Everything You Need to Know about Zero-Clearance Fireplaces
If you are hunting for a fireplace, you have probably come across references to zero-clearance fireplaces or ZC fireplaces. You may have pieced together that it is a type of prefabricated fireplace. You might still be wondering, “What sets zero-clearance fireplaces apart from other types of fireplaces?” “Why does everyone keep recommending them?”
We know how confusing it can be when people throw around lingo you aren’t familiar with. It is hard to feel confident making decisions about a new home improvement projects when you feel out of your depth. That is why we have put together this guide with everything you need to know about zero-clearance fireplaces.
What is a zero-clearance fireplace?
A zero-clearance fireplace is a type of pre-manufactured fireplace that has been designed to be highly efficient and fit into spaces where a traditional fireplace could not.
Masonry fireplaces and traditional prefabricated fireplaces require a buffer zone between the fireplace and combustible materials like drywall or paneling to prevent the risk of a house fire. While this requirement is necessary to protect your home, it can limit where you are able to install a fireplace. ZC fireplaces are different. They have been designed so that they can be safely installed next to combustible materials.
The reason that ZC fireplaces don’t require a buffer zone is because the outside of the firebox is insulated. This insulation prevents the fireplace from overheating and damaging or igniting the combustible materials around it. As a result, zero-clearance fireplaces can be installed in almost any place in your home. Wall-mounted, zero-clearance fireplaces that are placed directly into the wall of a room are especially popular.
While you might expect these fireplaces to only be gas burning, you can find wonderful wood burning models as well.
Why are ZC fireplaces popular?
Zero-clearance fireplaces offer many benefits for homeowners, which is why they are becoming the most sought after type of fireplace. These are the top 3 reasons why homeowners choose a ZC fireplace:
Affordability & Easy to Installation
Adding a masonry fireplace to your home is a big home improvement project. It can be as inconvenient as it is expensive. A traditional fireplace has to be built from the foundation up through hours of brick laying. It is a renovation project that requires both deep pockets and patience. Building codes often dictate how tall the chimney should be, where it can be placed and even how big the firebox can be. You might end up with a different fireplace than the one you imagined.
In contrast, zero-clearance fireplaces are affordably priced. Since they are already built to be up to code, you won’t have to worry about unexpected changes to the size or design. A large renovation isn’t required. A zero-clearance fireplace can be quickly installed by a fireplace expert.
A masonry fireplace can have as low as a 7% efficiency rating which means that most of the heat it produces escapes up the chimney. Even during the summer, it can increase your energy bills because it will allow more cool air to escape up the chimney.
In contrast, zero-clearance fireplaces have efficiency ratings between 70% and 90%. Along with producing significantly more heat, their airtight doors and closed combustion design prevent air from escape through the exhaust pipe. A zero-clearance fireplace can decrease your energy costs by up to 40%.
Give us a call at (203) 544-8111 if you would like to learn more about zero-clearance fireplaces. We would be happy to explain more about the installation process or even setup a time for an in-person consultation at your home. If you would like to see a selection of zero-clearance fireplaces, stop by our showroom in Wilton, CT, off Route 7.