Historically, the main purpose of a fireplace was for heating the home. Today masonry fireplaces are a focal point for family gatherings and for entertaining friends, as well as adding value and beauty to the home. Sometimes, on a cold winter day, they are a special place to curl up with a cup of coffee and a good book. Whether your home is architecturally traditional or ultra modern, nothing matches the beauty and ambiance of an authentic wood fire in a genuine masonry fireplace.
For those concerned about efficiency, here are a couple of things to keep in mind. Choose a Rumford style fireplace for greatest efficiency. They are clean burning and are characterized by fireboxes that are tall and shallow, with widely splayed sides. You can learn more about Rumfords at http://rumford.com. All fireplaces, no matter what style, will be more efficient if they are centrally located within the home rather than on an outside wall. They will radiate more heat while a fire is burning, and will have lower conductive heat loss when not in use.