. For wood-burning fireplaces, screens keep embers from escaping the fireplace. Grates and andirons prevent wood from rolling out of the fireplace. And you’ll want to be sure you’re prepared for the season with tongs, poker, shovel, broom, and fire-safe gloves.

You can count on the fireplace professionals at VanderWall to prepare you for a safe season of cozy evenings by the fire. We carry all the tools and supplies you need, from toolsets to chimney caps and flues. Interested in installing a fireplace insert or a brand-new hearth? From help designing your stone mantel and hearth to running the gas lines, our National Fireplace Institute-certified technicians and friendly staff are here to help. Visit our Grand Rapids or Spring Lake store for inspiration and assistance.

VanderWall Brothers
US Fire Administration

How to Create a Cozy Outdoor Space for Fall

Temperatures are dropping, leaves are turning, and the sun is setting earlier. After a hectic summer, fall is the perfect time to reconnect with family and friends. But the cooler temperatures and shorter days dont mean you need to limit gatherings to your living room. By preparing your patio or other outdoor space youll be able to keep everyone warm and cozy while taking advantage of the crisp air and fall colors. Whether its a tailgate party before the local football game or a get-together with a few close friends, theres nothing like gathering around a warm fire to make the most of cool autumn nights.

Brighten the Space with Pumpkins and Plants

For pops of color, place containers around the patio full of fall-blooming plants including mums, zinnias, pansies, asters, and dahlias. Go vertical with corn stalks picked up at local farms or farmers markets. While youre at it, grab some straw bales to place between seats. They make a great spot for displaying assorted pumpkins and gourds that add more seasonal color.

Light Up Your Nights

Outdoor lights not only help guests make their way safely, they also add a festive touch and help define the space. While small white lights are a timeless classic, you can get in the fall spirit with strings of orange bulbs, with or without faux leaves attached.

Gather Round the Fire

Since the beginning of time, people have been drawn to a communal fire as much more than a place to warm up. If youre making plans for a new patio or improving the one you have, a great place to start is by including or upgrading your fire source. From a simple fire pit to a statement-making gas fireplace, your choice will help set the tone for your outdoor entertainment space.

Here are just a few options to consider:

  • Include a permanent fireplace to anchor the space and create an outdoor room.Outdoor fireplaces offer several advantages, including better defining the space, bringing living room ambiance outside, doubling as a privacy wall, and taking up less space than a firepit.
  • Create a firepit using a round or square smokeless insert, either freestanding or built-in—it’s a great and easy choice that will make a convert out of those who avoid campfires due to irritating (and ever-shifting) smoke. With the Breeo grill add-on, your fire pit doubles as a grill engineered for maximum heat control and durability.
  • Keep things simple and gain table space with a fire table. Fire tables require nothing more than connecting a 20 lb LP tank and hitting the start button to add sophisticated ambiance to your outdoor space.
  • If you’ve got your fire needs covered but are looking for more warmth, mid-wave infrared heaters are a great way to extend your time on your patio or deck, adding two or three months in the spring and fall shoulder seasons.

Help is Close at Hand

There can be a lot to consider when selecting the right fire source for your patio, from choosing between wood burning or gas to understanding local safety and permitting codes. Fortunately, VanderWall can help. For answers to frequently asked questions, check out our outdoor fireplace blog post. For design help and inspiration, stop in our Spring Lake or Grand Rapids store with some photos of your backyard, and our experts will help you determine which fire pit, table or fireplace will best fit your property. If your project involves a high degree of masonry, we can even match you with a local mason who can help you with your project. Or you can always use the “Text Us” tool in the lower right corner of our website.

propane fire bowl

Backyard Outdoor Fireplaces: All Your Questions Answered

When the seasons change and the cool breeze starts to set in, there’s nothing quite as inviting as the warm flicker of a fireplace. Why limit this cozy experience to indoor spaces? In this blog, we dive into backyard outdoor fireplaces, exploring their benefits, design options, safety considerations, and more.

