In defence of fireplaces

What’s better than settling down after a long day in the cold and cosying up to your fireplace, with roaring embers set at its heart? The fireplace has ever been a mainstay of the British living room; dancing flames that release ambient heat, both practical and aesthetically pleasing no matter what décor you happen to have.

Though, the fireplace has come under a different kind of fire in recent months. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan called for a ban on wood-burning stoves in late September this year to improve air quality in developed areas. This ‘bad press’ although, only directed at areas that already have a high level of air pollution, looked to dent the credibility of the efficiency of fireplace appliances. Though there are many, Khan took aim at the wood-burning stove variety.

This comes at a time when central heating is a prevalent and main method of warming our homes which, in some cases, ushered the fireplace to the sidelines. Despite this, not all is as it seems. Many fireplace appliances can offer up to 99% heat efficiency.

So, we must ask the question; are fireplaces a ‘good’ source of heat? The simple answer, in most cases is: yes.

In fact, in recent years the technology behind modern day fireplace appliances are both economically and environmentally sound. By using high quality components and bespoke fireplaces in tandem with a modern appliance, it is not difficult to achieve higher efficiency levels.

According to the trade body Stove Industry Alliance (SIA), the industry has made a lot of advancement over the last 10 years, reducing potentially harmful particle emissions by more than 80% with the development of new Eco-design stoves. And as of 2022, this efficiency will only increase manufacturers will have to align with even tighter EU regulations.

Look out for the Ecodesign Ready label, part of a SIA initiative and supported by HETAS. The mark is awarded to wood burning products that meet EU regulations.  Manufacturers who are active members of the initiative include the likes of Charlton & Jenrick, Stovax, Pure Vision plus more leading brands.

It is then, entirely possible to enjoy the primal delights of gathering around your fireplace as the focal point of your home, safe in the knowledge that your favorite heating appliance is no serious threat to the environment. Importantly, you can enjoy all the pleasures of a high-quality stone fireplace, resplendent with your choice of appliance, without worrying about falling victim to future imposed air quality laws.

According to Dawn Carritt, a historic home expert and director of Jackson-Stops & Staff, “The fireplace is the fingerprint of the house,” as well as being a thing of unique identity and taste on display as the focal point of your room, the fireplace can also add, “Anything from £5,000 to £10,000 to the value of your home.” A finely etched stone fireplace, and perhaps much, much more.