Gas or 'Real'

jjsmomDecember 24, 2010

We are renovating and we want a fireplace in our family room. I want gas and my husband wants "real". I just feel gas is much cleaner. My husband feels "real" creates a nicer atmosphere and is cheaper.

I would like to hear opinions, espcially if you changed from gas to real or from real to gas.

Thanks everyone.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When our house was built they installed a prefeb fireplace by Lennox. It had the gas logs and everything in it and that was fine. Upon further review(with the installation company) it is a wood burning fireplace with a gas insert installed. I promptly removed the gas guts and have been burning wood in it since then. My point is that you could do someting similar and be able to change over at some point if you really wanted to. Be careful with wood heat though, its addictive. Im installing my new wood stove in spring:) The gas company has called me several times wanting to replace my meter because my bills dropped off so sharply:)


    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 10:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It depends on where you live, I think. Here in N. Calif they have banned wood burning on all those cold, wet days you really really want a fire. So if you live in a place like here--get the gas. Or you could get the wood and convert as davej 07 suggests. but that costs more money.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 5:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I used to enjoy making a wood fire. But I grew tired of all the fuss and bother. We installed a gas direct vent insert into our prefab fireplace a few years ago, and we're very pleased. These systems are considered state of the art -- most energy efficient and safe. And they are very easy and clean to operate. But they are costly.

I would stay away from unvented (vent free) units because they are considered unsafe -- the fumes stay indoors, and they consume indoor oxygen -- not so good. The vented gas logs do not pose those risks, but most of the heat goes up the chimney. Direct vent is the way to go.

What to do? It depends on your priorities. For some a "real fire" is the only acceptable alternative. But if what you're looking for is a really dazzling fire and you're not too concerned about energy efficiency, there is one gas logs system that produces a terrific looking fire. The brand name is Eiklor. But to produce such huge beautiful flames your gas bills will probably go way up, and most of the heat will go up the chimney.

Direct vent does not produce such fabulous dancing flames, but they put out heat like a blast furnace. If you decide to get one, make sure you get a remote thermostat. They charge too much for them, but they are a virtual necessity, in my opinion.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 11:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have 5 acres in southern Wisconsin that is heavily heavily wooded and there is always something coming down including entire trees that need to be disposed of. I would be monumentally stupid to dispose of this free fuel! Besides that garbage man wouldn't take it anyway! I have an old airtight stove that will run for hours on a load. If you burn well seasoned quality wood its very simple to operate. Some people complain about the dirt. It isn't really dirt, it's wood dust and is very easy to pick up. If I had to carry the wood 30 ft.across a white living room carpet, then I may have some reservations about it, but my stove is near a door where the wood is stacked under a patio roof. If I had to buy my firewood from the store in those little plastic wrapped packages, I wouldn't do it either!

I do have gas forced air heat that very seldom turns on if the outside temp is at least 25 deg. and my house is close to 3k sq. ft. with a lot of windows. I also have a very nice Hearthstone direct vent gas stove in my kitchen that I really love. It also doesn't run much due to that doggone wood burning heat pump in the other room.

Burning wood can be a lot of fun and very satisfying, but you have to be sure you are willing to put up with the extra work. You will also want to do your homework depending on which type of wood burner you get.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2010 at 5:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks so much everyone.

We live in an urban area (wood burning isn't banned), but there is not many trees to cut down or fall down. This was my point to my husband. Where would we get the wood. I also would not want to buy the packages. IMO it would be defeating the whole purpose of a wood fireplace.

All of you have given my husband and I alot of questions to answer. I just don't think a wood fireplace is the way to go living in an urban environment.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2010 at 10:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have both. A wood burning fireplace in the living room.
We can really get some pretty roaring fires out of it, but it does little to heat our house.

In the family room, we added a Direct vent fireplace. It's false logs are pretty and give off a pretty glow, (Course, no where as Spectacular as the Wood burning one)buttttt it heats the whole downstairs of our 2700 sq ft home and we rarely run the forced air furnace anymore. Much cheeper to run the gas fireplace, than the forced air furnace.

Once we run outta wood, maybe 3 years, we will replace the wood fireplace with a direct vent fireplace.

I also want to put one upstairs in our master bed / bath as that is the only time we use the forced air---to heat that area.

We live in So Cal, and getting a lil to old to be messing with the wood, much longer, and like I said , it has great
"Entertainment Value,--but--Alas, it does little to heat our house, even in S Calif.



    Bookmark   December 26, 2010 at 7:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In response to what Gary said above, a plain fireplace is really nothing more than an ornament with very little heat value and a great way to get rid of firewood in a big hurry. A fireplace insert would help dramatically. An airtight wood burning stove is about the most efficient way to make firewood go a long, long way and produce huge amounts of heat.

Living in an urban environment does present somewhat of a problem, however I lived in Chicago most of my life and city crews would sometimes take several days to remove the wood they cut so people would help themselves. You are doing them a big favor by taking it. The trees in urban environments are generally high quality hardwoods. You don't want to burn pine. If you are willing to cut it into manageable lengths, haul it, split it and stack it, you're good to go! The best part is that IT'S FREE!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 4:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've been using a woodstove for over 20 years,(we're in Vermont) and my wife's sister has a gas fireplace (She's in NJ). There is a difference.

