As with almost all designs, compromise becomes an item’s central feature. In order to excel in one area, another must be sacrificed. This is also true of gas fireplaces, but the overwhelming convenience these fireplaces offer may lessen the nostalgia associated with woodsmoke. While we’re fond of other types of fireplaces in certain situations, in this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of going with gas.
Upon a gas fireplace’s proper and professional installation, virtually no other heating system becomes easier to use. Simply flick a switch. Or perhaps that’s too inconvenient? Press a button on a remote control, or open up an app on your phone. With many modern gas fireplaces, you don’t even have to get out of your chair.
A properly functioning gas fireplace is incredibly easy to use. Because of this, most people tend to use their fireplace more often. Further, and most importantly, this ease of use also makes them much safer.
Gas fireplaces offer an abundance of safety over conventional woodburning fireplaces. First, there’s no unwieldy axes or chainsaws. Chopping wood is dangerous and labor intensive, leading to many visits to the emergency room from accidents with tools, cardiac arrest, blown out joints and ligaments, and various other mishaps. Second, with gas fireplaces, you’re not tangibly required to start a fire. Again, many burn related injuries arise out of starting and maintaining a natural fire.
Lastly, woodburning fireplaces require a tremendous amount of maintenance – and if this maintenance is ignored, you risk your entire home catching on fire.
There’s virtually no maintenance required when it comes to gas burning fireplaces. We recommended that you visually inspect your gas fireplace a few times per year, looking for any changes, inconsistencies, and if you have a vent, making sure that nothing is blocking it inside or out. Simply looking the system over, along with occasionally replacing some batteries, is the most effort you'll have to exert. Should you notice anything unsual, give a professional contractor like Alpine Contracting a call before continuing use.
Conversely, woodburning systems require the removal of ash after each use. This is a messy chore. Likewise, soot can clog chimneys and create an extremely dangerous fire hazard. Woodburning chimneys need to be cleaned yearly, and this maintenance adds up.
Natural gas is a clean burning fuel. This becomes incredibly important on “no burn” days due to poor air quality. Because gas fireplaces produce no smoke, you’ll be able to enjoy yours when wood-burners can’t. Likewise, by turning a knob, you control how much fuel you need and the amount of heat output created. There’s no need to burn more fuel than necessary, regulating the amount of heat is incredibly simple, and you can turn the fireplace off instantly when you’ve finished using it. All of this save energy and resources, cuts less trees, and is clearner burning.
Obviously, woodburning fireplaces will work whenever you want them to work – that’s always been one of their proudest selling points. However, it’s important to note gas fireplaces are incredibly versatile as well. Even during some of the biggest and crazy snowstorms Colorado has seen, including the bomb cyclone, gas fireplaces continue to operate even if your power is out. The ability to provide heat and light for your family during cold, dark nights is not exclusive to woodburning fireplaces. As long as your home continues to receive gas service, your gas fireplace will continue to work. While this might not be “apocalypse” proof, it’s certainly sufficient for most unexpected emergencies.
Placing a gas fireplace in virtually any room of your home is relatively easy to do. With both ventless and vented options (don’t mix them up), minimal construction is required. There’s no need for large stone hearths to corral flames, or an insulated chimney running through the center of your house and up through the roof to direct smoke. With all of the logistics and engineering, conventional fireplaces become extremely expensive – the price of a new car or more – whereas a professionally installed gas fireplace are usually less than a used golf cart. When building under a budget, as most of us are, a gas fireplace can become an incredibly attractive option compared to traditional wood-burners.
So, with all of the benefits of modern gas fireplace, why would anyone choose anything different? Well, to be honest, many don’t these days unless in specific circumstances. Unless someone has had a lifelong dream of relaxing next to a natural fire, most woodburning fireplaces are now reserved for high-end custom homes, lodges, and hotels. Unless you’re regularly paying employees, or housekeepers and estate caretakers, the maintenance required to properly care for a woodburning fireplace isn’t worth it to most people. Those that insist upon a woodburning “apocalypse” proof solution are turning more toward woodburning stoves rather than full-blown fireplaces. Stoves are safer, easier to vent, and less intrusive than fireplaces.
With that said, should you be interested in learning more and eager to install a new fireplace in your remodel or renovation, give Alpine Contracting a call. We’ll be happy to walk through some options and help you decide which is the best solution for your home.