Choosing Between Gas and Wood Burning Fireplaces

January 20, 2016

A fireplace adds personality and value to your home. When someone imagines their perfect home, it typically includes a comfy home that keeps you and your family warm in the winter, either with a smoothly running heater or snuggling around a cozy fire.

It’s hard to resist the allure of of a toasty fire, but how do you decide between a gas or wood burning fireplace? There are many factors 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 chance to roast marshmallows indoors. Something you don’t get is a powerful heating source. Wood fires typically receive up to a 15% efficiency rating, much lower than a furnace that has routine 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 home up the chimney.

  • Gas: There have been many aesthetic advances in gas fireplaces. The flames have become more realistic and some models offer varied heights. The ceramic logs used in gas fireplaces now have the look of the real thing and come complete with flickering embers, which don’t require you to wait while they go out. You can easily switch your gas fireplace on and off, providing you more control over your home’s temperature and frees you from having to look after your fire. The lack of fire stealing oxygen gives gas fireplaces a 75% to 99% efficiency rating. Picture the level of comfort you could have when you combine that with a fully maintained furnace. 

Air Quality and Maintenance

  • Wood: Air quality is vital to homeowners and homebuyers. Burning wood produces air pollution in and outside the home and the smoky wood smell that a wood burning fireplace gives off 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 annually, gas fireplaces also require periodic cleanings of embers and spent logs.

  • Gas: Gas fireplaces require a little bit of dusting every now and then and are virtually maintenance free. It is advised that you get your gas fireplace cleaned and adjusted every 12 months by an expert to keep it running both safely and smoothly.
If you are wanting to find out more information about converting your wood burning fireplace into a gas fireplace or you want to schedule your routine furnace service, please give us a call at 925-384-1303 or schedule an appointment through our website. Our experts will have you cozied up by the fire in no time.
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