Fireplace Buying Guide – What You Need to Know About Gas, Electric & Wood Fireplaces

Few things create an instant atmosphere of comfort and calm like a fire burning in your hearth—whether it’s a crackling wood fire or a sleek row of gas-fueled flames.

Choosing your first fireplace is exciting, but the number of choices and factors to consider can be a little overwhelming. Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself before heading into a showroom, as well as a brief crash-course on some of the most popular options.

What do you want from your fireplace?

First of all, what are you looking for? Authentic crackling flames and the smell of burning logs? An efficient heating solution? A low-maintenance heating supplement?

Once you know what your goal is, it’s much easier to narrow down your choices.

Secondly, what are your home’s technical limitations? Perhaps you live in an apartment or condo unit that does not have a chimney, or maybe you cannot connect to a gas-line, for instance. Knowing these important factors will also help you rule out fireplace types that are not ideal for your space. 

That said, don’t despair if you lack a chimney! Many venting solutions can be installed, and electric options don’t require venting at all.

Note: Don’t expect to heat multiple rooms with the same fireplace. Aiming for this will usually result in one overheated room and a bunch of underheated peripheral rooms.

A guide to buying gas fireplaces

Gas fireplaces are an excellent choice for marrying the look of real flames with efficient heating. As the name suggests, gas fireplaces are fueled by natural gas or propane rather than wood. This makes for easy and beautiful heating, with virtually no maintenance.

Several models can be controlled by a wall switch or a remote. Some can even be programmed to automatically keep the room at a specific temperature! 

To enjoy a gas fireplace, you’ll ideally have both venting and access to a gas line. If you do not have a chimney, venting can be installed (it does make for a more extensive job, though), and in the absence of a gas line, you can opt to install a tank.

A guide to buying gas inserts

gas insert is a gas fireplace that is designed to be installed within an existing fireplace. This setup allows you to take advantage of the existing chimney and hearth in your home while enjoying the benefits of a gas unit.

You will no longer need to struggle with starting and maintaining a wood fire, and the gas insert also seals chimney drafts and reduces heat-loss. As with a traditional gas fireplace, you will need a gas-line or a tank to fuel a gas insert.

A guide to buying electric fireplaces

Electric fireplaces are the easiest and most low-maintenance option to get the cozy look of a fireplace and supplement heat in a room. While the flames in an electric fireplace are not real, they can still cast a comforting glow on your space and contribute to your ambiance.

The best part is that there is virtually no installation hassle or fuss over ventilation and fuel… you just need an outlet!

It is worth noting that unlike a gas fireplace, an electric model may take a few moments to warm up and can rarely be used as a sole source of heat in a room. However, the variety of styles, the ease of installation, and the lack of maintenance make electric fireplaces a very accessible option for any space.

Pro Tip: Get a look at your gas or electric options when the flames are off to make sure you still like how it looks when it isn’t running.

A guide to buying wood fireplaces

It’s true; there’s nothing quite like a good old wood-burning fire crackling in a fireplace. For the nostalgics and purists, this authentic experience is non-negotiable.

These classic fireplaces require more frequent servicing and more work to start and maintain a fire. While still less efficient than gas or electric versions, newer wood fireplace designs can now boast over 75% efficiency!

And wood inserts?

Already have a fireplace, but looking for an upgrade? A wood insert may be the way to go! This type of fireplace is installed within your existing fireplace. It is designed to eliminate drafts, increase heat efficiency, and reduce emissions while maintaining a classic wood fire’s incomparable charm.

Here’s a quick summary of the different types of fireplaces explored in this post: 

Regardless of where you are in this process, visit us in-store to benefit from expert advice and attentive service. We’ll help you find the just-right fireplace for your home, and our certified technicians will assemble and install it for you so you can enjoy it as soon as possible.

Your Fireplace, BBQ & Patio Experts Since 1952

The Fireplace Center and Patio Shop is your one-stop-shop for all your indoor and outdoor essentials. With one of Canada’s largest showrooms, we have over 200 fireplaces on display. With extensive knowledge in BBQs, heating and cooling, and patio furniture, you can trust our team to provide expert advice, quality assembly and installation. Call us today.

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