Comparing Electric Fireplaces To Gas Fireplaces
Most people love the atmosphere created by a traditional wood fire, but many people have ruled this option out for their home due to any number of reasons:
- Chimney and good ventilation needed
- Hassle of dealing with firewood, soot, and ash
- Takes longer to build and maintain an active fire
- Not very economical versus alternatives
So what’s the alternative? Once a wood fireplace is ruled out, most people move on to a gas or electric fireplace as an alternative.
Points To Consider Between Electric Fireplaces And Gas Fireplaces
Electric fireplaces plug into a standard 120V household outlet. There’s really not much more too it. Depending on how you’re going to display it, there may be more work. If you’re going to be building it into a wall with an electric fireplace built-in model, you will have to create the opening, install an outlet behind it, etc.
But many electric fireplaces are designed to be used as portable units, or simply hung on the wall. In addition, all electric fireplaces are ventless. Meaning there’s no need to vent heat and fumes up a chimney.
Gas fireplaces, as their name suggests, requires gas to be supplied to be the unit in order for it to operate. If your home has a gas line it helps, as you can have a line diverted to the fireplace to supply the gas.
If you don’t have a gas line, you will probably have to use a propane tank to fuel the fireplace. The size and location of the tank will have to be taken into consideration when designing and building out the fireplace.
Many gas fireplaces require venting. Vented gas logs are the standard, and have been around for decades. They require a chimney to divert the smoke created from going into your house.
There are also ventless gas logs, which do not require a chimney. The logs do however get extremely hot, so you’ll need to make sure the surrounding areas are heat resistant when considering installation.
Realistic Looking Flame:
This is an area where gas fireplaces have shined throughout the years. Apples to apples, gas fireplaces have always looked more realistic than electric fireplaces.
Technology has come a long way in recent years, and there are now electric fireplace models on the market that incorporate steam and water vapor to simulate a real fire even further.
In addition, electric fires have the ability to change flame color for a truly brilliant display. Go with a blue flame in the winter to match the cold atmosphere, or switch to a purple or multi-colored display for something truly unique.
At the end of the day, an electric fireplace is the better choice when it comes to safety. Gas fireplaces are using gas, so they need to be installed by a professional and have the greater chance of something going wrong. Since they are actually producing a real flame, these fireplaces get hot to the touch and can be a safety concern for households with children or pets.
Electric fireplaces on the other do not get hot to the touch, and there’s no danger of an actual flame catching things on fire.
Back up heat source:
One last consideration is the ability to use it as a backup heat source. This isn’t a reason most people choose a fireplace, but I thought I’d point it out all the same.
With an electric fireplace, if the power goes out, so does the fireplace, and your heat source. With a gas fireplace, you could continue to use it as a heat source even if the power goes out in your home.
Dollar for dollar, an electric fireplace is going to be your best bet economically. We've written up a detailed article on this here.