We are deep into the British winter and you have no doubt noticed if your current fire is not quite cutting it on the heating front. If you are thinking about installing a new fire, or perhaps adding a fireplace to a room that does not currently have one, this article will give you a brief overview of the mains types on the market and the pros and cons of each.

Gas fires

Everyone is familiar with the traditional gas fire - that often-unattractive box-like fixture on the wall that was everywhere in the 1970s and 80s. Times have changed, however, and today's stylish gas fires will enhance any home. Gas fires start at very reasonable prices and are easy to use and clean, and are energy efficient. They remain extremely popular with homeowners and are a great way to add a cosy ambiance to a room when you want to go some way towards recreating the look and feel of a real open fire.

Electric fires

These are very straightforward to use - all models can simply be plugged into an standard electrical socket for minimal fuss. Modern electric fires can be very attractive and are often a good budget option if money is an issue.

Wood burning stoves

Something of a halfway house between electric and gas fires and a traditional open fireplace, a wood burning stove is an increasingly popular option for homeowners. A stove will offer considerable heat if used correctly and will add a cosy, cottage-style feel to any home. While they are fairly simple to use, you will have to ensure you have a ready supply of suitable wood to hand and somewhere to store it ahead of use. They do need some cleaning and maintenance, but are generally cleaner than open fires.

Open fires

Whether you prefer logs or coal, there is nothing quite like an open fire in the depths of winter. They add instant heat, atmosphere and an attractive focal point to your room; however, they do come with some downsides. They can be messy & are inefficient and you may struggle to keep a decent sized fire going for any length of time if you lack experience. You will need to ensure you have your chimney professionally swept by a chimney sweep regularly, as failing to do so can cause problems and even chimney fires.