Outdoor Fireplaces: FAQs

Whether you’re a seasoned homeowner looking to upgrade your outdoor living area or a first-time homebuyer excited to create a gathering spot at your new house, we’ve got you covered with all answers to your questions so you can build the ultimate oasis in your backyard.

When you’re ready to install an outdoor fireplace at your home, VanderWall Brothers has you covered!

Do You Need a Permit To Build an Outdoor Fireplace in Your Yard?

The need for an outdoor fireplace permit can vary depending on your location and the specific regulations set by your local authorities. Research your local building codes and regulations first, or contact your city or county’s building department to inquire about the specific requirements for outdoor fireplaces.

As a general rule of thumb, outdoor fireplaces are considered a structural addition, so they will likely be subject to zoning and building codes.

How Far Away Does an Outdoor Fireplace Need To Be From a House?

It’s recommended that an outdoor fireplace should be installed at least 10 feet away from your house, property line, or any other structure, such as a fence.

Code requirements in your area could require more distance and could also regulate chimney height, so always educate yourself on your local building codes.

Do Outdoor Fireplaces Need To Be Vented?

Yes – if your fireplace relies on wood to function, you’ll need a chimney for proper ventilation. This is especially true if you install an outdoor fire feature in an enclosed patio.

How Much Space Do You Need for an Outdoor Fireplace?

As mentioned above, outdoor fireplaces should be at least 10 feet away from your home and other structures. For maximum safety, you should also have at least 3 feet of clear space between the fireplace and anything flammable, such as outdoor furniture, plants, or other decorations.

Does Outdoor Fireplace Add Value?

Typically, homes with an outdoor fireplace installed can recoup about 80% of the associated costs. An outdoor gas fireplace will offer you the most bang for your buck, adding even more value to your home.

What Should I Look For in an Outdoor Fireplace?

A high-quality outdoor fireplace will feature a chimney, firebox, and hearth and will usually be built on a stone, brick, or concrete patio or paved surface.

How Deep Should Concrete Be for an Outdoor Fireplace?

You will want to install a minimum 4″ thick -up to 8″ thick reinforced concrete pad. If you’re building on a pre-existing concrete pad or one much larger than your fireplace footprint, you should form or cut expansion joints around the fireplace.

What Fuel Options Are Available for Backyard Fireplaces?

There are generally only three fuel choices, each with its own benefits and drawbacks: wood, natural gas, and propane.

How Do I Maintain an Outdoor Fireplace?

To maintain your fireplace and get the most out of your investment, it’s essential to regularly remove built-up ash from the fireplace. You should also use a broom or outdoor wet-dry vacuum to clean debris, soot, and leaves from the fireplace each time you use it.

It’s recommended to do a deep clean once a year. Use a brush and warm, soapy water to thoroughly clean the fireplace inside and out. If you notice nearby foliage beginning to overgrow, cut it back promptly. Keep the fireplace bricks free of weeds and grass–plant roots can cause damage if they infiltrate natural cracks in the stone.

Can I Customize the Design of My Outdoor Fireplace?

With any home addition, personalization is vital. With VanderWall Brothers, homeowners can choose from various design options, materials, finishes, and other customization possibilities. It’s our mission to make your dream vision come to life!

High-Quality Outdoor Fireplaces From VanderWall Brothers

With a commitment to quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction, VanderWall Bros. is a trusted partner for outdoor fireplaces. From an impressive array of design options to expert guidance on safety and installation, VanderWall Bros. offers a comprehensive solution that caters to your unique preferences and requirements.

As you embark on your journey to transform your backyard into your own paradise, remember that VanderWall Bros. provides exceptional outdoor fireplace products and a sense of assurance that you’re investing in a company dedicated to enhancing your outdoor experience. Choose VanderWall Bros. and ignite the warmth and beauty of your outdoor space today.

pellet vs wood stove

Do You Know the Difference Between a Pellet Stove vs. a Wood Stove?

