On a few subs I follow on Reddit, I see people having trouble with finding a good spot for their TV, because the fireplace is in the way. I saw one guy in Texas who was afraid to remove his fireplace because it could affect his home price with up to 10%.
Is this really true? Are people in Texas willing to pay 10% more for a property that has a fireplace?
Several years back the city of San Jose was planning on outlawing fireplaces. They were going to make it necessary to sell a home in San Jose the fireplace would have to be made where it could not be used. The real estate agents organization informed the city that would responsible in lowering the value of homes sold and they would sue to reclaim that loss if the law was enacted and enforced. I think the average home was going for about $600,000 at that time. The real estate organization figured the value of a home that had it’s fireplace made unusable would drop by around $20,000 to $30,000. When the city attorney agreed with the agents that hte city would be held responsible for the loss in home value the idea was quickly dropped.
When we were looking for a new house back in 2019 we walked through lots of homes and I can’t remember seeing one without at least one fireplace, whether it was wood-burning or gas. I vaguely remember seeing one larger house that I think had 4 wood-burning fireplaces which seemed excessive. (I prefer a gas fireplace because I don’t have a steady supply of wood and I don’t like the mess of cleaning up the ashes.) Where I live there are no restrictions on fireplaces whatsoever.
I live in a cold climate and many people burn wood in the fireplace for heat. Some people also have wood-burning stoves which sit in the middle of their family room and are much more efficient than a fireplace where much of the heat goes up the chimney.
So at least around here, not having a fireplace would be a very odd thing for a house, and I would expect someone to discount a house without a fireplace by at least 10-20%. I consider a fireplace a luxury item, but many people consider it a necessity to keep their heating bills down.
Fireplaces in homes are an attractive feature but not a functional one. Most fireplaces in modern residential buildings are for cosmetic purposes only and provide essentially no heating value because they are too small with a minimum hearth or thermal mass and are typically gas that doesn’t provide as much radiant heating as wood. Even wood-burning fireplaces cannot heat more than the immediate area. A cast iron wood-burning stove can provide substantial heating value but adds no essential value to the house.
I have to agree with this; I think the reason they purportedly raise a house’s value is that they’re considered to look nice.
This really annoyed me when I was shopping for my house. I don’t have much interest in using a fireplace, but every house had one. I had to tell my realtor one of my must-haves was a living room or TV room that could be arranged such that I could have the TV low on one wall–not over a fireplace–with seating opposite. I looked at one place that was still under construction, and was going to have one of those fake elctric fireplaces. I mentioned the idea of just removing it and the realtor almost seemed annoyed, saying “if you do that I would just make sure you keep it so it can be reinstalled,” because of course she wants the house to be worth more in case she gets the chance to resell it. I wound up buying a place that has a gas fireplace, clearly intended to have a TV hung over it, but at least the room can be arranged in an alternate way such that the TV is against another wall.
I suspect this is kind of an emperor’s new clothes phenomenon. Very few people actually care about having a fireplace, but they get installed because people are willing to pay more for a house that has one, but that’s only true because they know when they sell it other people are willing to pay more for a house that has one… infinite recursion. We need to find a way to break the cycle.
Heated with wood for years. Now use a free standing propane stove for heat. We love it. Miss it in the summer but sometimes turn it on even if the room is just a little cool. We play chess and card games a LOT, and something is missing if it’s not on.
We will have a wood/propane stove wherever we move to. I’ll have it installed if needed.
Somewhat related. At my high rise apartment building in Chicago, they’ve actually taken out the gas fire place that used to be in the common area and replaced it with two private work from home windowless cubes.
I’m sure there’s a reason for this, this building has a lot of work from home people including myself. But being inside a tiny windowless cube? We do have those at the WeWork my company uses, but those are only used when I need to make calls to clients. I can do that easily in my own apartment.
We love the fireplace in our bedroom. We have a fire practically every night from October through April. It adds some warmth and we like how it looks. It does put out some heat, but that’s not its primary function for us.
According to the Department of Energy, an average home spends approximately $600 per year for heating.
What’s more, between 80 and 90 percent of the heat produced by wood burned in an open fireplace is lost up the chimney. This means that for every $100 you spend on firewood, you get only $10 to $20 worth of heat. The rest goes up the chimney. SOURCE
I also want to say I saw a Mythbusters on this (or some show) that suggested a fireplace actively cools your home. While it is warm immediately near the fireplace the fire is drawing air in and sending it up the chimney. Drawing air in that must come from outside (so cold air) it cools the house overall. (not 100% sure on that though)
But, if you are freezing to death in your home then huddling by the fireplace could keep you alive.
It seems a gas fireplace, that has no chimney (so fake logs that do not burn), is actually pretty efficient at heating. Is it the most efficient? I do not know (I’d doubt it is). But, at least, most of the heat is kept in the room and not sent up a flue to the outside.
We have one of these ventless fireplaces (with multiple carbon monoxide alarms throughout the house). One has an electric fan to push heat from around the firebox into the room. Plenty to take the chill off during winter in Phoenix.