Villa Blog

Choosing the Best Fireplace for Your Home

The Right Fireplace Can Transform Your Living Space


Fireplaces SonomaOn a cold, chilly night, there’s nothing better than curling up in front of a warm toasty fire. The warmth on your face, the glow of the flames, it all adds to a comfortable and welcoming ambiance to your home. If you are looking to update your current fireplace or stove or add a new fireplace to your home you want to be sure it is safe and energy efficient.

While we love the look, smell and sound of a real wood-burning fireplace can bring, it is becoming harder and harder to enjoy a wood-burning fireplace in Northern California. Wood-burning fireplaces are notorious sources of airborne particles, and the EPA is steadily refining and reducing the allowable emission standards.

When choosing your ideal fireplace, insert or stove, there are many things to consider that will help you find the best fit for your lifestyle and home. Will your fireplace’s primary function be to provide heat, or is it more about creating a visual design focal point adding to the ambiance and mood of your home or most frequently both heat and aesthetics? Whatever your choice, there is a fireplace to suit your taste and lifestyle while adding that special touch to your home.


Gas Fireplaces, Inserts & Stoves

Fireplace Sonoma CountyGas fireplaces are a favorite as they are clean and efficient. No wood pile or wood pellets are needed to power your clean-burning, efficient gas fireplace. You don’t ‘make a fire’ you ‘turn it on’.

Modern gas fireplaces use a bi-directional flue technology called ‘Direct Vent’. Think of a direct vent flue as a ‘pipe within a pipe’ – one brings required air needed for combustion in from outside, the other is for flue gas to be exhausted from the home. Some readers may have experienced ‘vent free’ fireplaces in other places – vent-free fireplaces have no chimney or flue. These are thought by many, including us, to be unsafe, and furthermore, they are illegal in the state of California.

Fireplaces SonomaOne of the biggest draws of a gas fireplace is the wonderful radiant heat they provide and the realistic hearth flame without the inconvenience of wood and the mess, spiders, and work that wood brings. The heat supply is constant – even if the power fails! With the click of a button on your remote control, your fireplace can be easily be turned on or off.

Many gas fireplaces even have a thermostat function, so can serve as the primary heat source for a home. With the wide variety of sizes and styles, the gas fireplace unit is a continuing trend that offers the homeowner an affordable option. Look for models that have an Annual Fuel Utilization (AFUE) rating; the higher the rating, the higher the efficiency.

However, many people are tired of dealing with their temperamental existing wood-burning fireplace, or the fact there are so many days it’s illegal to use it, like Thanksgiving. In this case, we offer many models of gas inserts to make this conversion. A gas insert slips right inside your existing fireplace and updates it into a modern, efficient direct-vent gas heating appliance. They look wonderful, can heat your whole house, and become your favorite place to lounge.


Wood Fireplaces, Inserts & Stoves

Sonoma FireplacesNothing beats the sounds, smells, and warmth of a roaring fire! The flicker of the dancing flames and the smell of burning wood cozy up any room. However, environmental restrictions in California frequently limit your use of a wood-burning fireplace. The local Bay Area Air Quality District declares ‘Spare the Air Days’, days in which it is illegal to burn wood. There are more of these days each year!

The Air Quality District passed this wood burning regulation to limit harmful emissions from wood smoke. The winter Spare the Air alert season runs from November 1 through end of February. Gas fireplaces have no such limitations! In our experience people with gas fireplaces uses them much more than they used their previous wood fireplaces.

Wood burning fireplaces for Northern California are currently required to meet EPA-Phase 2 emissions standards. EPA Phase 3 standards are on the immediate horizon. Villa Terrazza features Regency Fireplace products, and all of their new wood burning products already meet or exceed EPA’s Phase 3 emission standard.

fireplaces SonomaWhether you are updating or adding a fireplace to your home, you have many options and styles. Be sure to ask yourself if your unit is decorative or performance based. Performance based fireplaces are both aesthetically pleasing in design and ‘heater-rated’, to effectively heat your living space. Decorative units are simply add the beauty and grace of a real flame. A good example of this is a simple gas log-set to replace the log-lighter in your existing masonry fireplace. Whatever your style and need is, we have a fireplace to fit any style, design and home.

Be sure to view all the wonderful options for fireplaces at our Villa Terrazza website or better yet, come to Sonoma, visit some wineries and stop by our showroom to see our wonderful selection of gas fireplaces and wood fireplaces. A new fireplace, fireplace insert or stove can transform your living space, let us show you how.