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Fireplaces; Gas vs Wood Burning

The fireplace is the focal point of many homes. But what is the difference between the wood burning fireplace and a gas fireplace, other than the obvious? Which one is better? More efficient? We break it down for you below:

Gas Fireplace

Gas fireplaces look like real wood fires and act like it too! They produce a small amount of smoke that requires venting, but the fire is produced by (…you guessed it…) gas! Many homeowners tire of the effort required to maintain a wood-burning fireplace; purchasing/ gathering wood and cleaning up ash. A gas-burning fire is more manageable than a wood-burning fire because you can control the amount of gas being used to ignite the flame- all it takes is a simple adjustment. It will definitely be more convenient to heat up your home with the flip of switch. There are two options to consider with gas fireplaces: gas logs or gas inserts.

Gas Log

Fireplace with Gas Logs

The advantage that logs have over wood-burning fireplace is that it will emit more heat. The advantage over an insert is that it is considerably cheaper.

However logs are 10-20% effective, as most heat that is produced escapes through the chimney, as it does with the wood burning fireplace as well. If it is not vented properly, it can compromise the air in your home. Also logs must be installed in an existing, working fireplace and have a mandatory, glass door for safety purposes.

Gas Insert

Fireplace with Gas Insert

A more energy efficient option, gas inserts are typically in a pre-fabricated unit on its own, or installed into an existing fireplace. It is a sealed system- no air will escape from the chimney and operates with a blower that pushes the warm air out into the home.

Be wary of ventless gas inserts and opt for direct-vent inserts as this will allow proper air circulation within your home.

Wood Burning Fireplace

The classic of all fireplaces is the wood-burning fireplace. There is no other that can come close to replicating the wonderful ambiance that a wood fire creates. The atmosphere, the warmth, the cracking wood and the vibrant scents are all things that people love about natural wood fires.

Having no dependance on gas or electricity, a wood fireplace would be very beneficial when the power goes out for lighting, to keep warm, and maybe even cooking!

A blower can be installed on the fireplace as well to make it more efficient in spreading the warmth throughout the home. It is also highly recommended to have a heat-proof glass door installed to prevent embers and sparks into the room.

Maintaining a wood fireplace can be more expensive than a gas fireplace as seasoned wood must be supplied, and it must be cleaned properly to work at its best capacity (glass door, ashes from fireplace, soot, chimney + cap cleaning).

Nifty Ideas

Fireplace Wall Divider

Unique Wall Fireplace Design

Floating Wood Burning Fireplace

To Maintain or Not to Maintain

Wood burning fireplaces require maintenance, and requires wood, kindling and cleaning versus a gas fireplace that requires zero maintenance or burning materials. Are you in search of that wonderful crackling sound and aromatic burning wood smell in the cold of winter? Or would you like to an energy efficient way to heat a room while at the same time maintaining some eye appeal?

Another option are electric fireplaces, which are usually bought as a whole pre-fabricated unit and require only a working outlet. No chimney or flue required.

With so many options available, it's easy to get carried away!

Make sure to research the best fireplace for your home, neighbourhood, city restrictions and, of course, your budget.

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