Many people dream of curling up with a good book by the fire with a nice cup of tea. When you want to make this fantasy a reality, you need to know which type of fireplace (whether it be wood, gas, or electric) is best for you. This article is thorough in the information you need to make the selection that will be right for you and your home. From safety to cost and even how environmentally friendly it is, you will have the information you need to decide what type of fireplace would be the perfect choice for your home.
- 1 Electric Fireplace Vs Wood Fireplace Vs Gas Fireplace
- 1.1 ✪ Maintenance Cost
- 1.2 ✪ Look and Realism
- 1.3 ✪ Efficiency
- 1.4 ✪ Environmentally Friendly
- 1.5 ✪ Safety
- 1.6 ✪ Convenience
Electric Fireplace Vs Wood Fireplace Vs Gas Fireplace
A gas fireplace unit burns propane or burns natural gas in order to function. The basic materials will cost you around $2,000. The installation and how you decide to finish the fireplace will also add another $2,500. However, a gas fireplace that is vent-free will cost around $400, but keep in mind that when you add the price of hiring a professional so that you can get a gas line installed or a connection to a propane tank, it will add another $1,000.
Anticipate a wood-burning fireplace that is open-hearth to have a budget that will be between $7,000 and $10,000. This is because you will need the help of a professional mason. They will need to lay the groundwork for a foundation that is able to hold the weight of both the firebox and chimney, and then there is the cost of the chimney itself.
The prices of electric models usually start under $400. As long as it is a portable unit, it is the total cost because it is ready to go once you take it out of the packaging. However, if you choose a package that includes a mantel, be ready to pay anywhere from $800 to $1,600.
✪ Maintenance Cost
Having a gas fireplace will run you about seventeen cents an hour on your utility bill. It will need an annual service check and a chimney inspection, which will run you about $100-$150. If the fan malfunctions on a type that spreads heat, call an expert. It will only cost you between $40-$150.
To maintain a wood fireplace, you will need to budget $100-$200 for to clean your chimney. It also needs to be checked three times a year to make sure it is breaking down its fuel efficiently and safely. It costs an average of $445 for troubleshooting problems (nationally).
An electric model does not need regular maintenance. You can buy the fuel for three dollars for every thirteen-ounce can.
There are also fuel calculators on the internet that will help you figure out the roughly exactly how much you can expect to pay depending on where you are and how often you have to use your model.
Also Read: Best Pellet Stove Reviews And Buying Guide
✪ Look and Realism
There are many types of units that are now available that have logs that look so authentic that it is difficult to tell the difference between these and the real deal wood fireplaces. It also creates real flames. Because of the insulation of a gas fireplace, as long as you have access to a gas line or a propane tank you can put your model anywhere in your home.
Nothing looks more convincing as far as fireplaces go! This gives you the authentic flame view. But you also need to check with your county or city’s building department to ensure that you are up to code regarding all aspects of your fireplace, which limits your options on where to put it. Luckily, most of the codes you will need when considering where to place your fireplace are online. Also, consider where you are going to store your wood. Don’t place it against the house because it is a fire hazard, but make sure it is within a convenient distance.
There are sound effects available that sound like a real crackling fire. Also, technology has made it possible for these types to look convincing with LED lighting, videos of wood burning and even hologram imaging. You can choose between having a wall mount, which will give you more of the look of having an inserted fireplace in your home, or a portable one that you can have placed anywhere in your house.
It all depends on how well your house is insulated. However, given that a fireplace with a BTU of 40,000 would be enough to heat your family room or a large living room. There are also high-efficiency models that can go down to 12,000 BTU, which can heat the average dining room or your bedroom. However, if watching the flames is the main reason you want to get one, don’t buy one that has a BTU that is too high of a capacity for your house. This is because they are efficient enough to operate for a short amount of time and then shut off after raising your room up to the right temperature.
It depends on the size of your fireplace to determine how many BTU’s it will produce. However, most run in the 20,000 to 40,00 range. That is about an average of 1,000 to 2,000 square feet. Although glass fireplace screens are a great way to keep your house warmer with fuel efficiency, be mindful of safety when you are keeping the fire going.
BTU output is more limited because it depends on the electric current that is available. However, it will be labeled with the BTU that will give you an idea of how much area it is able to keep warm. The maximum ability for a 120v outlet is 1500 watts, which is about 5115 BTUs, which will warm up around 500 square feet. You can leave it running all night, but you may want to consider turning it off at times just for safety concerns.
✪ Environmentally Friendly
This fossil fuel is less harmful to the environment and is a huge improvement over the past types. It still creates greenhouse gases and is not a renewable resource.
A “carbon neutral” fuel, is considered environmentally friendly because when the wood burns there it doesn’t release any more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than what a tree would naturally expand during its lifetime. It is also a renewable resource.
The process of getting fuel to the electric current releases harmful levels of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and is a non-renewable resource. However, depending on where you live there is more electricity that is being created by alternative means. If your electricity comes from those sources than this is the most environmentally friendly type to choose.
Gas fireplaces produce no random sparks, and you don’t have to have your hands near the flames to keep the fire going, so there is little chance of being burned. However, the main risk comes from possible gas leaks that are due to improperly vented gas exhausts. This has the potential to release carbon monoxide indoors. If these units are regularly maintained and installed correctly, there is little cause for concern.
There is a greater chance of fire or injury when it comes to wood varieties. There are risks you need to consider when it comes to wood fireplaces and keeping them properly maintained and keeping you and your family safe. These include flue obstructions, the buildup of creosote on the inside of the chimney, and sparks that can pop out of the hearth to flammable materials. You also need to be mindful of not getting burned from accidental contact with flame or fireplace equipment.
There are no more risks regarding safety to electric fireplaces than any other electric appliance. Since the flames aren’t real and there are precautions such as cool-touch glass, the prospect of a contact burn is minimal, making it safe for kids. An added bonus is that most models come with an automatic shut-off that turns it off in case it overheats.
These turn on and off with no messy cleanup. The fireplace will still provide heat if the power goes out, so you don’t have to worry about powerful winter storms.
When you have a wood fireplace, you have to be aware of the fuel available in your area. For instance, you need to be well stocked up on wood (somewhere away from the house, but still convenient for safety’s sake) for the winter. You also need to consider all the steps it takes to start, maintain, and put out a fire.
Electric fireplaces are nice because all you have to do is push the button and the heat starts. The only maintenance that has to be done is what you would do with any appliance — check the plug and cord. However, unless you have a backup generator, do not count on them when the power goes out. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be wise to rely on them during winter storms when you need them most.
Every option here has its merits, and it’s up to you to decide what is best for your home. Whether you are looking at your budget, convenience, safety concerns or even ambiance, there are many great options that will suit you, no matter what your choice is. Consider what has been said in this guide, and enjoy your fireplace!