Fireplaces are a great feature to enhance the look of a space or bring extra coziness to a room, and there’s nothing better than gathering around the fireplace on a cold winter night with your family. Modern fireplaces also now act as energy-efficient space heaters and can effectively supplement your home’s heating system. They’ve also advanced to give homeowners choices in how their fireplace produces heat.
If you’re looking to add a fireplace or are thinking about replacing your existing fireplace, the first step is to decide which type of fireplace you want in your home. The three main types of fireplaces (based on heat source) are wood-burning, gas, and electric fireplaces. Learn about the three main types of fireplaces to see which one would be the best fit for you and your family.
Wood-burning fireplaces are the long-established fireplaces many people picture with crackling logs and a steady, roaring fire. This type of fireplace would be a good fit for you and your family if you want the real deal and don’t mind a little extra work.
They don’t require electricity.
Because wood-burning fireplaces rely on using actual wood as their power source, your fireplace would still work even if the power goes out. This could be an effective backup source of heat and light in the event of an Iowa snowstorm, and it would even give you and your family a means to cook food if needed.
They have the most authentic look and feel.
A wood-burning fireplace is your best choice if you want the ambiance and authenticity of a crackling fire. While any fireplace can add a cozy, homey feel to a room, no other option can beat the atmosphere created by a traditional fireplace.
They require extra effort.
The authenticity of real wood logs also means that you have to have a supply of logs in order for your fireplace to work, and using your fireplace requires actually starting a fire yourself. Along with starting the fire, homeowners also have to regularly clean ashes out of their fireplace to prevent buildup.
Their installation involves construction work.
If you don’t already have a traditional wood-burning fireplace in your home, adding one would require construction work to add the opening itself and a chimney for ventilation. Furthermore, you may be limited on where you can put your fireplace depending on the layout of your home, or you’d have to remodel your home around your new fireplace.
While not as authentic as a wood-burning fireplace, a gas fireplace is the next best option if you don’t want to deal with a supply of wood logs or starting your own fires. Gas fireplaces are a nice middle ground between wood-burning and electric fireplaces.
There are vent and ventless options.
Unlike wood-burning fireplaces that require a chimney and ventilation, you have both vent and ventless fireplace options for gas fireplaces. Direct-vented fireplaces will require chimney construction, or you can use an alternative pipe that would downsize the extent of construction services needed. Vented gas fireplaces create a yellow flame, so this may feel more authentic to a traditional fireplace. Ventless fireplaces, on the other hand, do not require construction services and are simpler to install.
They’re more heat-efficient.
Fireplaces that burn gas as their heat source typically can produce more heat at a lower cost. Along with producing more heat, ventless gas fireplaces ensure all of the heat stays within the room, which eliminates heat escaping outside and can make it easier to heat only certain rooms as you’re using them.
They require a gas line.
While you can save on heating costs in the long-run, the cost of installing a gas fireplace could be high if you don’t have an existing gas line connected to your home.
There are additional regulations on ventless options.
While ventless gas fireplaces have safety sensors, there is a small risk that the lack of ventilation could cause carbon monoxide to enter your home. These issues are rare, though, and yearly inspections ensure that your ventless gas fireplace is working properly and safely.
Electric fireplaces are a great option for homeowners looking to add a fireplace to their home without the investment or commitment that wood-burning or gas fireplaces require.
They’re easy to install.
Electric fireplaces don’t require any sort of chimney or ventilation, so you can easily install and transport them — all they require is an outlet to plug them in. This is ideal for smaller spaces where a traditional fireplace might not fit, or for homeowners looking to cut on on installation costs.
This type of fireplace is the most flexible option, both in terms of costs and in portability. There are countless style and size options available for electric fireplaces, so you can find one that fits your budget. You also have choices between wall-mounted or freestanding electric fireplaces, giving you the ability to easily transport yours to other areas of your home if needed.
They’re not authentic.
Whereas a gas fireplace still uses gas logs, electric fireplaces show virtual flames, which least resembles an authentic fire. Electric fireplaces still add heat and coziness to a room, but they don’t match the feel of a wood-burning or even gas-burning fireplace.
They produce the least amount of heat.
Out of the three types of fireplaces, electric fireplaces produce the least amount of heat for your home. While they do give off some heat, they mainly act as space heaters, temporarily heating one small area of a room.
Contact Wyckoff for Fireplace Installation
Whether you’re looking for a wood-burning, gas, or electric fireplace, Wyckoff has a variety of designs and options to fit your needs. We offer an impressive selection of Lennox, Superior, and Napoleon fireplace products, and we’re the official Iowa distributor of Continental fireplaces. Our SAVE-certified Wyckoff technicians are prepared to install and inspect your fireplace to ensure it is properly and safely functioning. Contact Wyckoff to discuss what fireplace will be the best fit for your home and to request a quote for a fireplace installation.