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Gas vs. Electric Fireplaces: Pros and Cons

On a cold winter evening, there are few things as cozy as the comforting warmth of your home's fireplace. If you're thinking of having a fireplace installed in your existing home, you won't regret your decision. There is one decision that you will have to carefully consider, however. Should you choose a gas or electric fireplace? Here are a few of the pros and cons to aid you in your choice.

Gas Fireplaces


Efficient: Gas fireplaces are fuel-efficient and burn with much less toxic byproduct than a traditional wood-burning fireplace. They also heat very efficiently. A direct-vent gas fireplace, a type of fully-enclosed gas fireplace that has a fresh air intake as well as a combustion exhaust vent, can operate with as much as 70% efficiency. Compared to an electric fireplace, you get all that efficiency with much more heat output.

Low Maintenance: Like an electric fireplace, a gas fireplace requires very little upkeep. Regular inspection of the gas line is the only maintenance you'll have to worry about.


Cost: A gas fireplace requires infrastructure like a gas line and venting system. Installing all this into an existing space may have a high price tag. But for many homeowners, the cost is worth it to have that real flame.

Electric Fireplace


Low Cost: One of the biggest hurdles of installing a new fireplace in an existing home is the price tag. It costs money to break open walls and add vents and gas lines. Fortunately, most electric fireplaces can be installed easily without additional construction. The price is fairly low both to install and to operate, starting at around $200 but averaging about $625 for a high-quality, professionally installed fireplace that looks authentic.

No Fumes: Another major benefit of an electric fireplace is that, unlike gas, there are zero fumes to worry about. They require no intake or exhaust vents and there is no danger of noxious gases ever entering your home. They are safe and convenient.

Low Maintenance: Electric fireplaces have very easy upkeep. You may need to replace a light bulb once in a while and keep the fan clear of dust and debris, but that's about it.


Unappealing Aesthetic: The biggest disadvantage of an electric fireplace is that you have no flame and for many homeowners, the flame is what gives the fireplace its charm. However, high-quality electric fireplace models have achieved very authentic looking lighting that mimics the movement of flames. It's almost as good as the real thing. 

If you need a second opinion on your options, contact a fireplace installation service.