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How To Integrate A Fireplace Into Your Home

By Rachel Wallace

There’s no feeling like snuggling up on a cold, winter’s night in front of a fireplace. The ambience of flames flickering and the immediate heat simply ooze comfort. Now, imagine the comfort of a wood fire, combined with the convenience of today’s technology. That’s why home owners and businesses are increasingly turning to natural gas heating.

With the feel of a wood fire but more warmth, natural gas heating has a lot going for it. It can be turned on at the flick of a switch. No embers. No ash. No chopping wood.

“We often see a guest examining the fireplace and discussing whether it’s a real log fireplace or gas,” says Mark Jarvis, general manager of the Carrington Hotel in Katoomba.

The historic Carrington Hotel in the heart of the chilly Blue Mountains harks back to 1883. It’s been lovingly restored to its former glory, yet with the conveniences of the 21st century.

Guests of the Carrington Hotel often mistake the gas fireplace for a log version. Photo: Supplied

“The fireplace offers a beautiful ambience to our lounge area whilst having the convenience of being a gas fireplace. It’s easy to operate with virtually no cleaning required,” Jarvis says.

Natural gas fireplaces are also a popular choice for home owners. A high-end natural gas log fire costing around $5000 can add up to four or five times that amount to the value of a room renovation.

“You switch it on and within a few minutes you can feel the heat radiate, and there’s no smoke or fumes coming into the house,” says Simon Wills, director of The Heater Man.

Bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms can all be fitted with a natural gas heater, thanks to innovations in flue design. However, the living room is still the most efficient place for heating the whole house.

The living room is generally the most efficient space to install a natural gas heater. Photo: iStock

“It normally leads into a corridor, which allows heat to transfer to other parts of the house,” says Wills. “The reality is, the most economical place is in the central point in the house.”

Conveniently, natural gas fireplaces come with built-in fans, which disperse heat through the home.

Chimney flues have come a long way since the Victorian era, too. Traditionally, flues have directed the smoke and gas vertically out of the roof. But today, flues can be built in practically any direction imaginable.

“People are amazed at where you can build it. You can actually run the chimneys with modern technology down through the floor and out the side of a wall. You could almost make an island out of your fire.”

And when it comes to choosing a heater, the size of a room determines how large it should be. This is why you should consult a professional to measure your space. If the heater is too big, it will turn itself off once the room gets too hot. If it’s too small on the other hand, the area may not reach a comfortable temperature on chilly days.

When it comes to choosing a heater, the size of a room determines how large it should be. Photo: Supplied

If a larger style heater is what you like from an aesthetic point of view, however, turning the heat down is always an option.

“Quite often, we’ll install linear fires, the longer ones. Often, they’re actually too big for the space, but it just looks awesome,” says Wills.

Natural gas fireplaces can also be controlled remotely via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi via an app on your phone, so you can turn up the heat before you get home, or for a peace-of-mind check on whether the heater’s still on once you’ve left the house.

“It’s good for safety. It’s quite exciting, actually.”


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