Can (And Should) You Install A Fireplace In Your Basement?

If you've spent years trying to create a cozy rec room or family room in your home's basement, you may find that even the most comfortable furniture and up-to-date television and surround sound system isn't enough to lure your family members into what may be the coldest part of your house. Space heaters can sometimes do the trick, but may have a significant impact on your winter utility bills. Can -- and should -- you install a fireplace instead? Read on to learn more about the installation of a fireplace in your home's basement.

Can wood-burning fireplaces be installed below-grade? 

While you may assume that a wood-burning fireplace will require the construction of a full chimney, in many cases, these fireplaces (like gas ones) are able to ventilate smoke and excess heat through a stovepipe in the outer wall, rather than a chimney that runs to the roof. This can allow wood-burning fireplaces to be built on any level of a home, from the basement to the second story or higher. 

For those who are reluctant to commit to a wood-burning fireplace, a natural gas or propane-powered fireplace can be a viable alternative for basement rooms. These fireplaces usually include their own vents, which, in most cases, can be installed with minimal effort. 

What should you consider before installing a fireplace in your basement? 

Fireplaces can add both literal and figurative warmth to a gathering area and may improve your home's resale value -- however, there are still some factors you'll want to give careful consideration to before taking the plunge. 

The first is where you'd like the fireplace to be located. For ventilation purposes, a corner fireplace or one installed on an exterior (load-bearing) wall is usually best; this allows smoke or fumes to be ventilated straight out from the fireplace without running additional piping through your ceilings or floors. If you don't have a long or flat enough surface on any of your exterior walls, you may want to consider non-ventilated options like an electric fireplace.

Another factor you'll want to take into account before installing a fireplace is your ability to quickly recoup costs. While most fireplaces will add to (rather than detract from) your home's value, you don't want to sink tens of thousands of dollars into this addition to find that it only adds a few hundred dollars to your home's resale value. You may want to scope out some real estate listings and recently sold homes in your neighborhood to see how many of these homes have fireplaces and whether this feature seems to impact the listing price set by the owners. 

Contact a company like Karl Mattes Co Inc to learn more about installing fireplaces.

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