In the quest for efficient and environmentally friendly heating solutions, both pellet and wood stoves are popular choices for homeowners. These two heating appliances aim to provide warmth and comfort during colder months, but which is the better choice? 

We’ll compare pellet stoves vs. wood stoves so you can decide the best choice for your home. 

Comparing Pellet Stoves vs. Wood Stoves

What is a Pellet Stove?

A pellet stove is a modern heating appliance that burns compressed wood or biomass pellets. The pellets are made from renewable materials, such as wood chips, sawdust, agricultural waste, or other biomass materials. 

Pellet stoves consist of a hopper that stores the pellets, an auger system to feed them into the combustion chamber, and a fan to control the intensity of the fire and distribute the heat. They can be easily automated with programmable thermostats, ensuring steady and consistent warmth throughout the space. 

Pellet stove brands we love

What is a Wood Stove?

Wood stoves are traditional heating appliances that burn chopped wood logs. The stoves can be made from cast iron or steel and consist of a firebox and flue that allows smoke and gasses to escape while retaining heat into the surrounding space. 

Using natural firewood for heat offers a rustic and cozy ambiance that many homeowners cherish, but their efficiency can vary based on factors such as wood quality, combustion, and insulation.

Wood stove brands we love

The Pros and Cons of Pellet Stoves vs. Wood Stoves

While pellet and wood stoves serve the purpose of heating homes, they differ in fuel type, automation, maintenance, and environmental impact. Choosing between the two depends on individual preferences, heating requirements, and considerations for convenience and sustainability.

Pellet Stoves: The Pros

  • High Efficiency: Pellet stoves offer higher efficiency than wood stoves, as the combustion process is better controlled.
  • Convenient Automation: Pellet stoves can be easily automated with programmable thermostats, allowing precise temperature control. 
  • Cleaner Operation: Pellet stoves produce minimal ash and emissions, making them a cleaner and more eco-friendly heating option.
  • Consistent Heat Output: With automated fuel feed, pellet stoves provide a more consistent and even heat distribution.

Pellet Stoves: The Cons

  • Dependence on Electricity: Pellet stoves rely on electricity to power the auger system and the fans, which means they won’t work during power outages.
  • Limited Fuel Source: While pellets are made from renewable materials, their availability might be limited in some areas, leading to higher fuel costs.
  • Higher Upfront Cost: Pellet stoves are generally more expensive to purchase and install compared to wood stoves. 
  • Mechanical Issues: The complexity of the auger and fan systems can lead to potential mechanical problems, requiring maintenance and repairs. 
  • Maintenance: Creates ash and debris that may need to be cleaned out daily. Plus, if the pellets get wet, they expand back into sawdust, which means storage could get messy.

Wood Stoves: The Pros

  • Natural and Traditional: Wood stoves provide a nostalgic and cozy ambiance with the crackling sound of burning logs. 
  • Renewable Fuel Source: Wood is a renewable resource, making it a sustainable heating option if responsible harvesting practices are followed.
  • Independence from Electricity: Wood stoves do not rely on electricity, ensuring continued heating even during power outages.
  • Cost-Effective: In regions with abundant wood supply, wood logs can be a cost-effective heating solution compared to other fuel sources.

Wood Stoves: The Cons

  • Lower Efficiency: Heat is lost through the chimney along with smoke and gasses, resulting in wood stoves typically having lower efficiency compared to pellet stoves. 
  • Regular Maintenance: Wood stoves require frequent cleaning to remove ash and soot buildup, which can be time-consuming.
  • Environmental Impact: While wood is a renewable resource, burning wood releases carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere, contributing to air pollution.
    • Note: In 2020, the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) introduced a policy that significantly reduces the amount of emissions released from wood stoves. Now the units burn cleaner and with less particulate matter than older wood-burning units – so that’s a great improvement!
  • Inconsistent Heat: Heating with wood can lead to uneven temperature distribution – the fire’s intensity varies based on the type and quality of wood used.

