Choosing Between Gas and Wood Burning Fireplaces
A fireplace adds character and value to your home. When someone imagines their dream home, the home typically includes a cozy home that keeps you and your family warm in the winter, either with a smoothly running heating system or gathering around a cozy fire.
It’s hard to resist the appeal of of a toasty fire, but how do you decide between a gas or wood burning fireplace? There are many aspects 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 an effective heating source. Wood fires normally receive up to a 15% efficiency rating, considerably lower than a furnace that has consistent service performed. They do generate a lot of heat, 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 house up 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 types of logs used in gas fireplaces now have the look of the real thing and come complete with glimmering embers, which don’t need you to wait while they simmer out. You can simply switch your gas fireplace on and off which gives you more control over the temperature of you home 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. Imagine the level of comfort you could get when you combine that with a fully serviced furnace.
Air Quality and Maintenance
- Wood: Air quality is vital to homeowners and homebuyers. Burning wood causes air pollution in and outside the home and the smoky wood odor that a wood burning fireplace exudes 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 an expert. Much like furnaces that should have furnace service completed consistantly, gas fireplaces also require consistant cleanings of embers and spent logs.
- Gas: Gas fireplaces only require a bit of dusting every now and then and are virtually maintenance free. It is suggested that you get your gas fireplace cleaned and adjusted once a year by a specialist to keep it working both safely and effectively.