How do I Choose Between Traditional and Gas Fireplaces?

Article Details
  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
Kit Kats are produced by Hershey in the US, but they are made by NestlĂ© everywhere else, often in unusual flavors.  more...

November 20 ,  1945 :  The Nuremberg Trials began.  more...

Although most modern homes feature central heating and cooling systems, many homeowners still seek the decorative and functional benefits of a fireplace. A fireplace gives a large living space a distinctive focal point, along with delivering auxiliary radiant heat. But today's options seem to run across two separate lines - the traditional woodburning fireplace and newer models which use natural gas. Both have advantages and disadvantages, so it might help to compare the fireplace systems side-by-side on several important issues.

Traditional fireplaces use wood as their fuel source. Properly seasoned firewood is usually purchased in bulk, delivered to the site by truck and stored in a shed or under a protective tarp. The homeowner is responsible for carrying a supply of split logs indoors. Some grocery and department stores do offer small bags of firewood for use in fireplaces, but the overall cost is much higher compared to a bulk order. Woodburning fireplaces do benefit from the fragrance of the logs as they burn, and the flames they create are often seen as inviting and soothing.


Gas fireplaces use natural gas as their main fuel source, although some functional fireplaces may use liquid propane. This natural gas is supplied by a utility company, which means it is a metered product. One advantage is the homeowner does not have to store natural gas on his property or venture out on cold days to bring it indoors. A major disadvantage, however, is that many utility companies buy natural gas options months in advance of winter weather. This means the cost to the customer can vary significantly from year to year, and quite often, natural gas is one of the more expensive products offered by utility companies.

A traditional fireplace must be constructed to eliminate a number of hazards. A working chimney and flue must draw the smoke away from the room. A secure grate must be placed in front to prevent stray sparks from igniting flammable objects in the room. Children are often fascinated by fire and may be tempted to add logs or restore the flame. Woodburning fireplaces also require regular cleaning to reduce the build-up of creosote, a natural byproduct of some woods which can become flammable. Homeowners who choose a traditional fireplace must be diligent with preventative maintenance.

A gas fireplace is generally cleaner than a traditional system. Older gas fireplaces looked more like their kitchen stove cousins; a rack of unappealing blue flames would burn just behind an artificial set of metal logs. Today's gas fireplaces, however, can be controlled with remote control and adjusted to look like crackling orange and yellow flames. The artificial logs often resemble natural split logs, complete with a satisfying glow of embers. Gas fireplaces would be most useful for those who are not comfortable with maintenance or do not have the capacity to store excess wood on their property. Families with small children may also benefit from the instant on/instant off options offered by gas fireplace systems.

Although both a traditional and gas fireplace offer owners a decorative as well as functional option, advances in technology have eliminated the gaps between them. For this reason, a modern gas fireplace may be the better choice from the standpoint of safety. A traditional woodburning fireplace by its very nature uses live flames which cannot always be controlled. Natural gas can be very expensive, however, and there is always the remote possibility of a leak developing between the supply line and the fireplace. Choose according to your personal preference, but be aware of the maintenance requirements of the fireplace system you ultimately choose.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 1

Where can i by everything for a gas remote controlled fireplace?

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?