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Many people love the idea of relaxing in front of a fireplace on a cold winter night. The sight, smell and sound of a fire can create a relaxing ambience. While the idea of having a home with a fireplace may be appealing, the reality does not always live up to people’s expectations. The amount of heat given off, the amount of work required and the cost depends on the type of fireplace.

Wood Fireplace
A wood fireplace can create a cozy atmosphere. If the power goes out, a wood fireplace can continue to heat your home. It can also provide light and a way to cook during a power outage.

Since most of the heat produced by burning wood escapes through the chimney, a wood fireplace is not very energy efficient. A fireplace insert can increase the amount of heat that stays in the house. If the damper doesn’t close enough, the house may have drafts, which can result in high utility bills.

Embers from a fire can spread and cause nearby objects to catch fire. Curious children and pets can be seriously injured if they get too close. If you buy a house with a wood fireplace, you will need to stay close by to prevent accidents.

Smoke from a wood fireplace can release pollutants into the atmosphere. A fireplace can also release carbon monoxide and other dangerous gases inside the house.

Because of the risks and the amount of work involved, many people who buy a house with a wood fireplace only use it occasionally. The costs of cleaning, maintenance and wood may not make owning a house with a wood fireplace cost effective. 

Gas Fireplace
With a gas fireplace, you can simply press a button and instantly enjoy a cozy fire. If the house has more than one gas fireplace, you can heat only the room where you are, rather than the entire house, to save money. The fireplace can provide heat even if you lose power. 

A gas fireplace won’t produce the aroma and crackling sounds of a wood fire. On the other hand, gas fireplaces are easier to maintain than wood-burning ones. There is no ash or soot to clean, but the fireplace should still be inspected every year. 

Electric Fireplace
An electric fireplace can provide heat and light and can be used even in a small space. It can be expensive to use, however, and it won’t work during a power outage. An electric fireplace also does not look realistic.

Should You Buy a House With a Fireplace?
Many people search for a new home with a fireplace, then find that they don’t use it as much as they thought they would and realize that they spent a lot more than they expected to maintain it. If you’re thinking about buying a house with a fireplace, be realistic about how much you would use it and consider the costs and safety issues to decide whether it would be worth it.

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