The gas fireplaces have gained popularity in recent years due to their attractive designs and ease of use. Although they have certain advantages, they also have their disadvantages. In this article by HotFireDoor, we will analyze in-depth the pros and cons of gas fireplaces to help you make an informed decision when choosing a fireplace for your home.
The best things about gas fireplaces
Among the most interesting factors when choosing a gas fireplace is how easy it is to install. Since they don’t require an exterior vent to expel the smoke, you don’t have to open any holes or have a specific installation location for your fireplace. You can place it anywhere, even in the center of a room, on a dividing wall, or wherever you think it looks best according to your decorative style.
Gas fireplaces offer a wide range of decorative options. You only need to place a burner where the fireplace goes and add decorative stones, imitation wood, or other heat-resistant elements to give it a unique and personalized touch. The possibilities are almost endless, allowing you to adapt the fireplace to your taste and home design.
Instant ignition and shutdown
Gas fireplaces can be ignited and turned off immediately. This is undoubtedly one of the most notable advantages of this type of fireplace. You just need to open the gas valve to start feeling the heat and close it to extinguish the fire, unlike wood-burning fireplaces that require time to start and stop.
Reduced cleaning and maintenance
They are much cleaner than wood-burning fireplaces. Gas doesn’t produce smoke or ash despite having a live fire whenever you want. However, it’s important to ensure that the room is properly ventilated to prevent the accumulation of harmful gases.
Drawbacks of gas fireplaces
Installation and acquisition costs
The less favorable aspects of gas fireplaces are mainly related to the price compared to other types of heating systems. The installation of a gas fireplace must be carried out by an authorized installer, as poor installation can pose a significant danger. This means paying someone to install the fireplace, whereas with a wood fireplace, you can do it yourself if you’re somewhat skilled.
They are also more expensive than conventional fireplaces. The price of a gas fireplace with the same heating power as a wood fireplace can be 6 or 7 times higher. Additionally, gas produces less heat than wood.
Legal regulations in Spain
In Spain, gas installations are regulated by the Royal Decree 919/2006 and the Regulation for Gas Installations in Premises Intended for Domestic, Collective, or Commercial Uses. These regulations establish the requirements and conditions that gas installations must comply with, as well as the obligations of installers and users. It is essential to ensure that the installation of a gas fireplace complies with current regulations to guarantee its safety and legality.
Energetic performance and fuel cost
The energy performance of gas is usually lower than that of wood, which means that gas fireplaces can generate less heat than wood fireplaces with the same amount of fuel. The price of gas is higher than that of wood, which can increase heating costs in the long run. According to some estimates, keeping a gas fireplace on for half a day can cost up to 8 times more than a wood fireplace.
Availability of resources and sustainability
If you live near a forest or field where you can responsibly and sustainably gather firewood, the cost of firewood will be even lower compared to gas. Firewood is a renewable resource and, if properly managed, can have a lower environmental impact than natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
One aspect to consider when choosing a gas fireplace is that heat dissipates quickly once it is turned off, unlike wood-burning fireplaces, which can retain residual heat without consuming fuel for an extended period of time. This can affect energy efficiency and home comfort, especially on cold days.
What is better, a gas fireplace or a wood-burning fireplace?
Gas fireplaces offer certain advantages, such as ease of installation, aesthetic versatility, and instant on/off functionality. However, they also have disadvantages such as higher acquisition and installation costs, energy performance and fuel costs, and the absence of residual heat. By considering these pros and cons, you can make an informed decision about what is better, a gas fireplace or a wood-burning fireplace. Ultimately, the choice will depend on your needs, preferences, and budget.