Wood burning fireplaces serve a practical purpose and can provide comfort during cold winter months. There is something nostalgic and primitive about stacking a load of wood in the fireplace and setting it ablaze. Keep in mind, when maintaining a wood burning fireplace, you'll need to account for wood storage, ash removal, andirons to prevent log roll out, fireplace screens and more. If this seems like a lot of work, you do have other options.
A great alternative to a wood-burning fireplace is a gas log set. Gas log sets come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit your fireplace, decor, and style. You can even select logs normally found in your region to add to the realism. They’re available in both vented and ventless applications. Check out our article for an in-depth look at the differences between vented and ventless gas logs.
Gas logs have some advantages. There is no need to figure out wood storage, delivery, or dealing with pests being brought into your home from real wood logs. With a gas log set, once you turn on your fireplace you can immediately enjoy the fire instead of working to get your fire started and keeping it going. You can also save yourself the hassle and mess of cleaning out ashes. Gas logs are pleasing to the eye when they are burning but also when they're not. After the one-time cost of installation and setup, gas logs are fairly inexpensive to operate.
There are a few drawbacks. Vented gas logs can only be installed in fully functioning fireplaces with a chimney. Most of your heat from a vented gas log set is released up the chimney as the damper must be set in the fully open position during operation. This is to ensure that all the emissions from combustion are moved up and out of the room. Contact your local chimney professional to ensure that your chimney is fully functional prior to choosing a vented gas log option.
If you do not have a wood burning fireplace that is fully functioning, but still like the look of gas logs, a ventless gas log set may be what you are looking for. While ventless gas logs may not look as realistic as their vented counterparts, they are a great source of heat and can be installed without the use of a functional fireplace.
Consult your local plumber or other gas professionals about codes pertaining to owning and installing gas log sets. If you do not have a gas line inside or near your fireplace, installing one will be necessary and could be costly.
If you don’t have an existing fireplace, an electric fireplace may be your solution. There are also electric fireplace inserts made specifically for existing fireplaces, so this may be something that could work for your home. Electric fireplaces are stylish, easy to install and easy to use.
Electric fireplaces are hassle-free and very low maintenance when compared to wood burning fireplaces and gas log sets. They don’t require a vent, as they do not emit harmful emissions, and generally do not need any permits for installation. While electricity rates vary by region, on average the operating cost is about $0.03 USD per hour to run the flames only and $0.08 USD to operate both the flames and heater together. Electric fireplaces are cost-effective, environmentally friendly and 100% efficient! If you select a built-in model, you will need a professional electrician to do the hard-wiring for you.
Electric fireplaces offer a great range of styles. From traditional mantel type fireplaces with glowing logs to sleek and modern built-in electric fireplaces with color-changing fire and fire glass, the options are endless.
So, what’s it going to be? Whether you split real wood logs, light gas logs or click a remote, any of these options are sure to bring you great enjoyment. Make the best decision for you and your family’s needs. Hopefully, this will help you formulate your own opinion on the fireplace that is right for you.