Indoor-Outdoor Fireplace Pros and Cons

An outdoor-indoor fireplace is designed for use on either side, as the name suggests. They seamlessly integrate the indoor and outdoor spaces. The fireplace is a unique design that is installed to make the home luxurious. Installing an indoor-outdoor fireplace may be beneficial for some people and complicated for others. Are indoor-outdoor fireplaces worth the hype?

Indoor-outdoor fireplaces are energy efficient, and are the best way to save space and increase the value of the home. On the other hand, an indoor-outdoor fireplace has some disadvantages; It is costly to install and maintain, not suitable for all house designs, generates less heat, and has a lot of smoke issues.

Are indoor-outdoor fireplaces efficient?

Backyard Fire Pit Designs
Backyard Fire Pit Designs

Indoor-outdoor fireplaces are efficient because they distribute the heat on both sides evenly. Unlike the traditional one-sided fires, the indoor-outdoor fireplaces can trap the heat, making them more efficient. 

The fireplace’s main purpose is to generate heat. The outdoor side can cause the fire to reduce due to the lack of a barrier from the wind. Other factors such as the type of wood and the use of an insert can affect the efficiency. 

However, the fireplaces can still vary in efficiency. The efficiency will depend on how they are laid out, the model, and the fuel used.

Gas and ethanol-based fireplaces produce a high amount of heat, while the electricity will have inbuilt maximum voltage. The fireplaces that use wood generate less heat than gas or electricity. Propane produces more heat and burns more clearly.

The size of the chimney can also affect the heat. A big chimney to firebox ratio will cause the heat to be swallowed up.

 A vent is not necessary for the indoor part because of the outdoor acts as one for the gas or electric type. A wood-fueled outdoor-indoor fireplace will require a chimney to emit the smoke.

Pros for the indoor-outdoor fireplace?

To decide whether to install an indoor-outdoor fireplace, you need to know its pros and cons. With the following factors to consider, you will know if the fireplace will meet your needs. These are the advantages of installing an indoor-outdoor fireplace in your home.

The different types according to fuels include; wood fireplaces, ethanol fireplaces, gas fireplaces, and electricity-based fireplaces.

Pros of Indoor-outdoor fireplacesCons of Indoor-outdoor fireplaces
They are energy efficientExpensive to install and maintain
They increase the resale value of the homeNot suitable for all home designs 
The fireplace provides warmth and an ambiance for entertainmentOften has smoke issues if appropriate measures are not taken.
An indoor-outdoor fireplace saves a lot of spaceOften emits less heat

 Energy Efficiency

The dual fireplace has one fire in two places. It makes it possible to trap the fire. The fire is not lost in the chimney or the vent like in the one-sided fireplaces. The fireplace is an efficient way of heating both indoors and outdoors simultaneously.

The energy costs are less expensive when using the dual fireplace than if you install two different fireplaces.

Additionally, when there is a power outage, the fireplace serves as a backup heat source for the homestead thus, it helps to reduce energy costs.

Increase the value of your home

The outdoor-indoor fireplace will increase the resale value of the house. The fireplace may be an investment, but it will be advantageous when you will be selling. It adds class, sophistication, and charm to your house.

An indoor-outdoor fireplace is luxurious and aesthetically appealing. The architecture of the fireplace creates an attractive focal point for the house. This is one of the unique features of a home that buyers are nowadays looking for. It is because it creates an ambiance of comfort and style.

Space-saving

The fireplace ties the indoor and outdoor spaces together to bring about flowing space. It creates a multipurpose function fireplace that connects both sides.

It is a functional design used on the deck or patio and the other side. The indoor part is usually installed in the living room or dining room. An indoor-outdoor fireplace prevents duplication of projects on the same house.

Entertainment and Warmth

The indoor-outdoor fireplace makes the home cozy. The indoor side is mainly used by the family while the outdoor fireplace is suitable to entertain guests.

The fireplace is also a source of warmth for both the inside of the house and the outside. It is a  convenience that creates comfort for the family. 

When both sides have a fireplace, it creates a unique atmosphere that no other interior decor item can replicate. It provides a natural gathering and even a cooking area.

During the winter, the dual fireplace is a source of warmth both indoors and outdoors.

Different Designs Available

There are different sizes and designs for indoor-outdoor fireplaces to choose from in the market.

You can get the glass, uber-modern, or rustic look. Choose the design that suits your house. 

The versatility of designs and the fuels makes it easier to choose. Heat output will vary depending on the type of fuel used. The color of the flame and ember is dependent on the fuel and the venting.

Cons for an indoor-outdoor fireplace?

The following are the shortcomings of an indoor-outdoor fireplace.