VanderWall Brothers Is Here to Heat Your Home

Whether you opt for a wood stove or pellet stove, you can trust VanderWall Brothers to be your trusted partner in providing top-notch heating solutions for your home. We offer seamless installation and reliable maintenance services for both stove types, and our commitment to customer satisfaction means we take the time to understand your specific heating needs. We can even help you choose which one is best for your home. 

Contact VanderWall Brothers today for all your home heating needs! 

4 backyard fire pit ideas

Backyard Fire Pit Ideas: 4 Ways To Transform Your Outdoor Living Space

There’s something undeniably magical about gathering around a crackling fire, sharing stories, and enjoying the warmth of the flames under the night sky. Are you interested in installing a fire pit in your backyard so you can start making these unforgettable memories? We’re here to help!  

In this blog, we’ll provide you with inspiration for new and fun backyard fire pit ideas that will take your outdoor entertaining space to the next level. 

4 Backyard Fire Pit Ideas To Try

When it comes to outdoor entertaining, we know what we’re talking about. Here are our four favorite backyard fire pit ideas we’re loving right now. 

#1: Traditional Wood-Burning Fire Pit

wood burning fire pit

Nothing compares to a traditional wood-burning fire pit. This classic piece adds a timeless, rustic charm to any backyard. Wood-burning firepits allow you to enjoy the crackling sound and beautiful sights and smells of real wood flames. We recommend constructing your fire pit with heat-resistant materials like metal or stone. 

#2 Gas Fire Pit Table

Opt for a gas fire pit table for a convenient and hassle-free outdoor fire experience. Gas fire pit tables are available in various styles, shapes, and materials, allowing you to find one that complements your outdoor decor while providing a cozy gathering spot. This is a fantastic option if you live in an area that restricts wood burning. 

Gas fire pit tables combine the functionality of a fire pit with the practicality of a table. With a simple turn of a knob, you ignite the flames and control the heat output, and installing a gas line makes it convenient to use no matter what time of year it is. 

#3: Propane Fire Bowl

propane fire bowl

The propane fire bowl is another popular option on the market for backyard fires. Propane fire bowls are made of durable concrete and can be used with propane or natural gas. They vary in size and come in a wide variety of stylish designs and styles. 

In addition, fire bowls offer quick and easy installation. Plus, depending on the size, they can be portable. So they’re easy to take with you if you ever move homes. 

Pro Tip: Protect your investment and opt for wind guards and other protective devices. They’ll keep the equipment safe throughout the year during inclement weather conditions. 

#4: Smokeless Fire Pit

smokeless fire pit

If smoke bothers you or you live in an area with strict regulations regarding open fires, a smokeless fire pit is a perfect solution. Smokeless fire pits often feature innovative airflow systems that burn the wood more efficiently, reducing smoke emissions. This advanced technology allows you to enjoy a clean and smoke-free experience. 

When searching for the highest-quality smokeless fire pits, we recommend BREEO. They’re durable, versatile, and will elevate any outdoor space.

Heat Things Up in Your Backyard

Looking to create a cozy and inviting outdoor space with a stunning fire pit? VanderWall Bros. is your ultimate destination for all your outdoor living and fire installation needs. With our expertise in outdoor design and impeccable craftsmanship, we can transform your backyard into a captivating sanctuary where you can gather, relax, and create lasting memories with family and friends. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to elevate your outdoor living experience this summer. Contact VanderWall Bros. today and let us help you create the perfect fire pit that will become the heart of your outdoor oasis.

Fire Pit & Patio

Outdoor Fire Plans: Heating Up Your Backyard

By the time spring comes around in full bloom, most people are more than eager to spend some well-deserved time in the sun, enjoying outdoor entertainment and leisure. When looking to create a fire pit to enliven the outside of your home with a shared gathering space made for s’mores, burgeoning conversation, and fun games, there are more options available than you may realize. 

