Fireplace Fuel Types
Selecting the fuel type is an important decision that essentially is a choice between convenience and sensory experience. If you’ve experienced a real wood fire, you understand the sound and smells simply cannot be replicated by anything else. Meanwhile, a gas fireplaces offer warmth of a flame at the flip of a switch for those looking for more convenience. For an even more convenient and flexible option, electric fireplaces will emit heat and provide realistic illusions of fire, but without any of the limitations on placement or venting.
Generally the most expensive option to install is a traditional Masonry woodburning fireplace, as a chimney must be built to go with it. A less expensive option is a “factory-built” fireplace, which is an insulated steel box that lets you burn real wood, with the smoke escaping to the roof.
See our tips for responsible wood burning.
Gas fireplaces can add heat and ambiance at the flip of a switch. Gas fireplaces styles are incredibly diverse and range from traditional with wood logs to modern, linear designs with crystals to meet any design taste. Adding a gas fireplace is still an investment and based on design the price can vary greatly, but it can cost less especially if you already have a gas supply to your home. A gas burning fireplace will operate during a power outage and can be installed just about anywhere and vented outside. However, gas fireplaces require proper circulation and ventilation and can be quite hot to the touch. Proper installation and maintenance are important.
By far the least expensive and most flexible option is the electric fireplace. It just requires an outlet and space and are great for someone who wants the aesthetic of a fireplace without breaking the bank. However, electric fireplaces are not the most cost effective method for heating a home and will be ineffective if the power goes out. They are ideal for apartments, town homes, offices, or spaces that cannot be vented.