Gas vs. Wood Fireplaces and Their Effect on Energy Costs

When it comes to gas and wood fireplaces, both are a fantastic option, both for aesthetics as well as efficiency. They differ slightly when it comes to maintenance and ease of use, because with gas fireplaces you can have an easy push-button start, whereas with wood you have to build a fire. What’s more, gas has virtually no byproduct compared with wood’s ashes and embers left behind after each burn.

Gas vs. Wood Fireplaces and Their Effect on Energy Costs Image - Burlington VT - BricklinersEfficiency Factors

The chimney system works continuously while a fire is burning in your fireplace. In order for the chimney to work properly a fire should burn hot enough to create a decent updraft, and push the smoke and vapors up through the chimney.

There are many factors other than heat, however, that can greatly affect the efficiency of your fireplace:

  • FUEL
    Certain fuels burn more efficiently than others. Gas offers the cleanest burn and virtually all of the fuel is converted to heat and light. Wood on the other hand has a very poor fuel-to-heat ratio. You have to burn a large amount of wood to produce a moderate amount of heat. Many homeowners who are new to wood heat can make the mistake of burning the wrong type of wood, which lowers efficiency. Wood fireplaces should only burn properly seasoned wood.
    Gas fireplaces are manufactured to be of highest efficiency, so they use every bit of heat produced to heat the living space. This means most gas fireplaces don’t produce enough heat to push the exhaust up the chimney. This won’t be a problem when the gas fireplace is professionally installed, because a certified chimney sweep knows the proper dimensions to correctly vent a gas fireplace.
    Closed units are generally more efficient because they don’t lose heat into the living space. Even when doors are closed, the radiant heat can be enough to heat a room. You can add glass doors to both wood and gas fireplaces. Adding a custom glass door to a wood fireplace brings its efficiency up substantially. Other design factors include the size of the chimney.
    Gas fireplaces are often considered low-maintenance. However, this doesn’t mean no maintenance! Keeping your gas or wood fireplace swept and in good working condition will keep it efficient. Scheduling your chimney sweeps and inspections regularly is the best way to insure your fireplace is at it’s best. Your wood fireplace will produce more soot and creosote, so having it swept regularly is especially important to maintain safety and efficiency.

To find out all you need to know about fireplaces, gas or wood, call a professional from Brickliners today. We can fit you with your dream fireplace today or service the one you have.

Call 802-872-0123 or schedule an appointment online at your convenience.

Related Articles

The Value of a Chimney Cap

Of all of the parts, pieces, and functions of your chimney system, the chimney cap may be the most valuable. It’s one of the most

What Is Chimney Waterproofing?

Many are told that waterproofing is a necessary step in keeping their chimney better protected, but what exactly does this mean and what does the