Answers to Your Burning Questions

There’s nothing quite like the warmth and ambiance of a fireplace on a cold winter night. But with so many options, which type of fireplace should you get? Traditional fireplaces, like wood burning, take a considerable amount of care, cleaning, and maintenance. More modern fireplaces like gas or electric all but eliminate many of the concerns of the wood-burning fireplace; which is the right choice for you?

Take a closer look at gas vs electric fireplaces to get the facts that will help you make the best choice for you and your home.

Efficiency & Heat

Gas fireplaces produce anywhere from 7000 to 16,000 BTUs (a measurement of how much heat output a unit has). Depending on the size of your room, much more than 5000 BTUs will have you turning the flame off so your room doesn't get too hot. That's great if you want to heat a room quickly, but not so great if you want some ambiance. 

Electric fireplaces produce around about 4000-8000 BTUs. On lower end, you'll be able to heat a room up to 400 square feet relatively quickly and a room as large as 1000 square feet on the upper end. That means you can enjoy your flame for much longer. Additionally, many electric fireplaces allow you to turn the heat off and continue to enjoy the flame. 

As far as efficiency, gas fireplaces tend to lose some of the heat they generate out the chimney rendering them anywhere from 70-90% efficient for heating. Electric fireplaces are 100% efficient and they don't require any venting (where heat might escape).

 

Close up of flame.

Flame

Electric fireplaces do a pretty good job replicating the look of real flame. Sometimes you might find guests doing a double take or not even noticing that you don’t have real flames. This is enhanced by realistic logs, embers, and ash. 

Gas fireplaces produce real flame fueled by propane or natural gas. But real flame alone does not a fireplace make. You'll need to enhance the gas flames with accessories like molded logs, ash beds, screens, doors, etc. 

Maintenance

Regular maintenance on your gas fireplace is absolutely essential to keep it running well and safely. An improperly maintained gas fireplace can result in the buildup of carbon monoxide gas and can pose a danger to people and pets.

Electric do not require any maintenance, just upkeep with extended use. They pose no risk as long as there is no damage to cords or electrical outlets. Always follow manufacturer directions on operation of your fireplace to stay safe.

Costs

Costs for operation for both gas and electric depends on local cost and how much you use your fireplace. It also depends on the type of fireplace you have and its design. Check manufacturer specifications for more details.

Installation costs for gas are significantly more than electric. Gas fireplaces are permanent fixtures that must be built in. You might have to add a gas or propane line into the house or build ventilation/chimney if you don’t already have one.

Electric fireplaces require no building or structural adjustments. You can simply plug them in and turn them on. However, there may be some minimal work and cost if you want to mount your fireplace to the wall or build a recessed area for your fireplace.

 

Wall fireplace visible from two different rooms.

Home Value Increase

The National Association of Real Estate Appraisers states that fireplaces often bring a 100% return on investment. In fact, a fireplace can increase the resale value of a home from 6-12%. Adding a fireplace is clearly a good investment for your home and its future. That makes a fireplace a good idea no matter what type you choose. 

Installation

Electric fireplaces are easy to install. You can do it yourself in most cases. They are not permanent, built-in features, which make them really easy to install.

Installation of an electric fireplace may be as simple as plugging it in and turning it on. In other cases, you may need to mount it to the wall.

Gas fireplaces are fairly complex to install and require professional help. If you don’t already have a gas or propane line, that will need to be installed. You will also need proper ventilation in the form of a chimney. Without proper installation, you risk fire and carbon monoxide dangers.
 

Who wins in the battle of the gas vs electric fireplace? That really depends on your preferences, budget, and future plans. Start your fireplace journey with Electric Fireplaces Direct.

 

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