When it comes to adding beauty and warmth to your home, there is no better way to do it than with a fireplace. Fireplaces come in all shapes and sizes, some using wood while others depend on gas to provide the fuel they need to support a flame. And, just like with grills, there are pros and cons to using one over the other. If you are considering adding a fireplace to your home, consider the following:
A wood-burning fireplace draws in the cool air from your room into the wood burning firebox. The cool air fuels the combustion process and is drawn in through the vacuum that is created when the warm smoke rises up through the chimney. The release of energy in the form of heat is also a by-product of the combustion process and while heat is also lost through the chimney, some of it radiates out from the firebox and into your room, providing warmth against the chill of a cold winter night.
The benefits of using a wood fireplace include:
– Heating a room is less expensive than using electricity or natural gas HVAC unit
– Wood burning fireplaces produce a relaxing ambience
The drawbacks of wood burning fireplaces include:
– The constant addition of flammable materials to keep the fire going
– Constant monitoring to ensure wood, soot, and carbon monoxide gas (fire by products) don’t enter the room.
– Periodic cleaning of the chimney and fireplace to remove flammable soot
-Relative inefficiency of wood fireplaces to produce heat
Gas fireplace systems, on the other hand, are dramatically more efficient. In a gas fireplace system, the heat produced by the burning of the gas is forced into the room thereby increasing amount of usable heat produced by the system. Additionally, gas burns cleaner and has a lower combustion point than wood which means that you can use less gas to generate more heat than with a wood fireplace.
There are two main types of gas fireplaces: vented and ventless
In a vented gas fireplace system, there is a vent pipe that runs from the back of the fireplace to the outdoors. The vent may also be located at the top and be vented through the roof.
The benefits of using a vented gas fireplace include:
-Vented gas fireplaces are completely self-contained and use the cold air from outside the home to fuel combustion, eliminating the risk of by-products entering the room accidentally.
-Vented gas fireplaces are more efficient than wood burning fireplaces, using less fuel to produce the same amount of heat, making them more cost efficient.
Ventless gas fireplaces, on the other hand, work a lot like your gas range on your stove. It burns cleanly and does not require cold air intake to fuel combustion or to pass toxic gases outside. This is the most efficient design in that all of the heat produced is forced into the room and use considerably less fuel than both vented has fireplaces and wood burning fireplaces.
As you can see, installing a gas fireplace is a great way to provide supplemental heat for your house during the harsh winter months. Also, you can easily convert an existing wood burning fireplace to either type of gas fireplace and increase your efficiency and safety as well.