What Kind of Fuel Should Your Fireplace Use?
If you’re building a new home, remodeling your current one or considering replacing your fireplace, it pays to do a little research before making an investment in a factory-built heating appliance. One of the key decisions you’ll be making is what type of fuel you want the unit to run on. Gas and wood are the most popular, but there are other options to consider. Let’s look at them.
The traditional wood-burning fireplace will probably never go out of fashion. Considered a “renewable” energy source, wood creates robust fires and can help reduce heating costs. Flaming wood logs are wonderfully ambient, but some homeowners aren’t keen on the work involved in acquiring the logs, storing them and using “ancient” technology (match and tinder) to get the fire started. Wood fireplaces also require regular cleaning and maintenance.
Modern gas fireplaces need very little maintenance and come in models that are vented and vent-free. They can be safely placed in various spots throughout the home for excellent zone heating, unlike wood fireplaces, which require more elaborate venting processes including a properly built chimney. Gas burns clean, but it isn’t a “renewable” fuel. Gas fireplaces are easy to start and not messy, however, if there’s any problem getting a supply of gas, there’s no fire. Today’s gas log sets look very realistic.
Consistent, economical warmth, ease of starting, very safe and surprisingly pleasant-looking – these are some of the main reasons people like electric fireplaces. Because there’s no flame, the surrounding areas never get overly hot, which parents appreciate. These units produce a pleasing appearance, although you won’t get the lapping, dancing flames as with a wood or gas appliance. Electric fireplaces start up easily, produce fast heat and are versatile in their placement options.
These units burn chunky little pellets made of sawdust and by-products of wood, making it a bio-mass fuel. The fires are intense and bright, and a hopper feeds the firebox automatically. You can buy pellets in large bags (40 pounds is common) and easily store them. Although there will be some cleaning and maintenance, pellet fires can burn for as long as 36 hours without the fire having to be tended. Before purchasing, make sure a pellet supply is available in your area.
Yes, there are still fireplaces that run on coal. It’s a pretty economical fuel source and, like pellets, sustains heat for up to 24 hours. Lush blue flames are hallmarks of a coal fire along with an eye-pleasing glow. Stored coal must stay dry. Working with coal can be a dirty process, so think about this before buying.
United Fireplace & Stove member stores throughout North America are ready to help you find the perfect new fireplace, replacement fireplace or additional fireplace for other areas of your home. We have the answers you’re looking for. Use our store locator to find a UFS outlet near you.