Installing Basement Fireplaces

If you are conducted a basement finishing or renovation, you might want to consider installing basement fireplaces. A fireplace in the basement can add warmth, light and vitality to your basement. It can help transform your basement from a cold, dark place to a real functional room where your family and friends will enjoy spending time. Although there are some safety concerns to installing basement fireplaces, the process of deciding on your perfect fireplace is similar to what it would be for a fireplace in any other part of the house.

Fireplace Choices

For many homeowners, a hand-built, wood-burning masonry hearth is the top standard for fireplace design and function. Masonry fireplaces are a nice choice if you have the funds and the space in your basement to. However, a lot of people prefer the economy, ease and simplicity of prefabricated fireplaces that burn wood, wood pellets or gas.

This second type of fireplace can cost up to 80% less than a wood-burning masonry unit. If money is a consideration, installing basement fireplaces that are prefabricated can be a simple solution to your hearth problem. Prefabricated fireboxes are made of steel and look like masonry brick.

Important Considerations

If you are considering installing basement fireplaces that are pre-fabricated there are a few things you need to consider. First of all, you will need to decide how much heat you need in your basement area. For pre-fabricated fireplaces, there will be a standard BTU output listed on the fireplace label. BTU output ranges from 25,000 to 50,000 BTUs.

A fireplace that burns at 35,000 BTUs can heat a 15,000 square foot space. Gas fireplaces are the most efficient choice for your basement; they burn at 75-80 percent efficiency. You will need to make sure that you choose a direct-vent gas fireplace model for your basement so the smoke is properly vented outside of your home.

You will also have a choice of fuel when you are installing basement fireplaces. You can choose from wood, wood pellets and gas. Wood is a traditional choice, but may be cumbersome for a basement fireplace. Wood pellets require much less storage space and are less expensive than propane. Gas fireplaces are convenient.

Basement Fireplace Safety

Ventilation is the primary concern in basement fireplaces. Installing basement fireplaces requires that you choose a location that has a place to directly vent the smoke outside. You do not need to build a chimney, but you do need to a purchase a fireplace or wood-burning stove that has direct vent technology.

With direct vent technology, you will not need a chimney and the process will take just a few hours to complete. You will use a series of pipes to channel the smoke outdoors through an existing window space, or a hole that you cut yourself toward the top of the basement wall.

Installing basement fireplaces with direct vent technology relies on two pipes; a 7 inch diameter pipe with a 4 inch pipe inside. The use of two pipes in one means that there will only need to be one vent space cleared on the basement wall. The inside pipe is used for the exhaust and the outside pipe takes care of air intake.

Direct vent fireplaces do not use any air from inside the house, which is helpful in an enclosed space like a basement. Direct vents vent up a few feet and then the turn at an angle to go out the wall. They are the perfect solution for properly venting a basement fireplace.