Home improvement

Beautiful Fireplaces as Accents for Modern Homes

Some states in the United States prohibit the use of a fireplace or any wood-burning appliance. This is in pursuant to anti-pollution laws. In the same manner, there are also places where burning wood is prohibited in existing fireplaces. There are a lot of alternatives to wood-burning fireplaces, and these are more practical as well as more efficient. However, antique fireplace surrounds are aesthetically appealing and are great conversation starters. These may not be in use and may not be fully functional, but these mantelpieces stand out for their beauty and charm.

Mantels and Fireplaces

Fireplaces are not the most efficient heat sources for the home. There are several reasons for this, as well as some other inefficiencies related to wood-burning heaters and stoves. A fireplace is not able to radiate heat. Most of the heat goes up the chimney, and the focal point of heat radiation is the hearth. When using a fireplace, the warmest part of the room is near the mantel, while the nooks and corners stay cold.

Another source of inefficiency is the wood. For efficient burning, the best fuel is coal, which is more expensive than wood. Wood has to be dried before it can be used. Wood is chopped and stacked to dry. After a few days or weeks, it is ready to be used in the fireplace. Without thoroughly drying wood, the ensuing fire would produce a lot of smoke.

Centralized heating has made fireplaces obsolete. Modern heating systems bring the heat to every part of the room without producing any pollution within the home.

The tradition of having a fireplace continues, however, because a mantel looks better than a heater. The mantel serves as a focal point for the living room, or wherever guests are entertained. Most modern homes still have fireplaces because of their chic and classy appearance. Even though the fireplace is no longer used to generate heat, homeowners keep the mantel and antique fireplace surrounds, the false hearth, and even the fireplace screen for its appearance.

Local Regulations

There is no direct law prohibiting wood-burning fireplaces. If the fireplace already exists in an old house, it is not deemed illegal. However, if the house is being built, it is covered under the existing laws on pollution. These include different state legislation in Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, and Vermont. There are also some local laws mostly in California that disallow the construction of wood-burning fireplaces and wood stoves.

Red and Green Days

In Multnomah County, local laws were passed. They specify when wood can be burned. Wood can be burned in wood stoves, outdoor fire pits, chimeneas, and fireplaces. Those who cannot afford other forms of heating are allowed to use the above and burn wood. These laws were instituted due to the air pollution in the county where wood burning is considered one of the primary pollutants. Considering the well-being of its community, the county informs the citizens about the current air quality. The county designates “red days” as those when wood burning is prohibited. When the air quality is good on a particular day, the citizens are informed that it is a “green day.”

Homeowners can abide by existing laws and keep the environment safe but still keep their beautiful fireplaces. Besides being a great conversation starter, having a fireplace evokes feelings of warmth and comfort – something every host wants his guests to feel the minute they walk inside.

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Reed Hamilton

Mason Reed Hamilton: Mason, a political analyst, provides insights on U.S. politics, election coverage, and policy analysis.