Choosing Between Gas and Wood Burning Fireplaces
A fireplace adds ambiance and value to your home. When someone imagines their dream house, it typically includes a cozy home that keeps you and your family warm in the winter, either with a smoothly running furnace or getting comfy around a cozy fire.
It’s hard to resist the allure of of a toasty fire, but how do you decide between a gas or wood burning fireplace? There are many points to consider when deciding how to keep your home nice and toasty.
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 chance to roast marshmallows indoors. Something you don’t get is a powerful heating source. Wood fires normally receive up to a 15% efficiency rating, much lower than a furnace that has consistent service performed. They do get very hot, but most of that heat disappears 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 home up the chimney.
- Gas: There have been many aesthetic advances in gas fireplaces. The flames have become more realistic and some versions offer varied heights. The types of logs used in gas fireplaces now more closely resemble the real thing and come complete with glowing embers, which don’t force you to wait while they simmer 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 keep an eye on your fire. The lack of fire stealing oxygen gives gas fireplaces a 75% to 99% efficiency rating. Just imagine the level of comfort you could achieve when you combine that with a fully maintained furnace.
Air Quality and Maintenance
- Wood: Air quality is important to all homeowners. Burning wood creates air pollution in and outside the home and the smoky wood odor that a wood burning fireplace emits could be hazardous to your family’s. Wood also creates a byproduct called creosote that lines the coating of the chimney and must be removed by an expert. Much like furnaces that should have furnace service completed regularly, gas fireplaces also require recurrent cleanings of cinders and spent logs.
- Gas: Gas fireplaces only require some dusting every now and then and are just about maintenance free. It is advised that you get your gas fireplace cleaned and adjusted once a year by a professional to keep it running both safely and efficiently.