Choosing Between Gas and Wood Burning Fireplaces

January 20, 2016

A fireplace adds ambiance and value to your home. When someone imagines their dream home, the house typically includes a comfortable 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 charm of of a toasty fire, but how do you choose 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 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, much lower than a furnace that has consistent service performed. They do get very hot, but most of that heat is released 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 and out the chimney.

  • Gas: There have been many artistic advances in gas fireplaces. The flames have become more realistic and some designs offer varied height adjustments. The ceramic logs used in gas fireplaces now more closely resemble the real thing and come complete with flickering embers, which don’t force you to wait while they simmer out. You can merely switch your gas fireplace on and off which provides you more control over the temperature of you home and frees you from having to tend to 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 incorporate that with a well-maintained furnace. 

Air Quality and Maintenance

  • Wood: Air quality is critical to homeowners and homebuyers. Burning wood produces air pollution in and outside your 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 chimney sweep. Much like furnaces that should have furnace service completed annually, gas fireplaces also require recurrent cleanings of soot and spent logs.

  • Gas: Gas fireplaces only require some dusting every now and then and are practically maintenance free. It is recommended that you get your gas fireplace cleaned and adjusted yearly by a specialist to keep it working 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 yearly furnace service, please give us a call at 816-787-0500 or schedule an appointment on our website. Our experts will have you cuddled up and comfortably warm in no time.
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