Fire Pits

A traditional fire pit can be constructed with loose brick and any type of level ground, whether dirt, a concrete slab, or another sustainable area of your backyard. These fire pits give off a noticeable impression of down to earth family togetherness and communal joy/entertainment. Fire Pit & PatioYou can also buy a pre-made fire pit, which can be easily set around your yard and is typically made of a stainless steel or cast-iron ring or something completely finished. Fire Pit & GrillThese types of pits are very affordable, customarily costing in the low hundreds: $200-$600. Depending on your level of comfort in building DIY (do-it-yourself) tasks, this could easily be a one-day project or even an afternoon job for the whole family to work on. By buying loose bricks, a level, and any other tool you may need to dig and scrape out dirt, you are already halfway there on making your own backyard fire pit.

On the flip side, you can hire local professionals to install your fire pit, giving you the assurance of a job well done, as well as a wide array of fire pit options to choose from. In general, most folks use wood as their fuel, while some use gas. Both have pros and cons: for wood, it can be easy and cheap to find, especially if you have nearby woods. Others may find it burdensome to need to purchase or haul firewood. It is important to keep the area clean as a preventative measure for future safety – fire pit covers can also be a simple method to keep anything unnecessary out and will keep a low dying fire from sparking and catching external things on fire. For especially windy locations or smoke-sensitive customers, some brands offer smokeless fire pits. Additionally, for those looking to grill/cook foods above the fire pit, there are countless types of grill accompaniments or kettle hooks to fit your needs. 

Fire Tables

Fire TableSimilarly, a fire table is a ready-to-use piece of furniture, which adds a more distinct look of luxury and class to your backyard, whilst still initiating a place where people can gather comfortably. These are typically set on part of a deck, patio area, or brick pavers. They tend to cost somewhat more than fire pits: around $500 to $5,000. These tables rely on gas, which can either be run in from a gas line to the house or an LP tank that is hidden beneath the table itself. 

Fire Element on tableSome of these even incorporate a water feature for additional sound and contrast. Unusual in shape and size are torches or tabletop fire inserts that can fit into the umbrella slot in a traditional patio table. This allows for a small cozy setting during dinner or drinks. 

Most of these units are not suitable for those who appreciate cooking over an open flame. The use of small holes where the gas/flame comes out, they typically do not feature a grill attachment. They generally come with rocks or glass type media that one would not get greasy or dirty as they would no longer be as nice to look at while sitting alongside it.Outdoor Fireplace


For an awe-inspiring grandiose display of warmth and luxury, installing an outdoor fireplace can greatly enrich your life as well as the overall worth of your home. Fireplaces inherently create a relaxed and inviting focal point. They create a leisurely space where one is welcome to sit and talk, read, rest, eat, etcetera. Such a place is a highly appreciated asset of any home, adds social value to your home, as well as obvious accompanying economic advantages. For fuel, both gas and wood are equally feasible. Price wise, these can cost somewhere between $2,000 and $6,000, which is fully contingent on the quality and type/area of installation you desire. Overall, however, homes with fireplaces, both indoor and outdoor, have a higher selling value, which only sets you up for success in the future. By working with local professionals, you can distinguish your home and backyard with a welcoming and aesthetically pleasing fireplace. 

Fireplace and seating area outside

**All of these prices can fluctuate significantly depending on any additions chosen to accompany the basic fireplace, pit, or table.

Permits & Safety

Regardless of whether your fire unit relies on gas or wood, it is important to check whether you must acquire a permit from your local township or county office. Permits often work in accordance with the height and size of each unit. It is best to keep fire pits and tables a minimum distance of 10-20 feet away from the house or property line. For more specific requirements, calling local officials can easily iron out any remaining questions/details. Additionally, manufacturers can supply introduction/safety manuals for your particular unit regarding placement and usage. 

Why Us

After working in this industry since 1922, VanderWall Brothers and their in-house technicians have the experience and knowledge to support you in whatever fire unit avenue you decide upon. Our expertise will make this addition as clean and worry-free as possible, and we are excited to bring to life the idea you were dreaming of all winter long. Contact us today to get a quote or get your questions answered.

What is the Most Efficient Type of Fireplace for a Home?

