Sorting Through the “Gas vs. Wood Fireplace” Debate

“I would love a house with a fireplace!”  Maybe you’ve heard someone say that before.  Maybe you’ve said it yourself.  Fortunately, to get that fireplace you want, you don’t have to go buy a new house, because today’s fireplaces are pre-built and ready to be installed.

Now comes the part that’s a little trickier: Do you want a gas fireplace or a wood fireplace?  This is important.  Not all fireplaces are created equal, and your lifestyle and preferences will come into play in deciding which of these two popular fuel types is best for your new fireplace.

Wood-burning fireplaces

Nothing can match a roaring log fire on a cold winter’s night.  The look, the sound, the aroma – it’s like something right out of a Norman Rockwell scene.  There’s a certain romance and ambience with a wood-burning fireplace that has no duplicate.

A room can be literally transformed by having a handsome wood fireplace (or fireplace insert) installed.  Couple this with a fancy mantel and surround arrangement, and it’s almost like you’re walking into a room in a different house.

For the environmentally conscious, wood is considered a carbon-neutral fuel source, meaning that for all the smoke that winds up in the atmosphere, an equal amount of smoke and toxins is absorbed by the trees and plants on the planet, balancing everything out.

Another reason wood fireplaces are popular is that they run even in the most dismal power outages.  As long as you’ve got logs, tinder and matches, you’ve got a brilliant fire.

Gas fireplaces

While wood is wood and gas logs aren’t, you’d be surprised at how far log sets have come over the years.  Today’s choices look remarkably like real wood, complete with the knots, burls, flakes, coloring and unique shapes.  You won’t be missing too much of the visual appeal of a fire with a gas unit.

Gas burns clean, especially with constantly evolving governmental standards.  Not only is this good for the environment, it’s good for your fireplace and exhaust pipe: gas fireplaces leave just a fraction of the residue that wood-burning fireplaces create and require much less maintenance.

Speaking of cleaning, the area around your gas fireplace will always be neat and spiffy, with no wood chips, dust or soot to worry about.  This makes gas a great choice for rooms that need to be kept meticulously clean.

If buying, hauling, storing and carrying wood logs into the house and then working to get a fire started isn’t your cup of tea, go with gas.  There’s nothing to add to the firebox, and fires start instantly with a switch.

There are other differences between gas and wood fireplaces, and the best way to learn about them is to pay a visit to Marsh’s Stoves & Fireplaces at 3322 Dundas Street West in Toronto.  Here you can see all the latest and greatest models of both types of fireplaces and get some experienced help in selecting the best appliance for your home and heating needs.  Got questions?  Reach us at (416) 762-4582.