A fireplace can represent many things. For a lot of families, it’s the focal point of the house. It creates a cozy and relaxing ambiance that serves as the perfect gathering spot for quality time with loved ones. For others, it’s a source of frustration because their current fireplace or stove isn’t meeting their needs or it’s outdated and no longer fits their tastes. Then there’s the faction of homeowners who don’t have a fireplace or stove but have long dreamt of adding one to their homes. 

Whatever situation you find yourself in, Big Ash Fireplaces & Stoves is here for you. Our team is here to guide you through and help you choose a system that makes sense for your family. Reach out to us online or call us at 585-638-0300, and let’s get to work building your dream.

How Can I Improve My Fireplace?

Depending on your concerns, there are a couple of different approaches that you can take to revitalize your current fireplace and add value to your home:

Option 1: Fireplace Facelift

A fireplace facelift could be the best path forward if your fireplace functions well, but you don’t like the look of it.

Let’s say your fireplace has a stone face that you once loved…but have since outgrown. You can give it an updated look by replacing the stone with tile or metal and then refinishing the mantle.

A facelift can also be easier on your budget and has a quicker turnaround time compared to a more invasive project like a rebuild. 

a mostly white living room with furniture and a fireplace

Option 2: Install an Insert

When your fireplace doesn’t give off enough heat, the optimal solution may be an insert. A fireplace insert is a self-contained heating appliance that is installed into an existing fireplace opening. Inserts run on wood, gas, electricity, or pellets.

If you have a masonry wood-burning fireplace and you’re interested in making the switch to gas, this is a straightforward way to get the job done.

I Don’t Have a Fireplace or Stove, What’s the Best Option for Me?

A home without a fireplace or stove is a blank slate. You can get as creative as you want and build something that is truly the perfect fit for your home. Before you jump in, though, consider a few crucial questions:

  • What are your heating needs?
  • What kind of space do you have to work with?
  • What kind of aesthetic are you going for?
  • What is your targeted budget?

With those questions in mind, let’s take a look at a couple options: 

Option 1: Install a Prefabricated Fireplace

A prefabricated fireplace is constructed off-site and then transported to your home for assembly and installation. These appliances offer a ton of flexibility in both design and fuel type. If you are inspired by the masonry, wood-burning fireplace from your childhood home that you have fond memories of, you can do that with a prefabricated unit. If you prefer a modern look that runs on gas or electricity, you can accomplish that, as well.

Option 2: Go With a Stove

If available space is a concern – or if you want more versatility in the placement – a stove may be better for you. Stoves are more compact compared to fireplaces, and some aren’t reliant on a traditional chimney structure to function safely, so if your home is sans chimney that’s no problem. Many pellet stoves, for instance, are designed as direct vent appliances with an exhaust pipe that can either go through a wall or vertically through the roof. 

Which Fuel Is Best?  

We carry a variety of appliances at Big Ash Fireplaces & Stoves, and we want you to have just as much selection and freedom when choosing a fuel source. With that said, there isn’t a right or wrong answer when it comes to fuel. Your decision should be based on which one is more practical for your home. An example? If you don’t have an area to store wood, a wood-burning appliance probably wouldn’t be a good fit for you. Here are some things to keep in mind:

original infographic explaining different fuel types: wood, gas, electric, and pellets


When you picture a fireplace, you likely envision the classic brick-and-mortar version with the comforting scent of hickory or maple. A wood-burning appliance is still a go-to for homeowners because wood is renewable and it’s relatively cheap to restock. The most common complaints about wood as a fuel are its messiness and inefficiency compared to alternatives.


Gas is a popular fuel choice for homeowners because of its convenience. You don’t have to worry about chopping wood or building and maintaining a fire. You can enjoy beautiful flames and reliable heat with a simple flip of a switch. In addition, gas doesn’t produce as much soot and creosote as a wood-burning appliance, so you can look forward to less cleaning in between annual inspections. A gas appliance may not be a good choice for your home if you don’t have access to a gas line or a place to safely store gas tanks. 


An electric fireplace is a preferable choice for homeowners who want to add an appliance to their home, but don’t want to deal with the hassle of adding a venting system. Electric appliances are ventless as they don’t produce any combustion byproducts, such as smoke or gases. That said, a power outage would render an electric fireplace useless, so be sure to have an alternative source of heat during stormy weather.


Pellets are often thought of as the best of both worlds – convenience and a good ambiance. If you’re hesitant about changing to gas, but want something easier to operate than a wood-burning appliance, consider a pellet stove or insert. You’ll still get a fire that’s reminiscent of wood with a fraction of the daily maintenance. Remember, though, that pellet quality can vary greatly, and lower grade pellets aren’t as efficient. 

Ready To Upgrade Your Home? Call Big Ash Fireplace & Stoves

The decision to install or upgrade a home heating appliance is big and can be overwhelming with so many options available. The team at Big Ash Fireplaces & Stoves is here to get you through the process with as little stress as possible. Give us a call today at 585-638-0300 or reach out to us online.