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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Cyanne on January 10, 2015, 06:34:16 PM

Title: Fireplace-wood burning or gas?
Post by: Cyanne on January 10, 2015, 06:34:16 PM
We are planning on replacing our old inefficient fireplace but we are having trouble deciding between high efficiency wood or natural gas. We live in the woods so we don't buy firewood but would have to cut it up and split it. There is also the mess that comes with using real logs. If we go the natural gas route there isn't the labor of harvesting wood but it would cost $40-50 per month to use. Both would cost around the same to install.

 DH and I like the look of a natural fire better than gas but if we stay in this house the labor involved will get more difficult as we age (DH is 54). Either way we would be using the fireplace as a supplemental heat source. One concern is if we do choose to move in a couple of years, which would be better for resale?

Title: Re: Fireplace-wood burning or gas?
Post by: Davin on January 10, 2015, 07:06:30 PM
If you choose to move in a couple of years, the labor involved won't get much more difficult because you'll be gone. I like the Idea of being able to supplement heat with a different source. I still enjoy chopping wood, but I am 10 years younger. I don't know what the effect on home resale would be, hopefully someone with real estate knowledge will address that.
Title: Re: Fireplace-wood burning or gas?
Post by: deborah on January 10, 2015, 07:30:14 PM
There is also the climate change consideration - gas burning fires are better from this perspective than wood fires.
Title: Re: Fireplace-wood burning or gas?
Post by: Miss Prim on January 11, 2015, 06:49:12 AM
When my husband and I were younger, we heated our house with a wood burning insert and saved a lot of money in energy costs.  But, we had the stamina and access to free wood.  When we built our later house when we were in our 40's, DH opted to put in a gas fireplace.  My son is in his 20's and he just put a wood burning insert into his fireplace.  He has 4 acres of woods to get wood from. 

I think it depends on your age and ability to do the work required for cutting and dragging wood through a forest and then chopping it up.  If you have to pay for wood, I don't think it would be as much of a savings.

If you are going to sell in a few years, definitely a gas fireplace would be more appealing to most people.

                                                                                Miss Prim
Title: Re: Fireplace-wood burning or gas?
Post by: NinetyFour on January 11, 2015, 08:12:57 AM
I vote for gas.
Title: Re: Fireplace-wood burning or gas?
Post by: morning owl on January 11, 2015, 08:25:23 AM
I vote for gas too. I find it more practical to use. I've had both gas and heat efficient fireplaces, and tho wood burning has a nice ambience, gas seems to heat the room better because there's no heat going up the chimney. Even with the heat efficient fireplace we have now, the heat loss is really noticeable. With gas the room is instantly toasty. I recommend a gas unit that doesn't rely on electricity to operate, so that it can work for you in case of a power outage.
Title: Re: Fireplace-wood burning or gas?
Post by: Prepube on January 11, 2015, 08:48:45 AM
Pellet stoves heat my house.  Love them.
Title: Re: Fireplace-wood burning or gas?
Post by: Spork on January 11, 2015, 09:19:54 AM
I know it isn't exactly what you asked... but I vote wood stove. 

If you're redesigning, I also suggest you make sure (whatever you choose) that the air for the fire comes from OUTSIDE.  Otherwise, you're just sucking the conditioned air from your house to feed the fire and sending it up the flue.  Alternatively, you could build some sort of heat exchanger to pull the heat from the flue.  (Wood stoves do this to a degree by their nature as the first 10 or so feet of flue *are* a heat exchanger -- as is the thermal mass of the stove.)

If you're overly concerned about climate consequences... wood stoves also more completely burn the wood and the associated off gases.  When they are hot, you close the flue and all the wood gas becomes part of the fire.  You're not burning carbon that has been sequestered a million years underground.  You're burning carbon that has been sequestered in a tree for a few hundred years.  If you throw that wood on the ground, natural decomposition will off gas that CO2 in a few short years.  You might as well get the heat from it.
Title: Re: Fireplace-wood burning or gas?
Post by: h2ogal on January 11, 2015, 09:33:38 AM
We chose wood for 3 reasons:  1. Lowest cost given our circumstances. We have 40+ acres of wooded land.  We harvest wood from only the dead/fallen trees, so our wood is free.  Our friends help haul and chop in return for free wood for themselves, and we make it a little outing/work-party.  2. We like the look and feel of a wood stove better.  3. Not dependent on any service provider/delivery.   

Our one wood stove heats about 1/2 the house.   We're installing a 2nd wood stove  - a cook stove -  this year, which will heat the other side of the house and will also double as a backup stove/oven.   
Title: Re: Fireplace-wood burning or gas?
Post by: Cyanne on January 11, 2015, 09:42:43 AM
Thanks for the responses so far. We so have a high efficiency wood burning stove in another room that we enjoy. We have three acres of woods so there is plenty of firewood. In fact one reason to go with a woodburning fireplace is that we can get rid of downed trees easily.  Our main question is resale.

Which would be more appealing, gas or woodburning, knowing that there is free firewood onsite? In town we would put in a gas fireplace but in the country I think that a buyer might want wood burning over gas. If you were buying a house in the country on a wooded lot would you prefer gas or wood? Or would it matter?