For many people, the decision to choose a gas vs wood fireplace is a difficult choice. Many people love the smell and the sound of a traditional wood burning fireplace, but they also like the convenience and the efficiency of the gas burning models.
Today, the ability to create very realistic looking flames with a choice of different media from glass beads to river stones and natural looking wood for gas fireplaces really adds to their versatility. The entire ambiance of a wood fireplace is still a key factor for many, so the choice is really very personal.
To help make a decision, take the time to consider the following factors that can be overlooked considerations when trying to choose between a gas vs wood fireplace.
Size of the Area to Heat
Gas fireplaces, either as free standing stoves, inserts or as customized gas fireplaces are rated to provide heating for a specific number of square feet. The larger the fireplace, the larger the space it can heat. Wood fireplaces are not rated the same way, but the larger sizes will produce more heat as there is more physical space for the fire.
This factor will be more important if the fireplace is to be a primary or supplemental heating source rather than a more decorative element. Both types of fireplaces can be used for either option.
Ability to Control Temperature
A wood burning fireplace will take longer to heat up a room, but it will also radiate heat for hours after you stop adding more wood. A gas fireplace is instant on and instant off, providing little heat after the flames have been turned off.
When considering the ability to control temperature with a gas vs wood fireplace remember that gas fireplaces can be easily turned up or down with a remote or thermostat configuration whereas wood fireplaces are less easy to manage for temperature output.
When convenience is a major factor, the gas fireplace is always the best option. There is no need to buy wood, stack wood, store wood and bring wood into the house for the fire.
On the other hand, for those with access to low cost or free firewood, the cost of heating using wood will be relatively low compared to gas. Weighing these differences should help you to determine which fireplace option is right for your home.