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Fireplaces - Warming with Wood
When it comes to warming a home and creating a homey atmosphere, there is nothing better than a fireplace burning rich wood. Just the appearance of the orange, yellow, and red flames and glittering embers creates a magical setting. Then when you hear the snap, crackle of the wood, and catch a whiff of the smoke, something amazing happens.

Homes with a fireplace have something special. During those colder fall and winter months, you can sit back and relax in the warmth of your home created by a glowing fire. Best of all, many of the designs available today are elegant and sophisticated. You can choose from a fireplace design that is simplistic or one that is over the top in ornamental style. No matter what style your home, you will be amazed at the huge selection of options available.

Many of the designs are so elegant that it is hard to believe you are looking at a fireplace. For instance, you will find arched bay windows that are trimmed in 24-karat gold. This particular style is excellent for large rooms so you can see directly into the fire from any place in the room. There are even fireplaces that have cook-top surfaces so you can boil a kettle of water or even cook smaller meals. Many people love the elegance yet simplicity all rolled into one magnificent fireplace.

When you use a wood-burning fireplace, you also help lower the cost of your utility bills. To ensure your fireplace is top quality and meets safety standards, the US Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) takes the responsibility of certifying wood stoves, inserts, and fireplaces. This means that you get the most out of the burning wood, have clean air, and enjoy a warm home without paying a fortune.

If building a home, you need to be sure to have the fireplace placed where it will generate the most heat throughout as many rooms as possible.

The size of fireplace you choose is also an important factor. You need to determine the amount of heat you want generated from wood and how much from your furnace. Keep in mind that just because you buy the biggest fireplace on the market does not mean it is the best fireplace. A fireplace that is under fired will perform poorly and you risk overheating the house.

The type of wood that will be burned in your fireplace should also be considered. The best wood to burn is anything that falls in the hardwood category such as beech, maple, ash, and oak. Just be sure it has been dried for a minimum of one year for the best results. The drier the wood, the hotter the fire and cleaner it will burn. If you try burning sappy or soft wood such as pine, you will end up with a fire that is not hot enough to do any good and you risk having a buildup in your chimney.

Be sure you keep the logs stacked along the bottom and to the back of the firebox along with kindling, paper, or embers toward the front, which is where the air comes in. Additionally, leave space between the top log and the secondary log for appropriate oxygen.

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