Is A Gas-Burning Fireplace Right For You?

Posted on: 6 August 2015

You probably already know that cozy evenings in front of the fire can be both relaxing and comforting when the snow is piling up outside. Not only does a fireplace provide heat, it creates atmosphere too. If you are considering installing a fireplace in your home, you may be wondering whether to stick with a traditional wood-burning fireplace or opt for a gas-burning fireplace instead. Consider the pros and cons of a gas-burning fireplaces carefully before making your final decision.

Benefits of Gas Fireplaces

  • Maintenance: Gas fireplaces don't require cleaning like wood-burning fireplaces do. Because the flame is fed by gas, there are no ashes to clean up and no creosote in the chimney to worry about. In addition, because your fuel source is piped into the fireplace, there is no mess from carrying wood like there is with a wood-burning fireplace. Gas-burning fireplaces do require a yearly cleaning by a professional, but the rest of the year, they are basically maintenance free.
  • Convenience: Gas fireplaces ignite with the flip of a switch and begin pumping warm air into the room within minutes. Most are equipped with a fan to direct the heat into the living space. Traditional wood-burning fireplaces require starting the fire and waiting for the logs to ignite before you begin feeling the heat in the room. It can take up to half an hour for a wood fireplace to bring the temperature in the room up to the desired level.  Gas fireplaces can also be shut down with a flip of switch, whereas wood-burning fireplaces require waiting for the fire to burn down. That means no waiting for the fire to go out before you can head off to bed or out for night on the town.
  • Installation: Gas fireplaces do not require a chimney and can be run with prefabricated vents. This means they are easier to install and can be located in nearly any area of the home, whereas wood-burning fireplaces must be installed near the existing chimney or require a new chimney to be installed. Installing a gas fireplace is less labor intensive and easier on your wallet.
  • Safety: Gas fireplaces do not produce sparks from the burning wood, making them safer to use. They also do not pose the risk of falling or shifting logs during a roaring fire. Chimney fires are not a concern, as there is no creosote to worry about. If you have children or small pets, the safety alone may sway your decision.


  • Appearance: Gas fireplaces are equipped with a gas burner located behind a ceramic log. The flame does not flicker and spark like the flame from a wood fire, and the log never changes shape or turns to glowing embers. If you dream of sitting in front of the fire mesmerized by the flickering flames, you may be disappointed by the appearance of a gas fireplace. Although the flames are designed to flicker like the fire from burning logs, it is difficult to mimic the ever-changing flames that burning wood creates.
  • Fragrance: Many people enjoy the fragrance of burning wood and miss this when they switch to a gas fireplace. Several manufacturers make scented candles that mimic the fragrance of burning wood. Burning scented candles while running the gas fireplace may help set the mood for a cozy night in front of the fire.
  • Sound: Many people enjoy the sound of burning wood with its crackles, sparks  and pops, but you will have to give this up if you choose a gas fireplace. Because the only thing that burns is the gas in the burner, gas fireplaces are silent, except for the fan.

If your primary reason for installing a fireplace is to create ambiance and experience life as it used to be, a gas fireplace may not be the right choice for you. However, if you are looking for a functional fireplace to keep the chill out of the room, but don't have a lot of time (or desire) to devote to its upkeep, a gas-burning fireplace may be just what you need.