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Consider converting your existing fireplace

With the days getting shorter and temperatures colder, nothing beats the emanating warmth of a fireplace to shake off the chill.

If you have an existing zero-clearance fireplace, you might want to consider converting it to gas to create an environment that’s cozier — and more efficient.

"By using a direct vent gas insert, it creates more efficiency and warmth in the home and there’s no heat loss going up the chimney," says Helen Peters, co-owner of Classic Fireplaces.

"It’s very efficient, especially this time of year when you have a drafty space in your fireplace. You can just block it off with something that’s really appealing and warm at the same time — and it basically gives you some returns for your dollar."

Depending on the size of the inside of your fireplace, conversion is typically an ideal option for any wood-burning or masonry units.

"We start with the basic inside measurements of the existing firebox to determine what would fit inside, so it’s important that we have that information," Peters says.

"If a gas unit won’t fit in, then electric probably will. You can do either one."

The average cost of installing a gas conversion is around $4,000 to $5,000. For electric, the price tag is usually around $1700.00-$2000.00 but you also get less heat. We can also convert to high efficient wood-burning inserts in masonry fireplaces only, not zero clearance wood-burning fireplaces.

Adding to the advantages of gas fireplaces, these units could come in handy — and even be lifesavers — if your power goes out in the depths of winter.

"The gas fireplace can also be used in the event of a power outage and you would still have heat," Peters says. "It’s a very practical thing to have, especially if there’s a storm." To get started with the process, all you have to do is make note of the inside measurements of your existing fireplace. Then you can take these measurements to an industry expert such as Classic Fireplaces for further guidance.

"Pictures of the fireplace are also very helpful so we can know what the clients are talking about," Peters says. "That way, we can point them in the right direction to choose the product, and price it for them. Then if they want to follow through, we can proceed from there and confirm everything with a site visit. We pretty much take care of the rest."

It’s easy to make time to schedule the fireplace conversion, since the whole process only takes about one day to complete.

And with winter winds on the way, there’s no time like the present to create a cozy and attractive atmosphere in your home.

"This is a great time of year to do a fireplace conversion," Peters adds. "Everyone who does it always wonders why they waited so long."

Classic Fireplaces is a locally owned and operated family business that specializes in complete package installations that can be customized to your style and design. You can visit their showroom at 649 Archibald St., call 204-237-4509 or visit their website at www.classicfireplaces.ca

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