Choosing Between Gas and Wood Burning Fireplaces

January 20, 2016

A fireplace adds ambiance and value to your home. When homebuyers imagine their dream house, the home typically includes a cozy home that keeps you and your family warm in the winter, either with a smoothly running heater or gathering 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 make sure your home stays warm through those cold, winter months.

Aesthetics and Efficiency 

  • Wood: A wood burning fireplace typically wins in the sensory 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, much lower than a furnace that has routine 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 style advances in gas fireplaces. The flames have become more realistic and many versions offer varied heights. The ceramic logs used in gas fireplaces now more closely favor the real thing and come complete with glowing embers, which don’t require you to wait while they simmer out. You can simply switch your gas fireplace on and off, giving you more control over room temperature 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. Just imagine the level of comfort you could have when you pair that with a fully serviced furnace. 

Air Quality and Maintenance

  • Wood: Air quality is critical to every homeowner. Burning wood creates air pollution in and outside your home and the smoky wood smell that a wood burning fireplace exudes 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 consistantly, 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 suggested that you get your gas fireplace cleaned and adjusted every 12 months by a professional to keep it operating both safely and efficiently.
If you are wanting to find out more information about converting your wood burning fireplace into a gas fireplace or you simply want to schedule your annual furnace service, please give us a call at (713) 352-7887 or schedule an appointment on our website. Our experts will have you snuggled up and comfortably warm in no time.
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