The inhabited parts of Australia are largely within 50km of any beach, which means the weather is largely tropical. Sunshine most of the year, showers in the summer, and a ‘warm winter’ that rarely goes below 15°C. Still, we love our fireplaces. It’s a habit we acquired, and has become a matter of prestige and décor. More than your sofa (or even your TV), your fireplace is the centerpiece of your living space. You could opt for a linear gas fireplace in Sydney.
They sit flush against the wall without using up floor-space, so they work well for smaller rooms. You can use them in larger rooms too. Certain models stretch several metres across, like the Probuilder 72 or the Jetmaster linear, which are almost 2m wide. These modern linear fireplaces mimic the appeal of wood furnaces, complete with realistic-looking artificial logs. Some even use Opti-Myst and related technology to produce authentic imitations of crackling and smoke.
These are stationary options though, so if you prefer something a little more … independent, you may be better off shopping for a free-standing fireplace. Depending on their size, positioning, and design, they offer several benefits over the standard in-built, insert, or hearth. The largest advantage – especially for smaller models – is portability. If you have a little foot-warmer or desk-top heater, you can move it from room to room, lowering your heating bills.
Portability and convenience
Some fireplaces even have little wheels on their bottoms (called castors), similar to the ones on suitcases. So if you live on your own, rather than heating the whole house, you can simply tug your little furnace with you. Sometimes, even a bigger fireplace can have these wheels, like the Bromic Tungsten with its modular height and wavy free-standing design. Or try the Kingavon BB-PG150, which also has castors, but is powered by gas.
Another advantage of free-standing heaters is functionality. Some fireplaces can double as a cook-stop. For example, the Esse Hybrid has twin set-ups which look almost identical, except one side is electric and the other is wood fueled. Both sides have a cooktop, grills, and ovens. You can load the wood side with logs when the kitchen is a little chilly, even if you’re not actually cooking. And you can heat water on it too, using its optional boiler function.
The Esse Hybrid is a gorgeous addition to your kitchen. Despite its modern fixtures, it has a traditional design which looks straight out of a rustic English parlour. The outer body is powder-coated enamel available in a rainbow of colours. So this particular hybrid heater offers both functional and aesthetic services. It’s easy to light, easy to clean, bringing warmth, beauty, (and yummy food) to your kitchen.
The average built-in fireplace sends heat out in one direction, though it can be connected to a duct and flue system if you’d like to warm other sections of the house. You can also order a double-sided or triple sided in-built. These are great for installing in connecting walls, pillars, or open-plan spaces. Because they have glass panels on more than one side, the heat spreads further using the same amount of fuel.
They can be expensive to install though, because you need a skilled technician that can ensconce it into the wall without bringing the whole house down. Plus, you need that connecting wall to begin with … or else you’ll have to construct some kind of firebox or mantel. A free-standing fireplace achieves this in a faster, easier, cheaper way. Just move it wherever you want it, and it will offer 360° heating. You could even have multiple smaller units spread around the room.
This may seem like unnecessary expense, but several small free-standing heaters are still likely to cost less than a single massive multi-sided one. The listing price is lower, but you’ll also avoid the labour costs of installation. Just be careful when you’re buying a free-standing heater. Get one with anti-tip features, to prevent it from falling over and causing a fire hazard.
Also, whenever possible, your flame or heat source should be enclosed inside a case or glass. It’s a common feature for inserts and in-builts, but can add further protection for portable fireplaces. Moving it from room to room exposes your free-standing furnace to more flammable materials, whether it’s your clothes, the curtains, or bits of paper blown by the breeze.
You could avoid this mess by picking a more heavy-duty free-standing unit, like the Cypress of Greenfield GS2. They have a traditional look and glass on three sides, for optimal multi-directional heating. But they’re more on the bulky side, so while you can migrate their position, you probably won’t, and this lowers your home’s susceptibility to accidental fires.