Imagine how content your ancestors must have felt to gather around the fire at the end of the day, long before electric light would ever cut through the darkness. This primordial pleasure is no less enjoyable today – all you need is a fireplace.

As one of the Twin Cities and St. Cloud area’s leading fireplace builders, we’re proud to help people cozy up just like they used to back in the day. If you call us and ask for a fireplace, we will ask you which kind of fireplace you would like. If you say you’re uncertain, we’ll happily guide you through your options. But if you read this quick guide to the four kinds of fireplaces for your home, you’ll be in a much better position to tell us what you’re after!

Wood Burning Fireplaces

Open-Hearth Fireplace

This is the kind of fireplace your ancestors most likely enjoyed – a large alcove built into the masonry where a wood fire can crackle and pop. Nothing can match an open-hearth fireplace’s ambiance, but that charm comes at a great cost: Up to 90% of the heat generated by an open-hearth fireplace will go right out the chimney, and it bleeds heat even when a fire isn’t burning. Make certain your open-hearth fireplace has an effective seal around its damper to cut down on heating and cooling costs!

Enclosed Fireplace

True to its name, this indoor fireplace is partitioned off from the room by a large glass panel. The panel does more than prevent a wet piece of wood from sparking and scattering embers across the nearby floor. The tightly sealed door also causes wood to burn at a far slower rate, increasing the fireplace’s efficiency to as high as 80%. Homes with curious children and careless cats also do well with enclosed fireplaces for obvious reasons.

Wood Stove

A wood stove is a fireplace in spirit only. It conveniently does away with the need for masonry (although a vent pipe is needed unless you aren’t concerned about smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning). Wood stoves can save you money on logs, as modern ones can be as high as 85% efficient. They’re also useful for cooking, even if they weren’t specifically designed for that purpose. But do take care that these large, heavy iron things get extremely hot while in use, and also require special flooring beneath them.

Gas Burning Fireplaces

Direct Vent

A direct vent gas fireplace takes air exclusively from the outdoors in order to fuel its fire. This seals any potentially unhealthy byproducts of combustion away from your home’s interior. In short, you can breathe easily around a direct vent fireplace. You can also stay warm affordably, as a direct vent fireplace can achieve up to 70% efficiency. This fireplace’s yellow flames do make it look more like a traditional cozy fireplace, although it quite naturally needs a chimney or a pipe in order to draw in oxygen.


In contrast to a direct vent fireplace, a ventless gas fireplace draws in the air it needs to fuel its fire from the interior of the home. It will also expel its exhaust back into the home, however, which is why it’s so crucial to have a carbon monoxide detector installed alongside a ventless fireplace. (A carbon monoxide detector with an automatic shutoff feature is ideal.) But this type of fireplace is easy to install without the need for any kind of ventilation, and it’s more efficient than vented fireplaces because it gives heat no passage to escape the house.

Ethanol Burning Fireplaces

Ethanol fireplaces can quickly go into any existing fireplace, but they can also be mounted on the wall in any room you choose. These versatile fireplaces are clean-burning, easy to install, and affordable. They’re also environmentally friendly – at the expense of generating less heat than wood or gas burning alternatives.

Electric Fireplaces

The beauty of electric fireplaces is that you don’t need a service like Angell’s Construction to enjoy them. Unpack its box, plug it into the wall, turn it on, and voila – your electric fireplace is rocking and rolling. The electric fireplace’s greatest shortcoming is its lack of personality; this is effectively a space heater with very obviously fake flickering flames. An electric fireplace would certainly have impressed your ancestors, but they might still want the real thing!

Whatever kind of home you’ve got, consider Angell’s Construction your go-to source for affordable and high-quality fireplace design and installation. Please contact us today – we would love to know more about how we can help create warmth and ambiance in your home with a brand new fireplace!