A gas fireplace or insert gives you the ambiance and warmth of a flame without relying on solid fuels or producing some of the byproducts of a wood-burning unit. They’ve risen in popularity over the years, and as they’ve graced more and more homes, manufacturers have responded by adding options and features to make them an increasingly attractive choice to many homeowners – and it can be fairly quick and stress-free to have a pro install a new gas unit or retro-fit one into an existing wood-burning system for those looking for a change.
So is a gas-fueled unit right for you? A lot of that decision comes down to personal preferences and priorities. Examining the pros and cons will help you make an informed choice. And remember that regardless of what you’re looking for in a fireplace, we’re happy to listen to your vision for home heating and ambiance and respond to your questions.
What Are the Pros of Gas Fireplaces?
- Ease of use. Ready to use your fireplace? Flip a switch and enjoy an instant blaze, no fetching firewood or building a fire required. Your blaze will burn steadily with no tending as you enjoy the day. Ready to turn in? Flip the switch again, no need to wait for the fire to die down. The convenience factor is unparalleled.
- Control. Along with ease of use, many units feature options that give you more control of the way you use your fireplace. You may be able to change the appearance of the flames, and control the temperature of your fire with precision – often from the comfort of your armchair using a remote control. Some units have built-in thermostats and will turn on and off prompted by the room temperature.
- Environmental factors. While gas is non-renewable, these units are engineered to be efficient, making them overall an eco-friendly way to bring heat into your home. They also don’t create ash or creosote like burning wood does – and there’s not a risk of embers or sparks tumbling out.
- Less clean up. Because creosote accumulates in your chimney flue as you burn wood and is combustible, wood fireplaces require you to be diligent about scheduling regular chimney sweepings. You’ll also need to stay on top of clearing ash from your firebox, which can be messy.
- Minimal maintenance. In most cases, your gas fueled unit won’t require more professional maintenance than its annual inspection by your certified chimney pro – although if you have questions or concerns about maintenance, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask.
- Flexible placement. Gas fireplaces can have a smaller footprint in the room and can be installed with fewer placement considerations. This opens up your options as far as convenience and design go. With vented and ventless options, it’s possible to add a fireplace to nearly any space without the major construction that adding a traditional fireplace would require. And with a host of finishes and styles, it should be easy to find a unit that fits your fireplace vision – whether that’s a more modern or traditional look.
What Are the Cons of Gas Fireplaces?
- Fuel cost. This one depends on your situation. If you have easy access to firewood, having a wood-fueled unit is going to offer a lot of warmth at an extremely low cost. That said, you’ll need to be willing to chop, split, and store your firewood, and if you don’t have the ability to harvest your own firewood, gas is a relatively inexpensive fuel option.
- Dependence on gas supply. A constant supply of gas is required for the system to function. While not typical, any disruption to the gas supply will mean disruption to your ability to use your fireplace for heat or enjoyment.
- Limited heat output. While gas units are efficient, they often produce less radiant heat than wood-burning units. While they can still provide ample warmth in most situations, the effects on very large rooms may not be as far-reaching. Also, while gas fireplaces heat up more quickly, they also hold onto heat for less time than a traditional brick fireplace.
- Ambiance. Increasingly, manufacturers are creating gas fueled units that strive to mimic that real feel of flames created by a wood fire in a traditional fireplace. But there’s still no perfect substitute for the sights, sounds, and smells of a wood fire. For some, this is the decisive factor – they just love the crackle, aroma, and dance of a wood fire, even if there’s more work involved.
- It’s more hands-off. What? Don’t we love the ease of a gas fireplace? For most, the answer is ‘yes.’ But some people find the process of fueling, building, and stoking a fire therapeutic and are happy to invest the time.
We’re Here to Help
When it comes to fireplaces, there are all kinds of options available to suit a homeowner’s lifestyle and wishes. Whether you crave the clean convenience of a gas-fueled unit or the crackling coziness of a wood-burning system, let us show you what’s possible. With over 35 years of industry experience and a team of friendly, skilled technicians, we’d be glad to put our knowledge to work in service of the vision you have for your home.
Call 518-500-4048 or reach out online now.