Despite being notoriously inefficient, fireplaces continue to be prized for their ambience and elegance. Humans have always enjoyed sitting around a crackling fire — that won’t change.
The good news is that modern, well-maintained fireplaces can work as an effective auxiliary to your central heating system. If other rooms aren’t in use, you can lower the temperature of the thermostat to save money on the heating bill.
While wood fireplaces are a common and traditional choice, gas-burning fireplaces offer many benefits that are hard to ignore.
7 Benefits of Gas Fireplaces
A wood fireplace requires a strong foundation and structure to operate safely. It needs a substantial chimney for safe ventilation of combusted byproducts and a cement block with a clay liner to meet the building codes.
Gas fireplaces, on the other hand, have less requirements and offer more flexibility in terms of installation. You don’t need a vertical chimney since exhaust gases can be vented directly outdoors through an exterior wall.
Gas fireplaces can also be installed into walls or be freestanding within a room. They require less maintenance and offer better resale value.
Fuel and Storage
Gas fireplaces don’t require huge supplies of wood and tinder. The fuel is either carried through underground pipes, or holding tanks can be stored at home. You don’t have to constantly buy, move, and store logs and wood.
A gas fireplace emits less soot than a wood fireplace. Without proper ventilation, the soot and other particles can drift through your room and leave behind a sticky, greasy layer over everything.
Wood fireplaces require more cleaning and maintenance. You have to regularly clean the chimney. Debris left behind after hauling wood is another mess, along with piles of ash that need to be cleaned after the fire is extinguished.
Unlike a wood fireplace, a gas fireplace is very convenient to use. There is an on-off switch to ignite the fire. You can even use a remote control for controlling the fire’s intensity.
In case of a wood burning fireplace, you have to check the draft, set up logs, crumple paper and tend to the fire till it’s properly lit. With a gas fireplace, simply press a button or flip a switch and a warm, cozy fire appears as if by magic.
Safety and Insurance
A gas fireplace has a safety shutoff system that prevents gas from leaking at any point, especially when there is no fire to burn. Further, the level of the gas remains constant and the size of the flames doesn’t get out of hand. Safety is of utmost importance whenever fire of any kind is involved.
Wood fireplace comes with a higher risk of fire accidents, whereas gas fireplace minimizes them. Regardless of the type of fuel you use for your fireplace, always schedule an annual inspection from a certified professional.
Warning: Do NOT use unvented gas fireplaces in your home. There have been many “complaints about bad smell, soot, moisture, and health-related issues” (Energy Vanguard).
A gas fireplace has higher heat output as compared to wood fireplace. It is manufactured with energy-efficient materials and technology, which ensures that you get as much as 75-98% of energy from the fuel as heat. Conversely, a wood fireplace loses around two thirds of its heat up the chimney, hovering around 30% efficiency.
Gas fireplaces are meant to look like the real thing. To a casual observer, there is no difference. While there are no glowing embers or natural pops and crackles to a gas fireplace, there are products available that can add a crackle and glow.
Though a wood fireplace has a traditional and rustic charm, you can create aesthetically attractive designs around a gas fireplace too. You can create realistic looking logs and include rocks, stones or quartz to give an appealing finish. There’s a variety of versatile and custom design to choose from, including metallic, veneers or sculpted finishes.
Learn more ways to stay warm and cozy this winter.
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