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· Registered
87 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
having our new home built and don't know if we should have a gas or wood burning fireplace installed. we have a chimney but have been told a direct vent gas fireplace is the way to go...

have always had a wood fireplace (live in the northeast) and love the smell of it but getting to the age where it might be easier for us (and cleaner) to have a gas one. not to mention the added warmth a the flick of a switch.

please, any thoughts on this are much appreciated!
a big decision for us...


· Civil Engineer
5,832 Posts
A wood fireplace is not a useful source of heat. Wood fireplaces are typically less than 15 percent efficient, and sometimes are net heat losers. People have fireplaces because they look pretty, they like the flame, and for traditional reasons. If you want an efficient wood fireplace, you need to install a fireplace insert stove, which is essentially an airtight wood burning stove installed in a fireplace opening. Alternatively, you can install a wood burning stove and skip the fireplace opening, but then it doesn't really look much like a fireplace.

We have a Jotul fireplace insert wood burning stove. It throws out perhaps 40,000 BTU/hr, which is enough to heat the downstairs in the winter. Very nice to watch the flames, and traditional wood log heat is nice because it works if the power goes out. But we also have a central boiler to provide heat, which is important because we are not always around to stoke the fire, etc.

There are high efficiency gas fireplaces, which are not quite as efficient as a central gas fired boiler or furnace, but still are way above wood fireplaces in terms of efficiency. And with the price of natural gas at historically low levels, and likely to remain there for some time, I would say a combination of gas central heat and a gas fireplace makes sense, unless you want the traditional look of a wood fireplace. In either case, the majority of heating is going to be done by the central heating unit, so perhaps in your case efficiency is not so important.

· Facilities Maintenance
280 Posts
If you're looking into resale value, get both. Gas heater, and a fireplace.

Wood Fireplace, is counted as an alternative heating source. aka, it boosts the resale value of your home. (Majority of my family works Real Estate).

If you have Electrical heating and firewood stove, it only boosts home value.

that said, in my home where I reside (when not on Center) we have Electrical Heating as our primary source, and a Firewood stove.

Firewood stove heats up the downstairs to as high as 98 to 100 degrees during the winter, heating up the upstairs to approx 88-94 degrees. Firewood stove will definitely heat up the house. And it's a LOT cheaper in comparison to the electricity for using an electric heater. Just takes more work (chopping up firewood, etc.)

If you can afford it, and have the space, get BOTH. It only adds real estate value.
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