Although it may seem too warm to even fathom the idea of installing a fireplace, now’s the time to do it.

Smart people will look into it now, before chilly nights start to set in, said Dave Petersen, an expert at Ottawa’s Home Fireplaces and Patio Inc.

“It gets so busy in the fall,” said Petersen. Although many installations can be done in one day, jobs can get backed up in the fall and winter, because “everyone wants one before Christmas,” he said.

Fireplaces give a warm feel to living rooms and family rooms, Petersen said. And while gas fireplaces remain popular, Petersen said the contemporary linear look is most popular right now.

“Instead of having fake logs, people are celebrating a gas fire,” Petersen said. “We’re still selling the more traditional fake log look, but we seem to be moving into the contemporary. Gas fires are blue, and they have crystals and stones instead of logs.”

Many of these fireplaces have reflective panels on the backs and sides to reflect the light, he added. And to complete the contemporary look, many people go for stainless steel trims.

These fireplaces can be and are installed in new and old houses for both heating and aesthetics. While a gas fireplace can run you between $5,000 and $10,000, people will see payback in the form of savings.

“People notice a decrease in their gas bill,” Petersen said. “It’s cheaper because ... it heats the area you want to be in.”

If you’re in the market for a gas fireplace, go shopping armed with information, Petersen advised.

“The more information you have, the better,” he said. “If you have a rough sketch and a floor plan of where its going to be, bring it. Know if you’re replacing a wood-burning factory unit.”
In the end, most people are pretty happy with their fireplaces.

Gas-burning units are more efficient than wood-burning units, he said. “Some of those real wood burning units are actually negative efficient.”