Adding a fireplace to your home but can’t decide between wood and gas? Both are great fuel choices that provide the warm, cozy ambiance that’s perfect when it’s cold outside. Modern wood and gas fireplaces can both be highly efficient, as well. Some distinct differences between a wood fireplace and a gas fireplace can, however, help you decide between the two.
Traditional masonry fireplaces have always been popular, in spite of the fact that they are grossly inefficient. Modern wood fireplaces provide the following benefits:
Unbeatable Ambiance. To meet strict standards handed down by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), manufacturers have designed efficient closed-system wood-burning fireplaces. Even though the wood fires are viewed through glass doors, the pleasant features of burning wood aren’t lost. You can still hear the crackling wood, smell the woodsy fragrance, and see the flames. Warming by a wood fire elevates any occasion. Unlike gas fires, a wood fire provides a genuine campfire feel that sets the stage for making unforgettable memories without having to leave home.
Fuel Cost. Firewood is the least expensive type of fuel. If you chop down trees for firewood on your own property, your savings are even bigger. Wood fuel burns more efficiently in new appliances and therefore lasts longer while providing more heat than outdated fireplaces.
A few potential drawbacks with wood as fuel for fireplaces follow:
Work, wait and wonder. Preparing wood for a fireplace involves hard labor, which you can do yourself or pay someone to do for you. The wood must be chopped and split to fit your fireplace. The wood then needs to be stored during the drying out process. Between six months and a year is the average time frame for green firewood to become “seasoned firewood,” as it’s called. Before bringing firewood into the home, it’s important to drop or tap the wood vertically from each end, as a way of knocking off critters that may have been hitching a ride. There’s no guarantee, however, that there are no insects or possibly even rodents stashed inside the logs. This can leave you wondering whether you’re introducing pests into your home interior.
Maintenance. There is more maintenance required with a wood fireplace than with a gas fireplace. Ashes need to be removed frequently, and the chimney should be cleaned routinely because of highly flammable creosote, a tar-like substance that is deposited in your chimney lining every time you light a fire. When wood fireplaces are cleaned, it can cause messy soot to enter the home. This problem is solved, however, by having a reputable chimney sweep company handle chimney cleaning because they have the procedures and equipment to do the job neatly.
Gas fireplaces have been growing more popular year after year, and the following are some of the reasons to choose a gas fireplace:
Convenience. A gas fireplace is easy to use, and flames are provided instantly. No expertise is needed with fire-building. Simply flip a switch or adjust a thermostat to turn on and to turn off the flames instantly.
Control. You can adjust the flames in a gas fireplace, which puts you in control of the amount of heat produced by the fires.
Ease of Maintenance. There is virtually no clean-up involved with using a gas fireplace. An expert should inspect the gas fireplace annually, but little else is ever required.
Design Options. There are now linear gas fireplaces that provide heat and also give the home a modern new dimension. It may, however, be difficult trying to choose from the many style options.
Zone Heating. If you install gas fireplaces in the main rooms of your home, you can use them for convenient, cost-cutting zone heating. Simply turn off central heating and heat only the room you’re in. Though modern wood fireplaces can also be used for zone heating, they don’t have the convenience of being able to turn the flames on and off instantly.
Some of the potential downsides of gas fireplaces follow:
Cost. A gas line must be run to the fireplace, which may represent a large expense.
Faux Effects. Today’s gas logs are remarkably realistic, but they don’t fully mimic the charm of burning logs. The pleasant crackles and smells of logs can be mimicked with accessories. Otherwise, those much-loved features of a home fire are missing with a gas fireplace. In linear fireplaces, colored glass or rocks are used instead of faux logs.
Choosing between a wood vs gas fireplace is easiest when you visit the popular destination showroom at Inglenook Energy, where numerous heating appliances are displayed in operation daily. Our experts can answer any questions you may have, and we can make recommendations regarding the correct size of wood or gas fireplace to choose. Contact us at Inglenook Energy today by calling (303) 838-3612 or visit our showroom at 26731 Main Street in Conifer CO.