Home is where the hearth is
Written by Admin
People love (controlled) fires. Ever since cave families gathered to bond and brag and hide out from wild beasts, humans have sought the comfort of fire. According to Greek legends, the Titan Prometheus pitied mortals because they lacked fur so he stole an ember from the sacred hearth on Olympus and carried it down to earth. After that, humans felt happier and warmer.
Although cheerful facsimiles such as burning log videos and electric blazes satisfy some, others crave real flames. Fortunately, presentday homeowners have plenty of options. To help fulfill our “burning love,” Randy Siedleski, owner of Prairie Fireplaces on King Edward Street, likes to enlighten folks about his fine products and trained staff who install and service the latest fire technology.
Siedleski says, “Wood stoves are still popular with cottagers and rural people, but gas fireplaces and stoves outsell wood-burning units nine to one.” He believes it’s because most people don’t want the mess and storage problems of bulk wood. Although firewood can be purchased in Winnipeg, it’s just easier to find logs in the country.
Despite their time-honoured past, woodburning units have rocketed into the space age. Made from solid cast iron and fitted with air-tight seals, these aren’t your grandma’s stoves. Gleaming baked-on finishes and eye-catching forms range from Victorian ornateness to Scandinavian towers fitted with three sides of glass. They act like pieces of fine furniture, while guaranteeing years of energy-efficiency. Homeowners who also prefer the traditional look, perhaps to suit their decor, can choose gas stoves that resemble wood units, but without the hassles.
Another nostalgic choice is the woodburning fireplace. Like wood stoves, they’ve evolved from air-sucking relics into super-stylish heat sources. Equipped with fans, thick glass, and gaskets, their energy efficiency is far superior nowadays. Although some people like to surround their fireplaces with carved mantles, bricks, and stone faces, Siedleski says “linear looks are the latest trend. Customers like sleek and unadorned, with burnished metal frames.”
Siedleski says his biggest seller is the gas fireplace and estimates 90 per cent of new homes have installed one. He says, “People want their fires instant and neat, as easy as turning a switch. You clean the glass once a year and get it inspected when you get your gas furnace checked.”
When asked about installations in rural areas, beyond gas lines, Siedleski says gas units can be converted to propane. Also, they don’t need elaborate chimneys and require only a flexible aluminum “pipe inside a pipe” which can be vented to outside walls. As with wood fireplaces, gas fireplaces are now fitted within sleek minimalist designs – no elaborate frames or mantles. Siedleski adds, “People don’t even want fake logs.” As for the actual fire, cooler orange flames get mixed with hotter blues so the gas mixtures get tweaked, for appearance’s sake.
Happier and warmer? Prometheus had it right. The downside? Zeus punished him severely for stealing the ember. And thus this Greek tale teaches us about fire’s double nature – its great comforts come with hazards. So consult an expert, to find the fire you desire.