Gas vs. Wood-Burning Fireplace: What Fireplace Should You Choose?

Fireplaces and You

It’s a cozy winter night, so you make a mug of hot cocoa and curl up on the sofa. What completes this picture? The warm glow of a softly burning fire in your home fireplace. Adding a new fireplace to your house or modifying an existing one is a wonderful home project with many important decisions to make along the way.

One key factor in selecting the right fireplace for your home is what fuel source your fireplace should use. Gas and wood-burning fireplaces are increasingly popular options, but which is the best fit for you?

To make this choice, let’s review the role a fireplace will play in your home, the benefits of gas and wood-burning models and the impact of lifestyle, efficiency and personal preferences on your perfect fireplace selection.

A wood-burning fireplace with tan bricks making up the chimney and logs nearby.

Does Your Home Need a Fireplace?

The two main reasons people want a fireplace in their home are functionality and ambiance. A fireplace’s function is simple: It produces heat. It supplements the broader heating system you already have installed in your home. Getting one comes with a set of practical considerations like safety, convenience, installation, maintenance and the project’s overall cost.

Ambiance, while harder to define, is often no less important. What kind of feeling do you want the fireplace to contribute to your home, and how will the customization options, cleaning routine and sensory experience of any given fireplace meet those wants and needs?

Also worth considering is your unit’s environmental impact and how the installation of a fireplace will impact your home’s resale value.

A cozy wood-burning fireplace with a wooden mantel in a white living room

Benefits of a Gas-Burning Fireplace

A gas-burning fireplace’s greatest strength is its convenience, from maintenance to cleaning. Here’s a fuller breakdown of considerations:

  • Convenience: These fireplaces don’t require complex prep time to use and are often operable via remote control.
  • Customization: While there are plenty of flexible options for both gas and wood-burning fireplaces, gas offers a slightly wider array.
  • Environmental impact: These units release fewer pollutants. However, unlike wood, gas is not a renewable resource.
  • Cost: This can vary depending on where you live. While these units are more costly in some respects, they may balance out if you live in an area without ready access to firewood.
  • Safety: Both units have important safety considerations. Potential problems that could arise from a gas-burning fireplace, like carbon monoxide or a gas leak, are rare and simple to prevent through regular annual inspections.

Benefits of a Wood-Burning Fireplace

There is no match for the charm of crackling firewood in a well-tended hearth. While this might make wood fireplaces a clear winner for those seeking ambiance, there are plenty of other benefits to this classic:

  • Cost: If you have ready access to firewood, a wood-burning fireplace may be a more affordable option.
  • Convenience: These involve more setup as you prepare your fire. However, for many people, the effort of building and tending to a fire is part of the rich experience they want in a home fireplace.
  • Safety: There is a different level of active participation from the user, but a wood fire is perfectly safe with proper supervision.
  • Maintenance: Ash removal and annual inspections are the main maintenance considerations for these units.
  • Environmental impact: Wood is renewable, though burning it releases more CO2.

Finding the Right Fireplace for Your Home

Whether you’re better served by a clean, convenient gas fireplace or the earthy beauty of an affordable wood-burning one, there are plenty of options available to suit the needs of your personality, home and budget.

Rather than accepting a one-size solution that might not fit your needs, we recommend some research and even soul-searching as you decide how you want your winters to look and feel.

Learning independently or consulting with local experts is an exciting part of your journey to a cozier home. Contact Therm-Con to learn more.

Homeowners’ Guide to Fireplace Styles

Logs burning in fireplace.

Adding a fireplace to your Tennessee home can be a great way to create a cozy, inviting ambiance while adding supplemental heating. But what fireplace style is best for your living environment, and where should you consider installing a fireplace in your home?

In this blog post, the fireplace experts at Therm-Con offer a comprehensive guide covering all fireplace styles and options so you can make the most informed decision for your home’s comfort and style.

Ready to Start Your Project?

Your Fireplace Options

When selecting the right fireplace for your home, you’ll need to consider the fuel option. There are several fireplace options to choose from, including:

Wood-Burning Fireplace

Pros

  • Ambiance: Wood-burning fireplaces offer a traditional, cozy, rustic feel with the crackling sound of burning wood.
  • Heating: These fireplaces offer a high heat output, making them perfect for supplemental heating in large spaces.

Cons

  • Maintenance: Wood-burning fireplaces require more maintenance and regular cleanings to remove ash and ensure proper chimney upkeep.
  • Eco-friendliness: These fireplaces tend to produce more emissions, contributing to air pollution.

Gas Fireplace  

Pros

  • Convenience: Gas fireplaces are easy to use with a simple on/off switch or remote-control feature.
  • Cleanliness: These fireplaces produce less ash or soot, making them easy to clean and maintain.

Cons

  • Installation: Installing a gas fireplace for the first time can be costly, especially when venting is required.
  • Ambiance: Without the crackling wood, a gas fireplace doesn’t offer the same cozy atmosphere as a wood-burning fireplace.

Ventless Gas Fireplace

Pros

  • Installation: Since they don’t require a vent, ventless gas fireplaces are much easier and more cost-effective.
  • Space-saving: A ventless gas fireplace takes up less space and can be installed in various locations.

Cons

  • Safety: Without a built-in vent, a ventless gas fireplace requires careful use and proper ventilation to reduce safety risks.
  • Realism: Ventless gas fireplaces can’t mimic the look and feel of true flame patterns as well, making them less convincing in terms of ambiance.

Electric Fireplace

Pros

  • Efficiency: Electric fireplaces can be more cost-effective and energy-efficient than gas fireplaces.
  • Customization: Many electric fireplaces offer various flame effects and color options to suit any mood or stylistic preference.

