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Gas Vs Wood Vs Electric

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Wood, gas, or electric? This is one of the most hotly debated questions in the fireplace world – with very strong opinions on allgas wood electric sides!

One of the most commonly asked questions we get from homeowners is, “What is the best fuel source?” The truth of the matter is that there is no one right answer; the best fuel source for your home depends on a number factors including the size of your home, how often the fireplace will be used, how much maintenance you want to do, the amount of heat that is needed, and more.

There are pros and cons for wood, gas, and electric fireplaces. The following information covers a variety of topics that can help homeowners make a more informed choice when selecting a fuel source for their fireplace.

Operation costs and sustainability

  • Gas: Although it is clean-burning with little smoke and other byproducts of combustion, gas is still a non-renewable resource. Operating a gas fireplace costs an average of seventeen cents per hour in utilities; keep in mind that because the pilot lit is constantly lit, a gas fireplace is always using small amounts of gas 24/7/365.
  • Wood: Firewood is a renewable resource that can be purchased everywhere from grocery stores to big box and hardware stores. However, the greatest discounts can be found by buying wood in bulk from a firewood dealer. While cost varies by time of year, place where you are buying wood, and type of wood being bought, homeowners can expect to pay an average of $100-$200 for a cord of wood. Looking to save even more? Start cutting and seasoning your own firewood.
  • Electric: Electric fireplaces are similar to gas fireplaces in terms of cost to operate. Homeowners can expect to pay about 3 cents per hour when the fireplace is turned on for decoration only and not producing heat; when being used as a heating source, electric fireplaces cost an average of 9 cents per hour in electricity.

Maintenance costs

  • Gas: Like any fuel-burning appliance, gas fireplaces need an annual service check in order to ensure they continue to burn safely and efficiently. This includes a chimney inspection to check for signs of damage, deterioration, or acidic corrosion to the flue, as well checking gas lines for any signs of leaks.
  • Wood: Wood fireplace need annual chimney sweepings and inspections to remove soot, ash, and highly flammable creosote that may have built up in the flue. During a chimney sweeping and inspection, the chimney sweep will check all accessible areas of fireplace and chimney for signs of damage such as cracks in the masonry or signs of a chimney leak.
  • Electric: Because no ventilation or gas lines are needed to operate an electric fireplace, very little maintenance is needed. Homeowners can perform maintenance to their electric fireplaces by checking electrical components for signs of wear or damage, cleaning heating elements, and dusting the interior and exterior of the fireplace.

Ease of use

  • Gas: Gas provides heat at the push of a button; there is no need to go outside in the cold to get more logs for the fire or shovel out ashes when the fire is done burning. Because the heat can be turned on and off instantly – and a burning temperature can be set – gas fireplaces can be enjoyed even in warm weather.
  • Wood: There is nothing quite like sitting in front of a crackling wood fire. However, that fire also requires storing lots of firewood on hand and creating time to start, stoke, maintain, and put out the fire.
  • Electric: Electric fireplaces are similar to gas in that they can provide heat at the push of a button. However, because they rely on electricity to operate they are of no use when the power goes out; this makes them less than ideal for areas that experience serious winter storms.


  • Gas: Because gas fireplaces do not have open flames, there is little chance of getting burned – or having stray sparks start an accidental fire. The main risk, however, comes from damage to the gas lines or venting system; this can cause dangerous gas leaks in the home or release carbon monoxide into the home. Regular upkeep and maintenance can prevent this from occurring.
  • Wood: The most common safety concerns with wood burning fireplaces are burns and accidental fires. Pets and small children in particular are at risk of accidental burns; the use of fireplace doors, screens, and gates can help reduce this risk. Accidental fires can be prevented by keeping furnishings, décor, and rugs at least three feet away from the fireplace while in use, as well as having the chimney swept each year.
  • Electric: Because electric fireplaces have no real flames – and come with cool-touch glass – there is little risk for burns occurring. Likewise, most models come with automatic shut-off features that prevent the fireplace from overheating. Like any appliance, however, there is a small risk from the electrical system shorting out.

Ultimately, there is no right answer to “Which fuel source is right for me?” By taking these factors into consideration, homeowners can help decide whether a gas, wood, or electric fireplace is right for their home. for more information on installing a new fireplace system, contact the experts at Clean Sweeps of Michigan today!