Which Fireplace Insert Is Right for You: Wood or Gas?

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Basking in the peacefulness of a warm fire is an enchanting idea; however, the effort that goes into using the fireplace which gives you that ambiance is usually overshadowed.

Each type of fireplace insert comes with certain requirements and considerations, which is what we will explain to help you select the best type of insert for your home.

Ease-Of-Operation

Wood Fireplace  Gas Fireplace  
High level of involvement to operate.   Be prepared to acquire wood logs, cut the logs to size when needed, transport, and store them, manually start the fire, stoke the fire as needed, and properly put out the fire when done.Low level of involvement to operate.   One push of a button will turn your fire on and off. Some gas installs even come with remote control capabilities that allow you to set your fireplace to a specific temperature.

Maintenance

Wood Fireplace  Gas Fireplace  
Annual chimney sweep is required. Cleaning out your chimney on an annual basis is needed to remove creosote, which is soot buildup in the chimney. If it isn’t cleaned out, there is the possibility of a flue fire.   *Wood type burned and frequency of use greatly influence how often your chimney needs to be swept.Annual chimney inspection is required.   This annual inspection heavily focuses on the vent, valves, ceramic logs, and pilot light. Because CO2 leaks are subtle, you must ensure all parts of your gas fireplace are securely connected and functioning.

Safety

Wood FireplaceGas Fireplace
Be diligent about tending an active fire, what you are burning, and any signs of a chimney fire. 3 Safety Tips for wood-fueled fires:   You should NEVER leave an active fire unattended. Know what you are burning. Wood fires release tiny particles into the air, which can be harmful to your health. Stay on top of your chimney liner care. Creosote is corrosive and can damage your chimney liner leaving your chimney exposed to high heat which can cause a chimney fire.  Be diligent about carbon monoxide poisoning.   3 Safety Tips for wood-fueled fires:   Glass doors can reach 400 degrees. Allow 45 minutes to cool down after the fire is turned off. Childproof screens are available as added protection. Install a carbon monoxide detector close to your fireplace. Stay on top of your ventilation care to ensure the CO2 is being directed out of your home.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends that chimneys, fireplaces, and vents in frequent use be inspected annually. If you cannot remember the last time your chimney underwent an inspection, schedule a safety inspection with Priddy Chimney Sweeps before you use your fireplace next. No matter what fuel type your fireplace operates on, in-home fire safety is top priority.

Heating Efficiency

Wood FireplaceGas Fireplace
  Low efficiency in heating your home.   Wood-burning fireplaces lose 80%-90% of heat up the chimney; however, wood fireplace inserts show to decrease that heat loss.  Highly efficient in heating your home.   Gas fireplace inserts only lose 20%-30% of their heat. However, gas logs can lose up to 75% of the heat produced.

*Selecting the type of fireplace to heat your home is based on many factors including the size of space, insulation levels, and number of windows around. We recommend calling Priddy Chimney Sweeps to discuss your specific home environment with a professional Chimney Sweep.

Environmental Impact

Wood FireplaceGas Fireplace
Less environmentally friendly.   You do have an option of EPA-regulated wood inserts, which show to create far less smoke and emissions than open-hearth fireplaces or older inserts.More environmentally friendly.   The EPA estimates that gas fireplaces emit 99% fewer particles than wood-burning; however, some consider gas-fueled fires to be less environmentally friendly because gas is still a non-renewable resource.

Resale Value

Wood FireplaceGas Fireplace
  Favored by older home buyers. Overall, a wood fireplace will increase your resale value. Favored by younger homebuyers.   Overall, a gas fireplace will increase your resale value.

The right answer in choosing a fireplace insert comes down to what you want to deal with. Are you comfortable with being extra vigilant with your CO2 protection? Is cleaning out the soot a nuisance to you or not? How attached are you to the crackling sounds of a traditional fire?

While wood fireplaces have their rustic charm, there is no denying they are a lot of work. They require more cleaning, the fuel is harder to get, and they can be very smoky. As such,  converting your wood fireplace into a gas fireplace is an option you can explore. Converting a fireplace to be gas-fueled is a large amount of work upfront but gives you the long-term benefit of enjoying an easy-to-operate fireplace for many winter seasons to come.

To learn more about how each insert type would fit into your home, call the chimney experts at Priddy Chimney Sweeps. We can help you evaluate your heating needs and indoor environment to figure out if wood or gas is best.

If you already know which type of insert you want, submit a free virtual assessment just by snapping a few photos!

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