The majority of homeowners want a fireplace in their homes, and for this reason, over 50% of new houses being put on the market are equipped with this feature.

However, if you’re an existing American homeowner that dreams of having a relaxing fire to sit in front of, you likely are looking at ways that you can install a fireplace within your home. There are a lot of different options for types of fireplaces out there that you may be feeling overwhelmed with choices, but this is actually a good thing. It means that you have more freedom to choose the fixture that’s right for your individual needs.

Here, we’re going to take a look into the efficiency, cost, and popularity of the most common types of fireplaces. Read on for more information on whether a gas, wood, or electric fireplace is the right option for you!

What Is the Most Efficient Type of Fireplace Fuel: Gas, Wood, or Electric?

There are four basic types of fireplace fuels that you can choose from for your home: those that are powered by gas, wood, electric, and alternative fuels (coal, pellets, corn, etc.).

There are three different types of units, which are inserts, direct vents, and stoves.

Here, we’re going to take an in-depth look at these three types of fireplaces and answer the question of which one is the most efficient.

How Efficient Are Gas Fireplaces?

Gas fireplaces are those that are powered by gas within your home.

One of the most efficient things about gas fireplaces is the time that they save and the high-efficiency rating because of hot air that they provide does not go out a chimney like a wood-burning unit does.

With a gas fireplace, you aren’t going to need to go out and find firewood that will fuel your flames. Assuming that this was a task you’d need to perform every time you used your fireplace, you’ll be saving a few hours a week if you use your fireplace regularly.

Furthermore, you don’t need to spend time inserting wood into the fireplace while you enjoy its warmth. This gives you more time to relax and enjoy a good book or some s’mores.

Natural gas is one of the largest natural resources in the United States and is the lowest cost that is available to providing heat to your home.

Propane heating, however, is a different story. It costs more and therefore some people, especially in rural areas, may prefer to use wood or alternative fuel sources (Pellet, etc).

How Efficient Are Wood Fireplaces?

When we say ‘wood fireplaces’ we don’t mean that your fireplace can be made of wood. That would go up in flames like the kindling that it is and cause a massive fire within your home! When we talk about a wood fireplace, we’re talking about one that uses wood as fuel to keep the fire burning. The actual fireplace itself will be made from stone or concrete, which are strong materials that will keep your fire contained.

When you think of an outdoor fire pit, you likely think of something similar to a wood fireplace. You need to continuously insert logs into them for kindling to keep the flame alive. If you intend to place a fireplace outdoors, wood is by far the best option since you won’t need to plug it into a nonexistent source to make it work.

The efficiency of wood fireplaces have continued to be improved, but they still let a lot of hot air from escape through your chimney. One of the more efficient alternatives, if you like burning wood, is either a wood-burning fireplace insert or a wood-burning stove, which also greatly improves efficiency.

How Efficient Are Electric Fireplaces?

Generally hailed as the most efficient types of fireplaces, electric fireplaces have it all.

They’re incredibly environmentally-friendly (if you assume that your electricity is generated by solar, water, or wind) in all the ways that gas and wood are not, since you’re not leaving a huge carbon footprint by obtaining gas or burning wood. They also save you time because, like with gas fireplaces, all you need to do is flip a switch and enjoy the warmth.

Electricity does not have high-efficiency transmission rates like natural gas does. The generation of electricity at a plant does not transfer along the line to the home with the same efficiency as gas.

This warmth provided by an electric fireplace is spread throughout your house with a fan for thorough heating. Despite the lack of a real flame, electric fireplaces can use inserts or digitally generate images and sounds of a crackling fire to give it a lifelike feel.

What Are the Least Expensive Types of Fireplaces to Use?

Having any fireplace installed within your home can definitely add to your property value. This means that each and every type of fireplace is a good financial decision. However, some of them cost more or less to operate than other types, which is definitely a factor to consider when choosing a fireplace on a budget. Read on to learn which is the most inexpensive type of fireplace on the market!

How Much Are Gas Fireplaces?

