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ssaamm

gas vs wood burning fireplace

9 posts in this topic

I need some input. We are fixing up the room over the garage. A fireplace is going in. I like to burn stuff. We have a gas fireplace on the main floor. It's fine. In order to get the gas upstairs on the other side of the house it would be quite a hike and $$$. Is there any reason not to go with wood burning? I don't mind cutting and splitting wood and have access to it. I realize we would need a chimney. Is there a big difference with upfront costs gas vs wood? I know in the long run you'd save the money on gas. I have also heard that wood burners are less efficient. Thanks for your thoughts. Sam

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Will if it is upstairs like it sounds like it is, then you have to haul the wood upstairs through the house, which then you could have a mess. you have to store the wood somewhere, sometimes a rack, taking up more room, and leaving a mess under it. I don't know a lot about the structural side of a house, or how much fireplaces weigh, but you could be adding a fairly good sized load in that location which may or may not be ok.

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Hauling and storing wood is a big pain, we have a wood fireplace and rarely use it due to the hassel of getting wood and then carrying it through the house down to the family room.

Efficency wise, wood burning fireplace are very ineffecient. They take the warm air in your house that your furnace has heated and push it out up the chimney. A gas fireplace takes in cold air from the outside and warms it.

Instalation, if you have to add a chimney for the wood burning it could cost thousands, a gas fireplace can be direct vented out the side of the house.

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saamm,

Some good points brought up. My guess is you would not be putting in a verly large stove but you are still going to want to make sure the floor can support the wieght. The last wood butrner I put in was 450lbs so weight can get to be an issue. The plus about being on the second floor is you can vent it straight up and will not need nearly as much class a chimney. This is giant savings. If you go with black pipe from the stove (single or double walled) depending on its location and class A from the roof out you could spend hundreds but not thousands.

The comments about the mess and storage and transport issues are really something to give some thought to. If you are going to burn consistently it is pretty labor intensive. Personally if I added up the cost of saws, gas and time I don't know that the savings are really that great. However, I really enjoy cutting wood and we really like the radiant heat from the wood so we keep doing it.

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Gas are nice just to take the chill out in spring and fall. Just turn them on a half hour or so. Also I had a thermostat put on mine and that helps alot.

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As a guy who is not too old, but certainly not too young anymore... and who has a wood fireplace at home and a gas fireplace in a cabin, I would say the older I get the more I like the gas. I love the wood fireplaces, and used to work for bricklayer, so I love natural fires. But the time and hassle and mess of wood has gotten to be a pita for me... so my vote goes for gas. I am even going to be converting my wood to gas insert pretty soon, as I find some ca$h.

Good luck!

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Wood burning fireplaces are terribly inefficient. Not to hijack the post but if you want to burn wood, what about one of the decorative wood stoves with the glass doors, etc.. they look nice and put out a lot of heat.

Or, I have a stove that burns wood pellets and/or corn. It puts out a ton of heat and is 80% efficient. Also, you can vent straight out the wall and do not need a full size chimney. The vent goes out the wall and then needs to go up vertically about 5 feet.

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Wood is a hassle, it needs cleaning, it takes some time to get it set up for a fire and such, bark breaks off everywhere and makes a mess. Plus there will certainly be a smell associated with it. Ours is a converted wood now gas fireplace. The problem with the wood one was the bricks for it cover almost an entire wall, and if you went more than 48 hours without a fire the bricks would make the room very cold. Here you can have the gas on a few times during the day and negate the problem. The bill hasn't gone up a whole lot with the added gas, but that room on average is a full 10 degrees warmer than it used to be (it used to hold in the upper 50's when no fires were had for a while, with un unheated garage on one side, the fireplace taking up one wall, and a sliding door/window covering most of the other).

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