HPBA: Innovations Redefine The Contemporary North American Fireplace

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New mountable fireplaces, high design woodstoves, and ingenious outdoor fire features are just a few of the many advances in the fireplace industry.

In recent years, the hearth industry has introduced revolutionary innovations including gas fireplaces that mount directly to the wall. Photo: Sólas, LLC

"...fireplaces are making appearances in kitchens, baths and other private rooms of the house," says Jack Goldman, president and CEO of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association.

While the origins of the modern day fireplace may date back to the 11th century, it has just been in recent years that the hearth industry has ushered in a wide array of groundbreaking innovations that make the addition or renovation of a fireplace quite simple, according to Jack Goldman, president and CEO of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA).

“Today’s fireplaces cater to the specific needs and wants of the homeowner,” says Goldman. Specifically he refers to contemporary, see-through fireplaces that warm multiple rooms; prefabricated gas fireplaces that mount directly to the wall; and electric fireplaces that both look realistic and can really put out the heat.

Goldman, who notes that October is National Fireplace Month, says that a decade ago, generally only the wealthy would have considered having more than one fireplace in the house. “There are a wide variety of new products on the market today that can fit any budget and style.”

Goldman says that today gas and electric fireplaces are installed for aesthetics and mood as well as heating purposes. “Architects have embraced the long, sleek horizontal fireplaces and are incorporating them into their contemporary designs.” Equally exciting, he says, are two-sided fireplaces. “When you consider the visual impact and benefit of a two-sided fireplace, the extra expense associated with it seems relatively low.”

Goldman says that second and third fireplaces are being installed in existing homes–sometimes for the calming effect they evoke. Specifically, he refers to gas and electric fireplaces that can be mounted directly to the wall, which in some cases do not require venting. “Because of this, fireplaces are making appearances in kitchens, baths and other private rooms of the house.”

Even wood burning fireplaces have updated style, including glass doors that heat more efficiently and make for a handsome presentation. Similarly, woodstoves have been redesigned for greater efficiency, cleaner burning and are available in a wide array of styles ranging from traditional to ultra-contemporary.

Goldman says that hearth-related innovations are not limited to home interiors. Outdoor fireplace kits using traditional masonry or pre-engineered masonry products range in design from simple to majestic. The gas-fueled fire pit has also been given a new stage with its integration into the design of patio furniture and other outdoor architectural features.

The HPBA website includes a Hearth Gallery of images, depicting these and other innovations on its Consumer Information tab. HPBA, based near Washington, DC, is North America’s leading advocate for manufacturers, retailers, distributors and allied associates of fireplace, stove, heater, barbecue, and outdoor living appliances. Learn more at hpba.org.

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