A gas fireplace isn’t that expensive to maintain. You’ll need to pay a little extra on your monthly gas bill, but the price won’t be that steep. In fact, this is a pretty inexpensive bill to pay.

You may need to install a chimney if you want a gas fireplace. This can become expensive pretty quickly. However, this is a one-time installation fee, so some people might not mind it. If you’re willing to make the investment, then a wood fireplace may work well in your home.

If you don’t want to install a fireplace, you may be able to have a direct vent installed through an exterior wall or through your roof.

We suggest that you put a quality fireplace unit in, regardless if it’s gas, wood, electric because unlike a kitchen appliance, you will not want to remove the stone or brick facing with a fireplace unit.

The amount of money that your fireplace costs will also depend on the material that your fireplace is made from. 

How Much Are Wood Fireplaces?

They aren’t, necessarily. You are going to need to pay extra on your gas and electric bills when you have a wood fireplace because you have a hole in your roof which is letting hot air from your furnace out.

When figuring out the amount that a fireplace will cost you, you need to make sure that you’re hiring the right company from whom to purchase your new fixture. This will save you money on both the purchase of a fireplace and its installation. Luckily, our professionals are the #1 choice for fireplaces that are both inexpensive and high-quality. To learn more about why Vanderwall is the right place to get a fireplace, click here.

How Much Are Electric Fireplaces?

Electric fireplaces are the least expensive option on the list. Like with gas-powered options, you’ll need to pay a bit extra on your electric bill each month with an electricity-powered fireplace. This fee will be incredibly small, though. The time you spend in front of it may take away from your TV time and you could possibly even reduce the amount of electricity you pay for.

You also don’t need to install a chimney, which is great financially. (It can be a little disappointing, though, if you want the full-fireplace aesthetic in your home.) The electric fireplace will be installed directly into or on the wall of your home, which saves a lot of space in addition to money on installation.

What Is the Most Popular Kind of Fireplace?

Recently, electric fireplaces have been catching on as the most popular available kind in the country. Because of their cost-effectiveness and environmental efficiency, people have been flocking towards them like wildfire (no pun intended.) Furthermore, since they tend to be one of the safest fixture for children and pets, this option is by far the most popular for families. If you have a baby (or a furbaby), this is something to consider when choosing a fireplace.

Wood fireplaces have been declining in popularity recently due to safety concerns. Unless the chimney is properly maintained on a wood-burning fixture (which is easy and inexpensive enough to do as long as you’re on top of things), they can cause a chimney fire.

However, at the end of the day, it’s all about your preference as a homeowner.

Choose Your Fireplace Today

There are a lot of different options when it comes to choosing a fireplace for your home. This is an amazing thing since you have more alternatives when deciding what’s best for your specific needs.

Now that you know the efficiency, cost, and popularity of the three main types of fireplaces, it’s time to get any other questions you may have answered. Click here to contact us with any inquiries about fireplace types, installation, and more. We’ll also give you a quote on how much your fireplace will cost once you decide what you want so that you don’t need to guess at how much you’ll be paying.

fireplace insert

Fireplace Inserts: Everything You Need To Know

Michigan is known for its harsh weather, and it is not uncommon for temperatures to drop well below freezing during the coldest months. It is then important that you ensure that your home’s heating systems are up to the task of keeping you warm year-round. If you rely on your home’s fireplace as a source of heat for your home’s living spaces, then you may want to consider investing in a fireplace insert in order to boost the efficiency of your fireplace and to ensure that it provides maximum comfort to your home.

What many homeowners do not realize is that traditional fireplaces are extremely inefficient, as they only radiate roughly 10 percent of the heat they produce into a room. Installing a fireplace insert in your home can help to drastically improve the heating power of your fireplace by increasing its efficiency by up to 80 percent. However, if you are not familiar with fireplace inserts, then you likely have a lot of questions about what they are, how they work, and whether or not investing in a fireplace insert would be a good option for your home. To help you make an informed decision, here is a look at everything you need to know about fireplace inserts.

What is a Fireplace Insert?

