Choosing Between Gas and Wood Burning Fireplaces

January 20, 2016

A fireplace adds personality and value to your home. When homebuyers imagine their dream house, it typically includes a comfy home that keeps you and your family warm in the winter, either with a smoothly running heating system or snuggling around a cozy fire.

It’s hard to resist the allure of of a toasty fire, but how do you pick between a gas or wood burning fireplace? There are many aspects to consider when deciding how to heat your home.

Aesthetics and Efficiency 

  • Wood: A wood burning fireplace typically wins in the experience category. You get the crackle. You get the pop. You get the ability to roast marshmallows indoors. Something you don’t get is a powerful heating source. Wood fires usually receive up to a 15% efficiency rating, a lot lower than a furnace that has regular service performed. They do generate a lot of heat, but most of that heat is lost up the chimney. Wood burning fireplaces not only lose the heat coming from the fire, but it also pulls warm air from other parts of the house up and out the chimney.

  • Gas: There have been many artistic advances in gas fireplaces. The flames have become more realistic and many models offer different height adjustments. The logs used in gas fireplaces now have the look of the real thing and come complete with flickering embers, which don’t need you to wait while they burn out. You can easily switch your gas fireplace on and off which provides you more control over room temperature and frees you from having to tend to your fire. The lack of fire stealing oxygen gives gas fireplaces a 75% to 99% efficiency rating. Just picture the level of comfort you could have when you combine that with a fully maintained furnace. 

Air Quality and Maintenance

  • Wood: Air quality is important to every homeowner. Burning wood produces air pollution in and outside the home and the smoky wood smell that a wood burning fireplace emits could be hazardous to your health. Wood also creates a byproduct called creosote that lines the coating of the chimney and must be removed by a chimney sweep. Much like furnaces that should have furnace service completed regularly, gas fireplaces also require regular cleanings of cinders and spent logs.

  • Gas: Gas fireplaces only require some dusting every now and then and are practically maintenance free. It is recommended that you get your gas fireplace cleaned and adjusted once a year by a specialist to keep it working both safely and efficiently.
If you want to convert your wood burning fireplace into a gas fireplace or you want to schedule yearly furnace service, please give us a call at 239-908-6991 or schedule an appointment on our website. Our experts will have you cuddled up by the fire in no time.
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