To make your house homely, there’s nothing like a real fireplace. It’s no surprise that homeowners love them, in fact, the presence of one can make a house more desirable on the property market and add to its value too. Since burning wood or coal is forbidden in many areas, and both involve dirt, dust, and a certain amount of physical exertion, your choice is likely to come down to a gas or electric. So, gas vs electric fireplace, which is better?
An Electric Fireplace
Since every home has electric and not all have gas, one of the obvious benefits of an electric fireplace is that it can be fitted in any home. More than this, it can be fitted anywhere within that home. A gas fire needs a vent to the outside for combusted gases to escape. The absence of a naked flame reduces fire risk. With no combustible fuel required, electric fires tend to last longer than gas ones. Finally, there’s no risk of a gas leak which could lead to an explosion.
On the downside, electric fires tend to draw quite heavily on your supply, so it’s essential that they’re correctly fitted to avoid any fire risk from overloaded circuits. Most electric fires don’t look very realistic and the way the heat can be felt is different too. A gas fire puts out a tangible heat that is far more similar to the heat felt from a ‘real’ fire. Finally, an electric fire won’t work in a power cut! If your main heating is electric and your fireplace is there for back-up you may want to consider using one that will work if there’s a failure to your electric supply.
A Gas Fireplace
If you don’t currently have a mains gas supply you’ll either need to get one fitted or rely on an LPG supply. In any instance, a gas fire must be fitted by a qualified and certified gas engineer and it should be serviced at least once a year. You may be limited as to where in your home you can fit a gas fire due to the need to vent it to the outside.
On the positive side, gas fires will work in a power cut. They also heat instantly, with the press of an ignition button or the turn of a thermostat dial. Many people prefer the appearance of a real flame and over recent years, there are some very stylish and elegant gas fires available.
Which is More Environmentally Friendly?
When you’re considering gas vs electric fireplace pros and cons, environmental issues may be a consideration for you. Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer. A gas fire will produce carbon dioxide which is a greenhouse gas, but how eco-friendly an electric fire depends entirely on how the electricity used to power it is generated. As more energy in the UK is generated from renewables, it’s possible that an electric fire wins on this point, but then there could also be an argument in favour of a solid fuel fire. This is especially true if you’ve invested in a highly efficient burner and are using one of the modern fuels made out of wood waste or other agricultural waste products such as compressed sunflower seeds. Your local authority may have a ban on such appliances however due to clean air regulations. Even if they don’t you’ll certainly need a chimney, which must be checked before you start to use it and then cleaned regularly and there’s always more labour involved in using solid fuel.
Weighing Up Your Choices
When you’re considering an electric vs gas fireplace, your individual circumstances are bound to influence your final decision. The presence or absence of a mains gas supply, or the ease with which one can be fitted will be a major consideration. It’s also important to consider whether your fireplace will be your main source of heat or is something to be used as a back-up or purely for aesthetic appeal and comfort.
Budget will be a factor too. In most circumstances, an electric fireplace will cost less to install. If you’re in any doubt about what’s best for you then it’s worth contacting a local installation specialist. They’ll almost certainly offer a survey and advice.