Choosing Between Gas and Wood Burning Fireplaces
A fireplace adds character and value to your home. When someone imagines their dream house, it typically includes a comfy home that keeps you and your family warm in the winter, either with a smoothly running furnace or snuggling around a cozy fire.
It’s hard to resist the enticement of of a crackling fire, but how do you decide between a gas or wood burning fireplace? There are many points 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 consistent service performed. They do reach high temperatures, 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 style advances in gas fireplaces. The flames have become more realistic and many versions offer different height adjustments. The types of logs used in gas fireplaces now more closely resemble the real thing and come complete with glimmering embers, which don’t force you to wait while they go out. You can merely switch your gas fireplace on and off which gives you more control over your home’s 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 have when you pair that with a fully maintained furnace.
Air Quality and Maintenance
- Wood: Air quality is vital to every homeowner. Burning wood generates air pollution in and outside your 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 ashes and spent logs.
- Gas: Gas fireplaces require a little bit of 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 professional to keep it operating both safely and effectively.