Homeowners are looking to cut down on their expenses—now more than ever. Energy spending is the first to be looked at. Cutting down on electricity bills and becoming more frugal in saving on power is one of the easiest ways to save money. It’s this attention to detail that has homeowners asking questions about the efficiency of their gas log fireplaces.
Different Fireplaces, Different Efficiencies
There are a few different types of fireplaces. The most common among them are the wood-burning fireplace and gas log fireplace. Both types burn differently and therefore produce varying levels of heat efficiency.
A wood-burning fireplace is actually the least efficient of the two. It’s not a consistent burn due to the fire being unassisted, requiring you to constantly tend to it in order to keep it fueled. Because of this—and coupled with the fact that most of the heat escapes up the masonry chimney—wood-burning fireplaces are only about 10% efficient.
A gas fireplace is much more efficient than its wood-burning counterpart. The gas assist burns consistently, leaving no period of time of a lapsed fire, whereas with a wood-burning one, you’d have to stoke and tend to it to keep the fire going. Thanks to modern technology, gas fireplaces have become increasingly efficient, but is it enough to heat an entire room?
The Trouble with Wood-Burning Fireplaces
For most fireplaces, the heat is lost up the chimney. The chimney, however, is essential because it creates a draft to expel the dangerous combustion byproducts of a fire. Because of the way a traditional chimney functions, you can’t really heat a room with a masonry fireplace. Although the fire is warming and comforting as you sit nearby, the entire concept of a traditional masonry fireplace is really for ambiance.
You can maximize the heat output in a wood-burning fireplace. Make sure your chimney is cleaned every year because not only does it help keep an optimal draft to ensure a roaring fire, a clean chimney ensures your home is kept safe as creosote buildup can be dangerous, leading to house or chimney fires. Also make sure that you’re only burning dry wood. Wet wood is not effective and won’t make for a good fire.
Will a Gas Fireplace Heat a Room?
Fireplace styles like gas burning stoves, fireplace inserts, and gas log units are all efficient heaters and you could very well heat an entire room with them. Some of these styles use a different flue liner or system, with some expelling their combustion byproducts directly through a pipe to the outside, bypassing the chimney entirely.
Coupled with consistent heating and a more efficient way to rid the house of dangerous toxic fumes, you’ll get much more heat produced from your fire than a traditional wood-burning fireplace.
Enjoying the Additional Perks of a Gas Fireplace
A gas fireplace can easily heat an entire room due to its advanced efficiency. As you soak in the heat in whatever room your fireplace is in, you’ll also be able to enjoy numerous other benefits.
- Lower heating costs: heat efficiency is energy efficiency. Unlike an unpredictable and fussy wood-burning fireplace, gas fireplaces are known to cut down on your monthly energy bills. Your costs will be lowered if you turn down your home’s thermostat if your fireplace is on, heating up the room you’ll be in instead of heating all of the unused rooms of your house.
- No mess: gas fireplaces nix the soot and ash of a wood-burning fireplace. With a gas fireplace, you won’t have to sweep the mess or deal with half-burnt logs—instead you’ll simply just enjoy the fire.
- Low maintenance: with no cleaning, there’s little maintenance required for a gas fireplace. You’ll have to endure fewer chimney sweepings and inspections and worry less about creosote buildup.
- Less expensive: gas fireplaces use faux wood logs, so there goes any expense you might have been racking up with a traditional wood-burning one. These fireplaces are also not as expensive to install. Wood-burning fireplaces are comprised of masonry, which requires a certified professional mason to help install.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking to use your fireplace to heat a room, then skip the traditional wood-burning style and opt for gas. However, keep in mind that you won’t be able to heat your entire house—at least not efficiently.
Vertical has spent 35 years in the Chimney business and we are a dedicated company committed to providing exceptional service to our clients. If you’re in the market for a gas log fireplace, we provide aesthetically pleasing, practical, and low-maintenance options. At Vertical Chimney Care we offer both vent-free and vented gas logs options.