Winter is here and temperatures are frigid in Philadelphia and the rest of the United States. In an average January and February, high temperatures are in the 40s. It is common for temperatures to drop into the 20s and lower.
Higher energy costs also come with colder temperatures. Homeowners are trying to figure out how to heat their homes in the most efficient manner possible.
A fireplace is one of the best ways to provide supplemental heat to your home. Fireplaces also add luxury and comfort to any new construction.
Read on to learn which types of fireplaces are best for your luxury home. Explore the wood vs. gas fireplace debate and determine which fits your home style better.
What Are the Different Types of Fireplaces?
There are three primary types of fireplaces to consider for your new home; natural gas, electric or wood-burning. Each fireplace type has its advantages and disadvantages.
Wood-burning fireplaces have been in existence for thousands of years. Before modern amenities, wood-burning fires were the only way to keep people warm.
Today, wood-burning fireplaces are quaint and in style. Homeowners love the smell of naturally burning wood in their homes.
They provide an ambiance and a welcoming feeling for your guests. Few things are more satisfying than a naturally burning fire on a cold, winter day.
Of course, there are some factors to consider before choosing a wood-burning fireplace. For starters, they require wood for burning.
This may not seem significant, but purchasing wood is a considerable cost. Some choose to chop their own wood, however, this requires manual labor. It is also inconvenient if you run out of it.
Wood-burning fireplaces give off a lot of smoke. Over time, the smoke and resulting soot build up. You need to have the chimney routinely cleaned for safety and efficiency reasons.
There is a lot of manual work involved with maintaining a wood-burning fireplace. You have to clean the firebox, hearth, and mantel to remove ash and soot.
Also, human effort is required to keep the fire burning. You have to throw new wood on and constantly stoke the fire to keep it going. When you are going to sleep or leaving the house, the fire must be safely extinguished.
Natural Gas Fireplace
There are many benefits of a gas fireplace that homeowners point to. It provides the warmth of a fireplace without all the work. It is ultra-convenient as the fire is turned on with a light switch or remote control.
Gas fireplaces are constructed to resemble wood-burning ones as much as possible. Logs are set in the firebox and the flames are real.
All the appealing elements of a fireplace are included. You can have a beautiful mantel and hearth surrounding your firebox regardless of the fuel type.
Little cleanup or maintenance is required for a gas fireplace. You should clean out any visible dust in the firebox. Your pilot light may go off, requiring it to be cleaned and re-ignited by a service technician.
Like a wood-burning fireplace, there are disadvantages as well. A gas-burning fireplace is going to drive up your utility bills. There may be a partial offset as your fireplace eases the burden on your home’s HVAC system.
Despite the manufacturer’s best efforts, a gas-burning fireplace may not fully replicate a wood-burning unit. You cannot fully recreate the ambiance and natural odors of an authentic wood-burning fire. At the same time, a natural gas fireplace is significantly more convenient than a wood fire.
The final fireplace type is electric. The installation and purchase cost varies depending on the model that you select. You can buy a cheap electric fireplace that plugs into an existing outlet.
More luxurious units are wired into the home’s electric system. They are operated with a switch and there are no visible wires.
Electric fireplaces enjoy many of the same benefits as natural gas units. They are convenient to use and require no manual effort to operate. There is minimal clean-up or maintenance involved with an electric fireplace.
These fireplaces are also designed to replicate an authentic woodburning fireplace. Like all types, there are some disadvantages to consider.
Electric fireplaces use a lot of energy. They are going to drive up your electricity bill depending on how often you use it.
Like natural gas units, there is going to be an offsetting effect as it eases the burden on your HVAC unit. However, there is a smaller positive effect, as electricity costs more than natural gas.
Generally, electric appliances have a shorter lifespan than gas ones. In general, gas appliances have fewer parts to maintain. Delivering gas to a pilot light and igniting a fire also requires fewer complex parts.
What Are Some Other Important Considerations?
Cost and maintenance are just a few of the deciding factors when selecting a fireplace. Some customers have other priorities like protecting the environment.
For example, natural gas may be the more convenient option but use fossil fuels to operate. Natural gas is not a renewable resource. Wood, on the other hand, is renewable as more trees can always be planted.
The environmental argument is not as simple as renewable energy. Wood-burning fireplaces emit more carbon dioxide than natural gas units. While small in the grand scheme of things, wood-burning fireplaces contribute to climate change more than natural gas units.
Flexibility is another factor to consider. Not every room in your home can automatically incorporate a wood-burning fireplace. Significant redesign may be necessary to add a chimney to route smoke out of the house.
Your Guide to the Wood vs. Gas Fireplace Debate
For many, a fireplace is a game-changer for your home. They add welcoming and comforting vibes for guests and family members alike. Many are adding fireplaces to their bedrooms for added comfort.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both. In the end, it is all a matter of personal preference. If you would like more information on the wood vs. gas fireplace debate, contact us today to schedule an appointment.