Expensive to install and Maintain

A dual fireplace is typically more expensive than a single-sided fireplace. Like any other interior design idea, dual fireplaces are not simple to install. These types of fireplaces are generally more expensive than traditional fireplaces.

Also, if installed wrongly, this design can ruin the design of the house.

Maintaining an indoor-outdoor fireplace is expensive because of the fuel or wood costs. Installing this type of fireplace is sometimes considered as a significant investment with few rewards. This is because fires may not be lit very frequently. 

Also, you will need to clean the fireplace regularly. To keep it working, you have to remove the soot to prevent odors.

Not suitable for all homes

These fireplaces are usually marketed for modern homes. Outdoor-indoor fireplaces are unsuitable for traditional homes that do not have a patio, terrace, or deck. Houses with limited space will look cramped if the fireplace is installed.

Less Heat

The indoor-outdoor type of fireplace can provide less heat than the single indoor or outdoor. This is because the heat is distributed between the two sides. Also, the fire can get blown by the wind if it is not enclosed. 

The gas and wood fuel types of fireplaces sometimes lose fire through venting.

Smoke Issues

This type of fireplace can leak smoke into both sides. Some designs have no chimneys, and this causes the smoke problem. Because of the lack of a back wall, the air drafts can blow the smoke out of the fireplace. Sparks and ash can also fly out in case of wind because there is no barrier.

Adding a door into the fireplace can help if strong drafts or wind come down the chimney. If you want to use the fireplace on one side, consider installing a strong glass door with high heat resistance. The contractor should be able to install a strong door for you to avoid explosions.

Can you have a double-sided fireplace indoor-outdoor?

A double-sided fireplace can be installed in the indoor-outdoor style. Some types of double-sided fireplaces are see-through and have doors or screens. The double-sided fireplace is versatile in electricity, fuel, and wood. 

The dual-sided fireplaces are safer than any other type because of the enclosing around. The enclosure protects people from flames and smoke that can be blown on a windy day. This makes it useful especially in homes with children or pets.

They also have a contemporary look that makes the fireplace more attractive than the normal indoor-outdoor fireplaces. The glass surrounding makes a bland house unique and sophisticated. 

The double-sided feature, usually made of glass, is a great way to maintain the light and visual flow between the outdoors and the indoors. It provides a window-like view of the other side.

Whichever style you choose, it would help to use a professional for installation, maintenance, inspection, and even cleaning.

What is the difference between an indoor and outdoor gas fireplace?

Indoor fireplaces are installed in the enclosed spaces of the house. They are usually installed in either the living room, the bedroom, or the dining room. They are meant for warming up indoor spaces. Outdoor spaces are installed for the outside spaces like the patio, the garden, or the deck.

Outdoor fireplaces are safer than indoor fireplaces because they don’t risk harmful gasses in enclosed spaces like indoor fireplaces. In fact, in some states, the construction of indoor fireplaces is regulated.

Building an outdoor fireplace is less expensive than an outdoor one. Indoor fireplaces mostly need a chimney or a vent to release the smoke or the gasses outside. The chimneys also require regular cleaning. These activities add up to the cost of the indoor fireplaces.

Outdoor fireplaces are affected by the weather outside in that, while indoor fireplaces will remain unaffected if there is a door or a screen. 

Indoor FireplaceOutdoor Fireplace
It is installed for use in the house in either the living room, dining room, or any other room.Installed for the outside of the house in the patio, deck or the terrace.
It is risky especially if it uses firewood and is not enclosed. Fire hazards usually occur indoors.It is a little bit safer if it has a chimney.  
It is more costly than the outdoor fireplace.It is typically less expensive than an indoor fireplace.
Usually not affected by windy weather.The fire can be affected by wind if the fireplace is not enclosed.

Tips for indoor-outdoor fireplaces

  • Before installing, ensure that your project complies with the homeowners association regulations. It would be best if you also acquire all the necessary permits.
  • Consider the type of fuel that you are going to use beforehand. Wood may be visually desirable, but it emits smoke and dirt. On the other hand, electricity is very convenient to install and use but costly. Fuel is a better alternative because it is less costly than electricity, and it’s not a high maintenance option like the wood fireplace.

The type of fuel largely determines the design and the material used to construct.

  • If you want to install an outdoor indoor fireplace, ensure all the necessary chimneys, vents, and wiring are in place. Fireplaces are a potential fire hazard and should be inspected regularly.
  • For the best results, get the services of a qualified technician for installation.
  • An indoor-outdoor fireplace, just like any other fireplace, requires regular maintenance. It is important to clean and check for issues such as toxic odors regularly.  
  • The budget, stylistic preferences, and the heating required will determine the fireplace location and size.

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