Zero-Clearance Fireplaces are pre-manufactured fireplaces where the unit or firebox can be placed almost directly against combustible materials like wood, walls, or paneling. Because they can be placed almost directly against combustible materials, this eliminates the need for a buffer zone and allows the fireplace to fit into much smaller openings. This is because the construction and materials of the firebox on a Zero-Clearance Fireplace are made of materials that do not allow the outside of the fireplace to get hot enough to burn other materials. Zero-Clearance Fireplaces do not require a hearth in order to function properly.
There are a lot of benefits to heating your home with a Zero-Clearance Fireplace. Aside from the fact that they can be placed directly against or within a couple inches of combustible materials, Zero-Clearance Fireplaces use less space than traditional fireplaces which allows builders and homeowners a variety of placement options.
Since Zero-Clearance Fireplaces do not require complex masonry work to shield other combustible materials from exposure to heat, the installation time is much quicker than that of a traditional fireplace. The fact that Zero-Clearance Fireplaces don't require a massive masonry structure also makes them considerably less expensive to install.
Another important benefit of using a Zero-Clearance Fireplace is that with recent technology advances, Zero-Clearance Fireplaces have been proven to be quite efficient. Often much more than a traditional open fireplace which means less heat and energy is wasted up and out the chimney. Some Zero-Clearance Fireplace models are said to be up to 70 percent efficient.
Although few and far between there are a couple of drawbacks that come along with using a Zero-Clearance Fireplace. Since Zero-Clearance Fireplaces do not require a hearth or brick around them, the authentic old fashioned look of the fireplace isn't there. Also, if a Zero-Clearance Fireplace isn't done correctly, it can look fake, tacky and overly modern. But if the Zero-Clearance Fireplace is done correctly, it will be a reliable heat source and create a warm welcoming atmosphere.
Zero-Clearance Fireplaces are available in a variety of styles and sizes. While today's busy life style favors the simplicity of a gas based fireplace, Zero-Clearance Fireplaces are also available in wood burning, pellet burning, and electric models as well. Each style of fireplace whether it be a wood burning, gas, or pellet burning Zero-Clearance Fireplace will require its own specifically designed venting system. This of course excludes the electric fireplace which doesn't require a venting system. The majority of Zero-Clearance Fireplace models use a system of ducts and vents that circulate air in and out.
Placing your Zero-Clearance Fireplace in a place that makes sense is an important detail as it will naturally be the focal point of the home. With Zero-Clearance Fireplaces, choosing the right types of accessories like fireplace doors, screens, mantels, and other decorations surrounding the fireplace will add to the realism of the fireplace and complement the home's interior.
Most Zero-Clearance Fireplaces have glass doors. Some models like the high efficiency Zero-Clearance Fireplace models for example, are designed to operate with the glass doors closed while the fire is lit. Other Zero-Clearance Fireplace models can operate with the glass doors open. Many conventional Zero-Clearance Fireplace models have glass doors to reduce heat loss when there is no fire and should be left open when the fire is lit.
One thing to look for when purchasing a Zero-Clearance Fireplace is the size of the firebox opening on the fireplace. The size of the firebox should be relative to the size of the room that it will be placed in. The general rule of thumb is for every foot of room space, approximately an inch should be added to the width of the firebox opening. If you choose a Zero-Clearance Fireplace with an opening that is too big, you will end up spending a lot of extra money on your energy bill. If the opening is too small, it will not provide adequate heating for the room.