If you own a fireplace, you know how great it is to have one lit. Most people own an indoor fireplace, but having a fireplace outdoors is a delight as well. And since fireplaces can be pretty expensive, it might be best to use your indoor fireplace outside. But can you do that?
Most indoor fireplaces can only be used indoors, but some models are outdoors rated, which means they can be used outside. These typically have built-in weather protection. This is highly dependant on the model and brand you buy your fireplace from, though.
Although most fireplaces are made for either indoor use or outdoor use, there are some exceptions. In this article, we’ll discuss why you don’t want to use your indoor fireplace outdoors, even if you think it won’t do any harm, and what options you do have for fireplaces that can go indoors and outdoors!
Can You Use Indoor Fireplaces Outside?
In general, an indoor fireplace cannot be used outside unless stated otherwise on the box or user’s manual. Indoor fireplaces are made differently, as they need to function in a home. Outdoor fireplaces need to be able to withstand weather and environmental elements.
Most standard indoor fireplaces can’t be used outdoors. There are simply too many differences in environment (temperature, outside elements, etc.) that the design process of both differ too much. For example, indoor fireplaces can be made with much more expensive and luxurious materials (think marble), as they’re in a controlled environment.
In addition, most fireplaces also aren’t that easy to move. Most are build in the wall or need to be connected to either gas or electricity. Usually, when we’re talking about taking an indoor fireplace and placing it outside, we’re talking about electric fireplaces, which are more portable than the others.
Electric fireplaces function when you plug them into a standard wall outlet, but those aren’t always available outside. And if they are, they need to be protected from elements like rain and snow in order to be used safely.
But as mentioned before, an indoor electric fireplace simply isn’t made to be used outside. The only exception to this is when it is clearly labeled on the box or in the user’s manual that it can be used outside. Make sure to read through your manual carefully.
And if you’re still shopping for a fireplace that can be placed both indoors and outdoors, make sure to shop for one that clearly states that it’s okay for outdoor use.
An example of such a fireplace is the Touchstone Sideline Indoor/Outdoor 80017 Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace.
This one has built-in weather protection and is specifically designed to be used both indoors and outdoors. Due to the built-in protection, this model and many other outdoor models do not produce heat.
Alternatively, you can also buy outdoor-rated electric fireplaces from Remi.
An example of a model that does produce heat and is suitable for the outdoors, you can take a look at the Amantii Panorama Series. Keep in mind that these fireplaces are a lot more intricate, so they come at a much higher price. Also, you must buy an Outdoor Cover with them if you want to use them outdoors!
But when it comes to fireplaces that don’t specify that they’re made for indoor and outdoor use, don’t use them outdoors. Your fireplace will deteriorate much faster, and there are some serious safety concerns!
Is There A Difference Between An Indoor And Outdoor Fireplace?
Indoor fireplaces are heating units that are installed indoors. Outdoor fireplaces are usually installed in more open spaces, and because they’re located outside, they need to have built-in weather protection. Elements like rain and snow can damage an indoor fireplace, but outdoor fireplaces will be protected.
As simple as it sounds, the main difference is really just that one is made for indoor use and the other for outdoor use. But there are some more nuanced differences as well.
Indoor fireplaces are usually installed in the living room or dining space, and they function as room heaters. As such, an indoor fireplace usually requires a damper, but that isn’t the case with outdoor fireplaces.
On the other hand, indoor fireplaces usually don’t require a chimney cap, whereas outdoor fireplaces do come with chimney caps. This is to prevent sparks and embers from spreading during windy days.
Another big difference is that of materials. Not every material will hold up well in the outdoors. Indoors, we have a much more controlled environment, so it opens up many more possibilities of materials. Additionally, most outdoor fireplaces are the regular wood-burning ones, whereas indoors, you have many more options (electric, gas, wood-burning).
These pretty substantial differences also add to the conclusion above; most indoor fireplaces can’t be used outdoors. Not only will outdoor use of your indoor fireplace make it wear down much faster, but it also doesn’t come with a chimney cap to prevent flying embers and sparks.
On the bright side, if you want a fireplace for the outdoors, they usually come in much cheaper than indoor ones. And since they’re usually the typical wood-burning ones, they also don’t cost you any gas or electricity!
What Are Indoor/Outdoor Fireplaces?
An indoor/outdoor fireplace is a two-sided fireplace that functions as a wall between the indoors and outdoors. This fireplace is functional from both the outside and inside and is see-through.
Indoor/outdoor fireplaces really are the best of both worlds. Instead of positioning your fireplace against a wall, the fireplace will become your wall. This leads to the fireplace sticking out on two ends; the inside of your room and the outside of the wall. If you position your patio correctly, you basically get two fireplaces!
These types of fireplaces also act as a window and add a nice flow to any living space. It really is the perfect solution for those that would love both an indoor and outdoor fireplace but only want to buy one!