From Wood-Burning To Gas, Fireplace Options Are Wide-Ranging

What do cars, sports, pets and fireplaces have in common?  Each of these we have mentioned has many unique varieties, but not all of those varieties are right for everyone.  Since we know more about fireplaces than the other categories, we’d like to share some helpful information for anybody considering adding a new fireplace to their home or upgrading a current one.

A good way to start determining what fireplace would be best for your home is to separate them by the types of fuel they use.  Many features, benefits and drawbacks are directly related to fuel source, so let’s look at the most popular options and some of their key specs.


Heat: As a supplemental source of heat, wood-burning fireplaces are beautiful but not quite as efficient as a closed combustion burn system like an insert or stove.

Upkeep: Smoke produces toxins and byproducts that adhere to the inside of the chimney and must be cleaned regularly.  Ashes, embers, wood chips and other debris require sweeping up.

Safety: When operated properly, wood fireplaces are generally safe. We recommend using a heatproof safety gate to protect children and pets.  Make sure fires don’t burn too hot or for too long.

Ease of use: Labor involves purchasing (or chopping) wood, hauling it, storing it and bringing in into the house.  Starting a fire isn’t difficult, but there are several steps and it’s critical that the wood be dry.

Ambience: This is the main reason people buy wood-burning fireplaces.  Nothing can beat the look of a roaring fire with real, aromatic, crackling logs.


Heat: These units produce a lot more heat than wood fireplaces.  Direct-vent gas units are good heating sources.

Upkeep: Periodic cleaning of dust, carbon and soot is required, but labor-involvement is minimal.

Safety: The main concern is the heat of the glass doors, so keep items that could be damaged clear of the appliance.  Ensure hookup is performed properly.

Ease of use: For homeowners seeking convenience, gas is the answer.  The fire is controlled with a switch or remote, and temperature is easy to adjust.

Ambience: Modern gas log sets look remarkably like real wood.  You won’t get the aroma, crackling or spitting like with wood logs, but the overall look is very realistic.

What about fireplace inserts?

A fireplace insert is a self-contained appliance that fits into an existing fireplace.  Inserts are powerful heat generators, ideally purchased as upgrades for a fireplace that’s not performing optimally.  They’re available in both wood-burning and gas-burning models, and most of the specs listed above apply to inserts.

Would you like to see all of these fireplace styles up-close and personal?  Check them out and get all your questions answered at Marsh’s Stoves & Fireplaces of Toronto.  Our beautiful showroom is located at 3322 Dundas Street West.  Reach us by phone at (416) 762-4582.