A fireplace provides warmth and sets a serene atmosphere for your home. The sound, visual and feel of a fireplace elevates special moments in your life. The heat warms you up during cold nights, it gives you an environment to reflect on your thoughts after a hard day’s work.
Whenever we think about fireplaces, we think of traditional wood. But more manageable, cost effective and efficient alternatives have been in use. Electric and gas are most popular among them. While gas is not technically a green solution, its much harmless than wood. On the other hand, Burkfield offers some of the best Electric Fireplace; which are more greener and healthier, but consumes a lot of electricity. Each of these portray a certain lifestyle. They differ in budget, functionality and maintenance needs. If you are asking yourself which one is right for you, then this article is for you. This guide will walk you through all the basic and intricate differences between electric and gas fireplaces, so you can assess which one suits you best.
Visual and feel:
Wood fireplaces symbolize tradition and are of great sentimental value to some individuals. If you are one of them, then gas is a suitable option. They look like traditional fireplaces as they have artificial logs. These logs are made of concrete or ceramic. Most importantly, they produce live flame.
Usage and operation:
Gas fireplaces come with most perks of traditional fireplaces, excluding the hassle. They are usually equipped with a wall switch or a remote. You can easily control the amount of flame with intensity knobs. The ignition switches are usually battery powered and natural gas lines provide uninterrupted supply of fuel. So you can enjoy the heat even when there is power outage.
As there is no real wood, you don’t have to wait for it to cool down. Unlike burning wood, natural gas is ecofriendly.
Cost and installation:
Gas fireplaces have multiple components. Setting up all these components and installing them to your house might be quite expensive. A direct vent setup is the simplest way to go. This setup connects your fireplace to a double layered pipe which leads to the exterior of the house. The outer pipe pulls in oxygen from outside the house for combustion.The inner pipe vents out exhaust from the fire.
If you don’t have a chimney or an opening, this process will require to break the envelope of your house. On the other hand, if you need to bring in a gas line, the cost will be even more.
BTU (British Thermal Units) is used to state energy consumption of gas fireplaces. They usually render about 25000-30000 BTU of heat. It would cost around 250-350$ a year. The price may vary in different regions.
Gas fireplaces usually produce around 30000 BTU of heat. This is more than enough to heat a 2000 square feet house. But on the downside, the heat might not always circulate evenly throughout the area. As a result, the heat might be trapped in unnecessary places and over heat them.
Gas fireplaces are not that efficient when it comes to heating. These are not suitable for heating particular zones. Once your required temperature is reached, the fireplace must be switched off or else it will overheat the area. On the other hand, you can’t ask for ambiance without heat. If there is a flame, heat will be produced.
Venting for gas fireplaces require the envelope of your house to be broken, which is much less desirable. Besides, about 30% of the heat might be lost through vents.
Gas fireplaces are usually enclosed with a glass barrier. The heat from the fire raises the temperature of the glass. The hot glass might burn your skin upon contact. But nowadays, safety barriers are provided with most of the products.
As these fireplaces burn carbon based fuel, there is a chance of carbon monoxide emission. They need routine maintenance to ensure safe and proper functionality.
Visual and feel:
Electric fireplaces don’t produce any real flame. They mimic the visual of traditional fire places and provide heat with a build-in heater. These are available in various finishes to match your home interior. These fireplaces are usually not ideal for heating up large areas as they don’t produce much heat.
Usage and Operation:
Electric fireplaces usually come with a remote control. You can control it while lounging on your couch. Most of them have different color schemes. Change it at your will to set the right atmosphere for your mood. Obviously, you can’t use it during a power outage.
No specific maintenance required. Just dust it off every now and then and make sure you have a stable electric connection.
Cost and installation:
Installing electric fireplaces is very easy and it costs literally nothing. Just unpack and plug it in. As they don’t produce any real flame, there is no need for a vent. So you have more flexibility. You can move your fireplace to any room, at any time.
Electric fireplaces project the images through LED lights. They consume very little electricity. You can have the visual without the heat. It will cost you about 3 cents an hour without the heater on. With the heater on, it will cost about 16 cents an hour. This is much less than gas fireplaces. Depending on BTUs, gas fireplaces cost about 20-40 cents an hour.With the electric heater, you will end up spending around 100$ per year.
Electric fire places produce much less heat than the gas ones. Where gas fireplaces render around 30000 BTUs of heat, the electric ones produce around 10000 BTUs. The heat produced is blown from the heater. These fire places are ideal for small spaces.
Electric fireplaces don’t need any vents as they don’t produce any real flame. So, no heat escapes out of the house. All the heat remains within. They are more efficient in heating than wood or gas. On the other hand, envelope of your house remains intact. If you just need the inspiration but not the heat, you can turn off the heater and enjoy the aesthetic pleasure of the fireplace.
Electric fireplaces are very safe. The glass does not heat up as there is no real flame. Only the vent (through which heat comes out) gets hot. But the heat is not enough to burn your skin. It is safe to be around children.
Many of us think gas fireplaces are superior to the electric ones, as they produce real flame. But when it comes to cost effectiveness and efficiency, electric fireplaces have the edge. If you are traditionally groomed and more inclined towards the aesthetics, then you might go for a gas fireplace. This will cost more but you will surely enjoy the atmosphere. Electric fireplaces, on the other hand, are suitable for small areas. If you have a tight budget or a small apartment, this might be the one to go with. Be it heat or the visuals, this will serve you well.