Choosing Between Gas and Wood Burning Fireplaces

January 20, 2016

A fireplace adds ambiance and value to your home. When homebuyers imagine 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 heater or getting comfy around a cozy fire.

It’s hard to resist the allure of of a crackling fire, but how do you choose 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 sensation 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 typically receive up to a 15% efficiency rating, a lot 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 house up the chimney.

  • Gas: There have been many aesthetic advances in gas fireplaces. The flames have become more realistic and many models offer various adjustments in height. The logs used in gas fireplaces now have the look of the real thing and come complete with glowing embers, which don’t require you to wait while they go out. You can simply switch your gas fireplace on and off which provides 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. Picture the level of comfort you could get when you pair that with a fully maintained furnace. 

Air Quality and Maintenance

  • Wood: Air quality is critical to every homeowner. Burning wood generates air pollution in and outside your family’s home and the smoky wood smell that a wood burning fireplace gives off 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 professional. Much like furnaces that should have furnace service completed regularly, gas fireplaces also require consistant cleanings of embers and spent logs.

  • Gas: Gas fireplaces only require some dusting every now and then and are just about maintenance free. It is suggested that you get your gas fireplace cleaned and adjusted every 12 months by a specialist to keep it working both safely and effectively.
If you are interested in converting your wood burning fireplace into a gas fireplace or you simply need to schedule your seasonal furnace service, please give us a call at 205-267-0023 or schedule an appointment online. Our experts will have you snuggled up and warm in no time.
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