N.J. ó Vikki Ruisch had a fireplace in her house, but
it was in a room her family barely used. So during a
remodeling project last year, she had a fireplace built
in her heavily trafficked living room, where everyone
could enjoy it.
figured it would add value to her Woodcliff Lake, N.J.,
house, but that wasnít really an incentive. She grew
up having a fireplace in her home and just wanted one,
or two. She also had one put in the master bedroom.
donít know anyone who doesnít like a
fireplace," she said. "We use ours, especially
this winter. My husband puts the one on in the bedroom
when he gets up about an hour before me, and then itís
nice and toasty by the time I get up."
is one of many home and business owners installing
fireplaces to add ambience, warmth and financial value
to where they live and work. A fireplace can increase a
homeís value by 6 to 12 percent, according to the
National Center for Real Estate Research of Littleton,
addition to the standard stone or brick fireplaces found
in typical settings like single-family homes and ski
lodges, temporary hearths can be installed in the
tiniest of apartments and the most intimate of
fireplaces are a swiftly growing segment of the market,
targeted for apartments or other buildings where
permanent changes canít be made. Those that run on
electricity can, with the flip of a switch, heat a space
up to about 400 square feet, or, in hot weather operate
with no warming element.
manufacturer, HearthCabinet Ventless Fireplaces in New
York City, offers products that use alcohol gel
cartridges instead of electricity, said Sara Check,
marketing and sales manager for the company.
of people wanted a fireplace and didnít have a
chimney, gas line or vent," Check said. "So we
are filling a void in a niche market. The cartridges
work like a sterno canister works. You can replace the
top and then use it again."
of the drawbacks to ventless fireplaces, specifically
because there is no way to send gases outside the
building, is that they often emit an odor, similar to
the smell from an oven when it is on. But Check said
HearthCabinet throws off little, if any odor, because of
the gel cartridges it uses.
our cartridges use isopropyl alcohol, our emissions donít
really have an odor," she said.
fireplaces offer a variety of decorative options
including ceramic logs, glass tips or river stones. They
can range in size from about 24 to 42 inches wide and
stand about 24 inches high.
vent fireplaces are also growing in popularity, after
starting in restaurants and other commercial businesses,
like hotels, and are now becoming more common in homes,
said Jason Conklin, manager of KJB Fireplaces in Ramsey,
they are linear fireplaces, only about 20 inches tall
but stretch 5 or 6 feet wide," Conklin said.
single-family homes, sealed vent fireplaces, which use
gas and burn air from the outside, are more popular.
They are highly efficient at heating rooms and with a
sharp decorative door, donít look much different from
a typical fireplace, industry experts say.
ago, these werenít the greatest looking things, but
theyíve come a long way," Conklin said. "Now
they air-brush the logs to make them look real, and many
times you canít tell the difference."
Gaglione, owner of RDG Construction in Franklin Lakes,
N.J., is still partial to the standard stone-and-mortar
style. Natural stone, installed by an experienced
craftsman, makes a fireplace a true asset to a home but
is less popular because of the expense, Gaglione said.
cost is 25 percent to 30 percent more for one of these,
so the demand is limited," Gaglione said. "But
I have a passion for real construction ó they are
wood-burning fireplaces offer a slew of choices,
including brick, wood, marble, stone or a combination,
ago, wood-burning fireplaces were about 70 percent of
our business. Now theyíre about 40 percent,"
Conklin said. "People want the convenience of gas
where they can just push a button rather than having to
haul wood into their house and work to keep the fire
going. And though electric fireplaces are gaining in
popularity, theyíre only about 4 percent to 5 percent
of our business."
of the type, fireplaces are often sought by buyers, real
estate experts say.
13 percent of buyers of single-family homes had a
fireplace on their list of particular features they were
seeking. In the Northeast, that number rose to 16
percent, according to the 2013 National Association of
this area of the country, fireplaces, without a doubt,
add character and value to the house," said Emilia
Freitag of Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty in
Ridgefield, N.J. People are very excited when they see a
fireplace, especially with the winter weíve been
having. A fireplace definitely helps sell a house, and
as for adding value, you could add $1,000 to $5,000 to
the price of the house, especially if it has stone
who chose a marble fireplace for her bedroom and a
two-story stone facade for the living room, didnít
really consider any resale value.
went with gas because itís cleaner and my daughter has
asthma," Ruisch said. "It also lights and
heats up the room so much quicker than a wood-burning
one, and I can adjust the height of the flame.
Fireplaces add value to my home, but even if they didnít,
I just love having them."