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Style Magazine

Fireplaces for All

Oct 31, 2011 07:25AM ● By Style

Winter is around the corner and cooler temperatures draw us closer to fireplaces for comfort and ambiance.

In the market for one but don’t know where to start? Check out these options for the perfect unit that will keep your love burning all through the season.


Benefits: Attractive with the natural feel, sight and scent you’d expect from a cozy fireplace. Modern models are more efficient and help produce lower emissions than older ones.
Maintenance: One of the messier types, a wood-burning fireplace requires regular cleaning, both in the chimney and unit itself. The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District (AQMD) has funding to help Sacramento County residents replace older, more polluting units with cleaner burning, EPA-certified or equivalent units. For more information, visit
Where to Buy: The Hot Spot, Folsom, 916-608-4328,



Benefits: An aesthetically pleasing and energy-efficient alternative to other fireplaces. Clean, easy and affordable all around.
Maintenance: Like any gas appliance, there are dangers associated with having these products in the home. Schedule to have yours inspected annually by a professional, especially if you suspect a problem. Make sure the fan is working correctly and the unit is properly ventilated; always turn the gas off when cleaning to ensure safety.
Where to Buy: Sunroom Systems, Meadow Vista, 916-632-3800,



Benefits: Like gas, it’s another great alternative to wood-burning fireplaces. Enjoy the convenience of not hooking up to a gas line and using easy-to-fill pellets or inserts. Combine high efficiency, low waste and emissions with relatively low maintenance, and you’ve got a worthy contender for your purchase. Most come with self-igniters for easier usage.
Maintenance: Once or twice-yearly cleaning includes removing ash from the burn chamber and the ash pan, scraping of the burn pot, raking the ash from the heat exchanger and cleaning the glass. Lower-grade pellets will require more maintenance, so use the best fuel possible.
Where to Buy: Sierra Home Alternatives, Placerville, 530-626-6643,



Benefits: No smoke, no chimney, no gas plumbing, venting or inserts…this is definitely the cleanest and most efficient model. Simply plug in and go.
Maintenance: Virtually none. Just keep it clean and don’t overload the outlet.
Where to Buy: The Stove Connection, Loomis, 916-652-4560,



Benefits: Enjoy your outdoor space all year-round with a convenient and great looking outdoor unit. Choose from wood, gas or pellet depending on your needs.
Maintenance: See above based on kind, but outdoor units require a little more TLC, since they are often exposed to the elements.
Where to Buy: Find multiple options at the above retailers, from stand-alones to fire pits!