Choosing Between Gas and Wood Burning Fireplaces

January 20, 2016

A fireplace adds ambiance and value to your home. When a person imagines their perfect home, it typically includes a comfortable home that keeps you and your family warm in the winter, either with a smoothly running furnace or gathering around a cozy fire.

It’s hard to resist the appeal of of a crackling fire, but how do you decide between a gas or wood burning fireplace? There are many aspects to consider when deciding how to make sure your home stays warm through those cold, winter months.

Aesthetics and Efficiency 

  • Wood: A wood burning fireplace typically wins in the sensation category. You get the crackle. You get the pop. You get the opportunity to roast marshmallows indoors. Something you don’t get is a powerful heating source. Wood fires typically receive up to a 15% efficiency rating, a lot lower than a furnace that has routine 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 home up the chimney.

  • Gas: There have been many aesthetic advances in gas fireplaces. The flames have become more realistic and many versions offer varied height adjustments. The ceramic logs used in gas fireplaces now more closely favor the real thing and come complete with glowing embers, which don’t need you to wait while they burn out. You can simply switch your gas fireplace on and off, providing 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 get when you pair that with a fully maintained furnace. 

Air Quality and Maintenance

  • Wood: Air quality is crucial to homeowners and homebuyers. Burning wood creates air pollution in and outside your family’s home and the smoky wood smell that a wood burning fireplace emits could be a health hazard. Wood also creates a byproduct called creosote that lines the coating of the chimney and must be removed by a professional chimney sweep. Much like furnaces that should have furnace service completed regularly, gas fireplaces also require recurrent cleanings of soot and spent logs.

  • Gas: Gas fireplaces require a little bit of dusting every now and then and are practically maintenance free. It is suggested that you get your gas fireplace cleaned and adjusted every 12 months by an expert to keep it functioning both safely and effectively.
If you are interested in finding out more information about converting your wood burning fireplace into a gas fireplace or you want to schedule your yearly furnace service, please give us a call at 251-202-7503 or schedule an appointment on our website. Our experts will have you cuddled up and warm in no time.
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