The primary reason people use fireplaces is to heat a room or space and to offset a portion of their utility bills. When selecting a fireplace that will accomplish this, homeowners have to choose between a gas fireplace or a wood-burning fireplace. Many choose wood, thinking it will be more economical than a gas-driven unit. This isn’t necessarily the case.
Are gas fireplaces expensive to run during winter?
Gas fireplaces bring a number of advantages to the homeowner, including very high heating efficiency. Every bit of the gas (natural gas from a gas line; propane from an outdoor tank) that is fed into the fireplace system is burned and converted to heat. Features are available with some models of gas fireplaces that make them even more beneficial.
For example, convective technology causes hot air from the firebox to be pushed into the room or area that needs to be heated. Gas fireplaces also provide an excellent source of radiant heat.
Aside from the heat generated, gas fireplaces have other advantages which, when all taken together, make this type of home heating the best choice for economy in the minds of many.
With a wood-burning fireplace, there’s much work to do. With a gas fireplace, little is necessary to make the unit operate. For a lot of homeowners with busy schedules and lives, tending to a gas fireplace is simply much simpler.
Let’s take a general look at what it takes to operate these two types of fireplaces.
Running a wood-burning fireplace
Take a trip to chop wood or purchase pre-cut logs. If you cut your own wood, make sure to have axes, saws and/or chainsaws that are in good working order – replace or repair, if necessary.
Once you have your logs, set aside any “green” wood so that it can dry before going into the fireplace. Keep all wood stored in a dry space, because unseasoned wood will create much more smoke and burn much less efficiently than wood that is perfectly dry.
When you want to start a fire, haul logs into the house. Sweep up all the chips and fragments that fell off the logs. Stack wood in the fireplace in a way that will allow sufficient oxygen to get to the fire. Put some tinder beneath the logs in the proper amount and configuration to catch fire and then put enough heat against the logs so they ignite.
Make sure to have quality doors or at least a good screen to prevent popping embers from jumping out of the firebox. When the fire begins to diminish, stop what you’re doing and add more wood to the fireplace. After the fire, use fireplace tools to clean out ash and wood chips from the firebox.
Running a gas fireplace
Turn the appliance on and start enjoying the beautiful flames. When you’re through using the fireplace, turn it off.
The overall economy of gas
As you can see, the difference between running a gas fireplace vs. a wood-burning fireplace is like night and day. For some homeowners, the sheer simplicity of using a gas fireplace compared with what could be considered time-consuming hassle with a wood fireplace makes choosing gas an easy choice. When time is money, gas fireplaces are clearly quite economical to run in the winter.
Marsh’s Stoves & Fireplaces of Toronto carries a fine selection of handsome and economical gas fireplaces. You can see them all at our showroom at 3322 Dundas Street West. With questions about fireplaces, stoves and hearth accessories, please call 762-4582.