If you have not previously heard of fireplace inserts, then you may be uncertain as to what they are. Similar to a wood stove, a fireplace insert is a steel or cast iron box with an insulated glass front that is installed into an existing masonry fireplace in order to improve its efficiency. The insert is designed to contain and radiate heat back into the room, cutting down on the inefficiencies of traditional fireplaces. 

While it may feel like your fireplace is heating your home, it is really only providing minimal heat to the area immediately surrounding your fireplace. Much of the heat that the fire in your fireplace is producing is being wasted, as a lot of warm air is being sucked out of your chimney.

How Do Gas Fireplace Inserts Work?

Fireplace inserts help to reduce the inefficiencies of fireplaces by containing heat within its shell. The insert has its own firebox that fits within your fireplace, and the fire can be viewed through a window within the insert’s door. As the insert’s firebox heats up, the metal shell contains the heat and circulates it back into the room. Many fireplace inserts even have a blower that helps to push hot air back into a room through the insert’s front vents. The insert’s design then helps to cut down on wasted energy by helping to contain the fire’s heat and direct it where it is meant to go, which is into your home. Fireplace inserts come in a variety of designs and styles, and they can be powered by a variety of fuel sources including electricity, gas, propane, wood, pellets, or coal, depending on the type that you choose.  

Are Fireplace Inserts Expensive?

If you think a fireplace insert could be a good option for your home, you may find yourself asking whether they are expensive. Like many appliances you will invest in for your home, the cost of a fireplace insert will vary quite drastically depending on a variety of factors including its size, features, and fuel source. In fact, a fireplace insert can cost anywhere between $1,500 and $6,500 or more depending on the specifications of the unit you choose. However, purchasing a fireplace insert can truly be seen as making an investment in your home, as they can help to reduce the cost of heating your home, saving you money over time.   

How Long Do Fireplace Inserts Last?

Of course, if you are going to be making a substantial investment in your home, you will want to know that your investment will last for years to come. So exactly how long do fireplace inserts last? As with most things, how long your fireplace insert lasts will depend on how well you take care of it. However, when properly maintained, a fireplace insert can last 20-30 years or more, making them a great investment in the future of your home. 

How Do I Size a Gas Fireplace Insert?

If you have decided that you want to invest in a fireplace insert for your home, you will need to determine what size insert you need before you start looking at designs and styles. 

Measure Your Fireplace

Your first step will be to get a measuring tape out and take measurements of your current fireplace. Measurements that you will need to take include the height and width of the front opening of your fireplace, the depth of your fireplace, and the height and width of the back wall of your fireplace. Knowing these measurements can help you to choose a fireplace that will fit in your firebox.

Determine What Gas Output You Need

Next, you will need to decide the heat output that you will want your insert to produce, as fireplace inserts are designed to produce between 30,000 and 85,000 BTUs per hour or more. Ultimately, how powerful a fireplace insert you will need will depend on a variety of factors including the size of the space that you plan on heating.

For instance, if you only need your fireplace insert to heat a small den or living room, a 30,000 BTU insert may be sufficient. However, if you plan on heating a large space, or if your home has poor insulation, then you may want to go with a more powerful unit. A knowledgeable contractor can help you to determine what size fireplace insert will be best for your home based on your unique needs.

Can I Install a Gas Fireplace Insert Myself?

Once you have chosen a fireplace insert, you may wonder if you can install it yourself. While installing a fireplace insert may seem as simple as sliding the unit into place, it is actually a complicated process. Before the fireplace insert can be installed, your chimney will need to be cleaned, inspected, and lined with a flue liner that will be connected to the fireplace insert. Then, depending on the type of insert you purchased, the fireplace insert may need to be connected to your home’s electricity or your gas line. If any of these steps are not done properly, your fireplace insert could become a safety risk, making it critical that you work with an experienced fireplace contractor when adding a fireplace insert to your home. 

Contact us to learn more about gas fireplace inserts, as well as to inquire about having one installed in your home before winter arrives.

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