Solid fuel is traditionally used in many original installations it must be remembered that it burns much hotter than gas or oil. Fire baskets and cast iron back panels must be robustly made otherwise they can warp or crack.
Stoves are a popular choice for many period properties although they were probably not fitted when the house was new. Easier to install and more smokeless coal for salecontrolable than a standard open fire, most stove flues will need lining which may double (or more) the cost of the installation. The flue is likely to be the correct size for solid fuel. However care must be taken in a divided property if it has served a small bedroom fireplace with limited heat output. Beware the break down of the chimney lining (sometimes known as parging - this will be evident from debris in the fireplace opening or the smell of smoke in upstairs rooms.
Lining an old flue can be done in several different ways including flexible metal liners, flue blocks and in situ concrete lining. The National Association of Chimney Lining Engineers (NACE) can advise on a local chimney engineer and the best method for your flue.
Gas is a flexible controllable fuel and the choice of product will be far wider than for solid fuel. You can choose from a vast range of products to suit every pocket and situation. Today's gas fire offers the impact of live flames, excellent heat output and complete control. Whether your choice is for a fire that creates the realism of burning coals and logs or a contemporary design with both radiant and convected heat, safety is assured via the mandatory testing that all manufacturers must comply with.
Gas fires are now being manufactured with a balanced flue or a powered flue that only require an outside wall. A recent development is the flueless fires which can be sited anywhere in the home. All are designed to look and perform like their flued equivalents and all meet the same stringent safety requirements.
Many of the natural gas fires available today are also suitable for use on liquid petroleum gas (LPG). This can be stored in either portable cylinders placed outside the house, or in purpose built tanks which will hold greater volumes of LPG. This provides the opportunity to have a gas fire where there is no mains gas.
For instant and portable warmth, there are mobile LPG room heaters. They are available in many different styles ranging from cost effective utilitarian models, to elegant flueless stoves.Also consider the range of gas stoves which are growing in both popularity and choice. Their flame effects are more realistic than ever and the controlability of their heat output ensures that you don't have to roast to get a good fire effect.
Gas flues are typically of narrower diameter than for solid fuel as gas burns at a significantly lower temperature.
Although total sales of oil appliances for the fireplace are small it is the ideal fuel if you use oil for central heating. All oil heaters must be closed appliances (you wouldn't be able to stand the smell of the fuel anyway) and oil stoves now boast the flame effects of their gas competitors.
Oil flues must be specifically designed for the fuel because it creates acidic fumes. Oil stoves also require safety cut off valves, in case of fire, together with a smokeless coal for salesupply tank close to the property. Oil stoves are probably not worth considering if you don't already burn the fuel.
Electric Fires have come a long way since the days of the two or three bar radiant fire with its curved back and on/off control. Today's products offer a host of visual effects, traditional or modern styling, thermostatically controlled heat output and even remote control.