Pros & Cons Of Gas, Electric, And Wood Burning Fireplaces

by Regina

fireplaces, heating and cooling

Wood burning fireplaces, gas fireplaces, and electric fireplaces all have one thing in common: they each bring unique qualities into your home!

That said, each has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Figuring out which type of fireplace is going to be the best one for you requires a closer look at each one.

Following are the basic differences between wood burning fireplaces, gas fireplaces, and electric fireplaces…

Wood burning fireplaces have the advantage giving off a romantic and cozy ambiance that many people envision when they are building their dream home. Some simply couldn’t live in a home without having a fireplace that burns real logs.

This is even more evident in log homes, than in stick-built ones. Especially when you consider the variety of custom fireplace mantles which are available.

Here are the pros & cons of wood burning fireplaces:

  • A wood burning fireplace is great during a power outage, because they don’t require any electricity.
  • With a wood fireplace you have to have an ongoing source of wood and a dry place to store it. This can present some problems, depending on your setup, and can be costly if you have to purchase the wood as opposed to having access to a wooded area close by.
  • Since much of the heat produced by a wood fireplace goes right up the chimney, wood fireplaces don’t heat your home well.
  • Drafts can come into your home through the chimney. So, if you’re trying to keep your electric heating bill down, a drafty chimney can make it more difficult to do so.

Usually, wood burning fireplaces are used only on occasion, and they are generally valued more for the unique ambiance and rustic characteristics they bring to a home than for their heating qualities.

Gas fireplaces include both the ventless kind (which don’t require a chimney) as well as vented options (which may or may not require a chimney).

Here are the pros & cons of gas fireplaces:

  • Gas log sets and gas inserts are popular choices because you can turn them on with a flip of a switch. Some even have a remote control — which allows you to turn them on from wherever you happen to be sitting!
  • While a gas fireplace won’t heat your entire home, it will heat the room sufficiently. This can save you some money because by heating only the area of the house you are in (instead of cranking up the heat for the entire house), you will save on your electric bill.
  • While there is a flame in gas fireplaces, you don’t hear the crackle and pop of a rustling fire, nor do you get the wonderful scent of fresh burning wood.
  • Gas fireplaces typically cost about $2,000, installed. So, this can be an expensive option for some.

Typically, gas fireplaces are chosen for their overall convenience and heating capabilities. Gas logs can, indeed, provide some of the ambiance that wood burning fireplaces provide — just not to as great a degree.

Electric fireplaces do not require a chimney at all because the heat dissipates directly into the room.

Here are the pros & cons of electric fireplaces:

  • Electric fireplaces are much cheaper than either a wood fireplace or a gas fireplace.
  • They can be moved from room to room at any time. This is a plus if you live in a condo or an apartment.
  • You don’t have to have an electric fireplace installed. Instead, you can just plug it into an outlet and you’re ready to go!
  • Electric fireplaces barely provide more heat than a standard electric space heater.
  • Since there’s no real flame, there’s also no snap, crackle & pop of the wood. Nor is there a scent of burning wood with an electric fireplace. (You can purchase a model that has a “digital version” of a flame, but some can look really fake.)
  • Since electric fireplaces don’t always come pre-assembled, you will probably have to put yours together or hire someone to do it for you.

Electric fireplaces are generally chosen for their low-cost, high-efficiency, and overall practicality.