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Use our essential guide to buying fires and fireplaces
* Before choosing a surround and colour scheme, the most basic decision will be what sort of fuel you want to use. A decorative gas fire is a straightforward choice, and even if there’s no gas supply point to the fireplace, it’s a relatively simple task to run a pipe to the fireplace opening – this will need to be installed by a CORGI-registered fitter. Other options are solid fuel, electric, gel or log fires.
* Brick chimneys are compatible with any sort of fire, but the chimney should be swept and checked. Pre-fabricated and pre-cast flues are found in more modern homes, and most types of fire can be installed where there is a pre-fabricated flue, although a pre-cast flue will limit your choice to slimline designs – a fireplace specialist will be able to advise.
* Homes without a chimney can still have a working gas fire, but it will need to be a fanned or balanced flue model, situated on, or ducted to, an outside wall.
* Fanned flue models have a fan that expels the exhaust gases, so need a power supply, which will produce some noise.
* Even if you are chimney-less, flue-less and don’t have a suitable outside wall, there’s still the option of an electric or gel fire.