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Gas vs. Wood-Burning Fireplace Inserts

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You have an old wood-burning fireplace that needs some visual improvements, and you would like to update the look of your fireplace with a fireplace insert. Installing a fireplace insert is an inexpensive way to renovate your hearth’s appearance. When you start shopping for a fireplace insert, you will notice that you have options for the fuel source. You can even convert an old and inefficient wood-burning fireplace into a clean-burning gas-fueled fireplace. Choosing between these two fuel types can be overwhelming as it adds another decision you will need to make when picking out your fireplace. To help you make your choice between a gas and wood-burning fireplace insert, Magic Sweep would like to tell you about the benefits and disadvantages of both fuel types.

Fireplace Inserts - Chesapeake VA - Magic Sweep

Wood-Burning Inserts Benefits:

  • a beautiful fire experience – Nothing can replicate the beauty of a wood-burning fire. Creating an atmosphere of warmth and comfort, a wood fire fills the senses with its lovely dancing flame, the scent of the burning wood, and the sounds of the crackling fire.
  • higher efficiency and lower expense – The EPA now certifies wood-burning fireplace inserts to ensure they burn wood safely, efficiently, and with less smoke. These inserts give off much less pollution, which makes them more environmentally friendly. If you cut your own wood, then your winter heating supply is actually free. Even if you do not cut your own wood, the cost of firewood is cheaper than the cost of natural gas.

Wood-Burning Inserts Disadvantages:

  • creosote – According to How Stuff Works, the main disadvantage to a wood-burning fireplace insert is that burning wood creates hazardously flammable creosote deposits that stick to the inner walls of your chimney. Creosote deposits are one of the major causes of a chimney fire, so you must have your chimney professionally cleaned annually to get rid of the creosote.
  • labor-intensive – Not only do you have to carry in firewood from your storage shed and then build a fire, you have to sweep up ashes after every fire. You also have to remove the ashes from the firebox.

Gas Inserts Benefits:

  • clean burning with high efficiency – With efficiency ratings ranging from 76% to 83%, gas fireplace inserts burn much cleaner than a wood-burning insert. If you are environmentally-conscious, a gas insert may be a better choice for you.
  • convenience – No hauling in wood. No waiting for the fire to start and get going. No cleaning up ashes after every fire. With a gas fireplace insert, all you have to do is push a button, and you have a fire. You can adjust this fire to the exact temperature you want. Plus, some models come with a remote control so you can start the fire and adjust the flame from your couch.

Gas Inserts Disadvantages:

  • carbon monoxide leaks – Since a gas fireplace insert burns so cleanly, it can be difficult to tell if there is a leak. During your annual service check-up, we will check for leaks; however, it is essential that you have carbon monoxide detectors installed throughout your home.
  • no natural fire atmosphere – Although a gas-fueled flame can look very similar to a wood-burning fire, it can still look unrealistic.Also, you do not get the wood-burning aroma or the sounds of a crackling fire.

Have more questions about the comparison of wood-burning and gas fireplace inserts? Contact Magic Sweep to ask our expert staff about these two types of fuel sources.