If you are out in the market to buy a fireplace for your home, you will be spoilt for choice. In fact, there are so many different types of modern fireplaces, the task of picking one that’s perfect for your home can be overwhelming.
With so many different fuel choices, style options, and feature lists, it’s natural to miss a few vital details or be swayed into buying the wrong model by the store’s sales executive.
This post aims to arm you with the basic education before going to a fireplace store or start looking for fireplaces online. In this post, we take a look at two of the most popular types of modern fireplaces for living rooms, wood-burning fireplaces and gas fireplaces.
After laying down the facts, we will let you know which one is our favorite and tell you why.
Wood Burn Fireplace
When people think about fireplaces, they usually imagine wood burning fireplaces. These are your typical brick fireplaces that burn real wood. Everything from the fire to the sound of crackling wood looks and feels authentic. While there is no denying the romanticism of these fireplaces, wood burning fireplaces are grossly impractical compared to other types.
Fuel Cost: Fuel cost depends on where you source your wood. If the fireplace is in a cabin in the middle of forested land, where you are allowed to cut your own firewood, then there is no cost. However, if you are in a city, there is a high chance, you would have to buy lumber from a firewood seller.
In which case, you need to pay around $150 to as much as $400 per cord when the demand for firewood increase during winter.
Maintenance: You not only need to clean up the ashes after every fire you would also need to call in the chimney guy to clean up the soot accumulation in your chimney. Regular chimney inspection does drive up the cost and effort of maintaining a traditional wood burning fireplace.
Appearance: There is no beating the charm, appearance, and the beauty of the actual flames. If you want fires that look as beautiful as campfires, traditional wood burning fireplaces are the best.
However, some wood burning fireplaces often don’t go well with sleek modern decor. Glass enclosed gas fireplaces with sharp lines often look better in a modern apartment setting.
Heating Performance: When it comes to heating the room uniformly, wood burning fireplaces definitely falls short. While does do a great job of heating the seating area around the living room, it often lacks the power to heat up remote corners of the living room.
Gas fireplaces are much more efficient and practical when compared to wood burning fireplaces. You also get additional features such as adjustable LED lighting and easy remote operation. These modern fireplaces usually have double glass barriers that make them a lot safer than their wood-burning counterparts.
Fuel Cost: Unlike wood burning fireplaces, there is no way of getting free natural gas. Therefore, if you are comparing the fuel cost of a gas fireplace to a wood burning fireplace that runs on free lumber, you know which one is going to win.
However, if you are not a lumberjack who routinely goes out to chop wood, running gas fireplaces can actually be cheaper.
As per some estimates, the daily cost of gas is around $2 for a fire that lasts 4 to 5 hours. So that’s around $240 for 4 months of usage. These are standard estimates for a regular sized living room and standard gas fireplaces. Large rooms with giant fireplaces would obviously need more gas.
Considering that firewood cord can be as expensive as $400 during peak seasons, you can save on the fuel cost when using gas fireplaces.
Maintenance: While gas fireplace manufacturers recommend a yearly tune up and check, there is no real cost or effort required beyond that. Vents do not develop soot as gas burns much more efficiently than firewood.
Appearance: Unlike electric fireplaces that artificially recreate flames, flames in gas fireplaces are real. Some fireplaces even have decorative and colored pebbles, LED lighting, and even ceramic wood. In a modern apartment setting, gas fireplaces look much more in style compared to traditional fireplaces.
However, if you are looking for a fireplace for your vacation home or a log cabin in a remote forested area, traditional wood burning fireplaces look more authentic.
Heating Performance: With fans for proper airflow and the efficiency of gas, gas fireplaces do a much better job of heating up a room. The heat generated is uniform and can be regulated remotely.
Our Favorite Fireplace Type
If we had to pick a favorite, then we would definitely go with gas fireplaces. They are immensely practical and they offer far superior heating performance. They also cause fewer emissions and are easier to maintain.
The only place a wood burning fireplace makes sense is when it’s for a cabin located near forested lands. They can be a good choice for remote vacation homes. The chore and the charm of collecting and chopping wood to build a fire can be a great activity for the entire family, at least for a while.