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Where fire and water can coexist

Until someone decides to install a fireplace in a closet, the bathroom fireplace remains the final frontier in the landscape of unique fireplace locations.

A lot of questions exist for a bathroom installation though, including; what fireplaces can I use? what are the restrictions? and most importantly, is this a worthwhile installation?

We will address those queries here to try and clear up any grey area on this topic, as well as show off a few eye-catching bathroom fireplace installs.

What the heck is a “bathroom approved” fireplace?

Currently under gas installation code B149, fireplaces installed in a bedroom or bathroom must be designated by the manufacturer as such OR be a direct vent type of fireplace. In other words open gas burning fireplaces are not allowed to be installed within a bedroom sitting area or bathroom / master bath situation.

Further, see through fireplaces that are installed as a divider between a bedroom and bathroom should be fitted with shockproof glass on the bathroom side when adjacent to a tub. Ceramic glass would be a necessary feature for this type of installation. 

Some local codes may have variations to the code related to proximity from the tub to the fireplace glass, for example 18 inches was a number some inspectors deemed a safe minimum distance. Do consult with local authorities/inspectors for any variances required in your area.
In summary, all direct vent fireplaces are allowed to be installed in a bedroom / bathroom as this type of fireplace is sealed from the room by design and does not require combustion air to be drawn from the bedroom area or from outside as in the early days of open fireplaces.

Safety Considerations

Glass: Splish splash, let’s talk about glass. A fireplace with high thermal shock rating glass is recommended due to to the possibility of water contact.

Typically this means ceramic glass is the best option for bathroom installations, though a custom COOL-Pack equipped fireplace would be even better as these can have glass temperatures as low as 115˚F (46˚C).

Electricity: Humidity is never a friend to electronics or any other part of a fireplace. Make sure that the bathroom is fitted with an adequate extractor fan.
 
Venting: ANSI Z21.50/CSA 2.22 standards state that any fireplace installed in a bathroom, sitting room, or bedroom must be a direct vent unit.

Double Down

While one might dismiss the idea of installing a fireplace in a room that people generally spend the least amount of time in, a see through fireplace can double the usage by making the fireplace viewable from a bedroom or common room.

Granted, you have to consider that this essentially creates a window from the bathroom to the connected room, so hopefully you are comfortable with your significant other or houseguests!

Is it worth it?

While you might get more usage out of a fireplace that’s situated in a common room, a bathroom fireplace is a must have in many high-end luxury house remodels and new builds.
Think of it like your car’s heated seats on a cold winter morning, while you might not use them every day… they sure are nice when you need them!

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