Cons

  • Heating: Compared to gas and wood-burning fireplaces, the heating output for an electric fireplace leaves something to be desired.
  • Self-Reliance: Since electric fireplaces rely on the power grid, they won’t operate during an emergency, such as a power outage.

Choosing the Right Fireplace Style

Primary bedroom with modern gas fireplace

Along with the fuel source, you’ll also need to consider the style of your fireplace. There are many different style choices available, each of which adds something unique to your space:

Contemporary Fireplaces

These feature clean lines, minimalistic designs and sleek materials such as glass or metal. They offer a modern, streamlined aesthetic best suited for contemporary or minimalist interiors, such as urban lofts or modern homes.

Traditional Fireplaces

Traditional fireplaces are characterized by classic designs, ornate mantels and wood or stone materials, which evoke a sense of timeless elegance and cozy ambiance. They’re best suited for rustic home interiors, creating a warm, inviting atmosphere.

Multi-View Fireplaces

A multi-view fireplace features an opening on two or more sides, allowing you to view flames from different angles. They act as a great focal point in your room and are ideal in larger living areas with multiple seating arrangements.

Open-Hearth Fireplaces

Open-hearth fireplaces feature wide, open fireboxes with exposed flames that offer an unobstructed view of the fire. Homes with spacious living areas will find an open-hearth fireplace ideal as the room’s centerpiece.

Firebox Fireplaces

A firebox fireplace is compact and prioritizes containing the fire, offering a minimalist, efficient design ideal for smaller spaces or modern interiors that focus on simplicity and functionality above all else.

Best Rooms for Fireplaces

The next thing you’ll need to consider when adding a fireplace to your home is where to put it. There are several areas in the home where a fireplace works best, including:

  • Living rooms: A classic choice for a fireplace installation, adding a fireplace to your living room can make it cozy and inviting.
  • Home study: Adding a fireplace to your home office can create a warm, productive atmosphere — especially during cold winters.
  • Bedrooms: A bedroom fireplace adds a touch of luxury and romance to your space, offering a cozy retreat that keeps you warm on cold winter nights.
  • Guest suites: Provide a welcoming feature for your house guests by adding a fireplace to your guest suite area.

Budgeting for a New Fireplace

Finally, it’s time to set a budget for your fireplace installation. The cost of your fireplace will depend on several factors, including the type of fireplace you choose, the size and complexity of its design, installation fees, venting considerations and mantel materials.

Determine your budget range before shopping for a fireplace, taking into careful consideration both the cost of the product and the installation costs.

It’s important to keep in mind what the ongoing operational costs will be for your new fireplace as well. Look into your area’s wood, gas and electricity costs to select the most cost-efficient option for your location.

Also consider how maintenance and repair needs will factor into the total cost of your installation.

Get a Quote on a New Fireplace Installation for Your Tennessee Home

Ready to improve the aesthetic and ambiance of your Tennessee home? Therm-Con offers an extensive selection of top-quality fireplaces that local families need to bring warmth, style and value to their homes.

Our installation professionals have years of experience delivering superior fireplace services to every customer.

Schedule your fireplace installation in Chattanooga by calling our team at (423) 894-8766 today.

Can You Convert Your Wood-Burning Fireplace into Gas?

Wood-burning fireplaces can be converted to gas. In this blog post, the gas fireplace experts at Therm-Con explain the conversion process and the details you should factor into your decision to convert.

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Benefits of Converting to a Gas Fireplace

Wood logs on fire, on black background.

Many homeowners don’t realize converting their fireplace is an option due to misunderstanding the benefits or overestimating the cost and difficulty of a conversion.

Some of the advantages of converting to gas include:

  • More convenient and efficient than wood fireplaces
  • No need to chop wood
  • No need to store wood
  • No need to clean up ash
  • No need for matches, lighters, starters, or kindling
  • A cleaner aesthetic
  • Put the fire out immediately
  • Remote or voice activation, deactivation, and control
  • Cleaner burning fuel
  • Easy to use

What Are Your Gas Fireplace Options?

When converting to a gas fireplace, you have several options to choose from. No matter what, you’ll need to have a natural gas line installed. Considering the complexities and potential risks associated with natural gas, make sure the gas line is installed by a qualified, licensed professional.

Each type of gas fireplace has advantages when compared to the others. From chimney requirements to cost, they all have their unique benefits and should be considered against your budget, home specifications and comfort requirements.

Once you’ve determined which type is best for you, there are many styles, finishes, controls and other factors to consider.

Primary gas fireplace types to consider include:

  • Direct-vent gas inserts require a chimney or vent. Pollutants get vented out of your living area, but so does some heat. Vented models take longer to install. The results are a more traditional look and feel. They’re more compliant with building codes, but they’re also the most expensive gas fireplace option.
  • Ventless gas inserts don’t require vents due to more efficient burning. Minimal pollutants get released into your living area, but indoor air quality is affected as a result. More of the heat produced stays in the living space. They also tend to be less expensive than vented options.
  • Gas log inserts can be either vented or ventless. They’re designed to look just like actual wooden logs and enhance the visual aesthetic of the fireplace. Styles are available to mimic specific types of wood, charring and even stacking.

Trust Therm-Con for All Your Fireplace Needs

At Therm-Con, our professionals have extensive training and comprehensive experience to handle your wood-to-gas fireplace conversion, from assessing your budget and requirements to selecting the right unit and installing it.

Our goal is to exceed your expectations with superior work and outstanding customer service.

To learn more about converting your wood fireplace to gas in the Chattanooga area, call Therm-Con at (423) 894-8766.