Up here just about everybody has either a fireplace or a woodstove. And firewood dealers are plentiful and that keeps the prices low and the dealers honest. So we can stack 3 to 4 cords of split wood quite easily in July for the coming winter. But Sis lives on a postage stamp lot and they couldn't stack any firewood if they tried. So that's something to consider. Also as stated above, a fireplace is nothing more than a good way to keep burning more wood as the heat just goes up the chimney.

So what do both of you want in your fireplace? Ambience or utility? There are many GREAT airtight wood burning fireplaces that will heat the area if that's what you're looking for. And they work REALLY good when the power goes out.

But with gas all you have to do is flip a switch and you have a fire. Not much heat, but a pretty fire. And a gas bill.

So you guys have to sit down and decide what you want the fireplace for. Ambience, or utility. And only you can decide that. Nobody here can do that for you.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 7:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"But with gas all you have to do is flip a switch and you have a fire. Not much heat, but a pretty fire. And a gas bill."??????

There are different types of direct vent fireplaces. Some, usually the bigger ones, while pretty, do not throw out any heat and are not "Rated" as a "Heating Appliance"

Our Valor is rated as a heating appliance, and HEAT it Does!!! We usually turn it WAY Down, (With the valor the fire is continuously variable from just a flicker to full blast). It even has a thermostat built into the remote and will adjust the flame as needed to maitain the temp--wherever you put the remote---(like next to your easy chair) for example! In fact, (last time I checked), Valor was the only maker where you could continuoulsy vary the fire via remote---most the others only allow you to decrease the fire from full on to about 80% of full on (A 20% decrease).

Another manufacturer actually turns off one of the burners via remote and is able to get the fire (That's not continuously variable).

You can even get "heat exchanger" options on these gas fireplaces where you can "Duct" heated air into another room.

I'm glad the poster above did mention what happens when you "flip the switch" but that was only "Half the story".

Yep there are gas fireplaces like my wood fireplace--Great Entertainment----but--there are also gas fireplaces that are rated as "Heating Appliances" Most have BTU ratings(so you can compare),and Those that are rated as a "Heating Appliance" do heat, and very inexpensively compared to Force Air or probably even wood, except where you can obtain wood cheaply.

We just got our gas bill for Nov-Dec, one of the highest we've had, $44. We have a very old gas water heater (has pilot) A new gas dryer which was run a lot during this period, had a lotta company for the holidays so we had both fireplaces going--We usually leave the "Log Lighter" going on the woodfireplace to "encourage" the fire a bit!
We also ran the Forced Air a couple of times to heat the upstairs Master Bed / Bath. Some how I don't see $44 as much of a gas bill for this time period, Usually it is ,$20.

The best thing to do is go to a showroom, where they have the gas fireplaces lit, stand in front and see how much heat. Hopefully you find an "honest Dealer" as I did.
I stood in front of a huge gas fireplace with big pretty flame, but no heat, then stood in front of a smaller one that was not quite as "Spectacular"---that one threw out a "Lotta Heat". I ask the salesman, "What Gives"????
He said, "You are looking at two "DIFFERENT" Appliances.
The large one is for "Entertainment" and is not rated as a "Heating Appliance" the smaller one IS "Rated" as a heating appliance.

Anyway long way to explain that there is a difference in Direct Vent Fireplaces and the right one will certainly heat your house.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 8:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We went to a showroom yesterday and we are going with a direct vent gas fireplace with a heatilator. It's just more practical where we live.

I want to thank everyone for their input. There were alot of good points made and helped us make our decision.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 12:47PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
I need opinions on what to do with old fireplace
I have an old fireplace that needs a rehab badly. What...
Xtrordinair Fireplace
We were directed to a local shop selling this product....
Feedback on MORSO 5660 unit with blower
Hi all- we're replacing our wood insert to get a sleeker...
Indoor/Outdoor Fireplace
Does anyone own an indoor/outdoor dual sided fireplace?...
Installing New Granite Tile Over Old Granite Fireplace Surround?
Hi! On my fireplace surround do I have to replace the...
Sponsored Products
Veer Drafting Stool in Gray
$115.00 | LexMod
Patio Living Concepts Islander Park Style Citronella Four Flame Outdoor Post Lan
Home Depot
Shop-Vac 5 gal. Wet/Dry Vacuum - 2911-6712
$53.99 | Hayneedle
Tommy Bahama Island Estate Lanai Outdoor Fire Pit, Patio Furniture
Eurostyle Dirk High Back Leatherette Swivel Office Chair in Black
Beyond Stores
Blindsgalore Signature 3-inch Composite Wood Shutters
Goldenrod Diamond Wallpaper M8843
Walls Republic
Ashwood Textured Black and Whiskey Barrel One-Light Pendant
$240.00 | Bellacor
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™