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Cozying Up To A Fireplace: Which To Choose? - Gas Or Wood?

Updated: Mar 16, 2020

As it begins to get colder and darker outside as winter approaches, what are the pros and cons for both gas and wood burning fireplaces?  If you’re thinking about installing a fireplace in your home, you just need to decide what kind of fireplace is right for you. There are a wide variety of fireplace types to choose from and choosing the ideal location in your house.  Finding the one that is right for you can be difficult. Here is a short list of pros and cons for the two most common fireplace types: gas and wood.

A glowing gas fireplace, which is attached to either natural gas or a propane pipeline, allows you the flexibility to choose what size and heat level will fit the room you are installing in. The fireplace experts can help you pick a style to match your home, and even offer multi-sided and see-through models to create a unique and beautiful fireplace that is essentially functioning art.


  • Clean Burning:  Both natural gas and propane are relatively clean burning fuels.  That means that gas fireplaces are better for the environment than wood-burning alternatives.

  • No Chimney is Needed since the fuel burns cleanly.  You can vent the exhaust to an external wall or roof vent.  If you have a wood burning chimney, you can find gas inserts to fit your fireplace.

  • Simple On & Off Operations Switches:  Gas fireplaces are easy to use.  With the flip of a switch or the push of a remote button, you can have a wonderfully comforting heat emanating from your fireplace.  Make sure to choose one that has the blower to push the warm air out into the room.  In case of a power outage, you can purchase a remote manual lighting with batteries or light the pilot light by matches.

  • Multiple Sizes and Shapes to Choose From:  The gas inserts come in a variety of shapes and sizes just like TVs do now.  Long and low or a big square depending on where you are going to place it:  bedrooms, living room, dining rooms, outdoor patios and decks or a double fireplace open to both sides.


  • Lack of Ambiance:  The new gas fireplaces have some amazing and realistic gas fireplace logs, but the ambiance is not the same as a wood burning fireplace.  Before choosing gas, make sure you won’t miss the crackling logs, scent of burning wood and watching the fire burn down to embers.

  • Gas Line Installation:   While you don’t need a chimney, you will need to have a gas line installed to the new fireplace location.  Even if you have a gas stove, the gas line will need to be extended to the fireplace which will cause more time and money to install.  You also need to keep an eye on the level of gas in your tank to ensure you have enough when you want it.

  • Hazards Dealing with Gas:  A faulty gas line connection or a gas leak can put your family in danger very quickly.  Professional installation is highly recommended to minimize this possibility. Carbon monoxide is often called the invisible killer. It is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. A carbon monoxide detector is required per both county and state regulations. 

A wood fireplace can be very inviting on a

cold winter’s night.  For centuries, humans

have used wood burning fireplaces to heat

their homes and this type of fireplace is still

very popular. Besides the TV, a fireplace is the

central focal point in any room.


  • Works Anytime:  You never have to worry about power outages, pilot lights or gas fuel levels.  As long as you have wood, kindling and a lighter or match, you are good to go.

  • Cheap Fuel Source:  For most people, wood can be purchased quite inexpensively or even found for free.  Always make sure that you have enough wood on hand for your fire needs.

  • Ambiance Galore!:  You will get the full experience of having a wood fireplace.  You can enjoy the wood scents, sounds of the crackling wood and watching the fire burn down.   You also have the option to burn different types of woods that have a particular scent like apple wood or mesquite. 


  • Must have a Chimney:  This is much easier if you are building a new house.  They can be troublesome and expensive to put into an existing home. 

  • Smoke, Ash, And Wood Storage:  These are the biggest disadvantages of having a wood fireplace.  Cleaning ash from the fireplace regularly and storing it properly is very important in order to not start another fire.  Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.

  • Requires Regular Sweeping and Inspections:   The National Fire Protection Association says, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents must be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs must be done if necessary.”  To keep your family safe and happy, ensure you have annual fireplace and chimney inspections and cleanings as needed.


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