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A fire burns in a beautiful old fireplace decorated with the initials "U and V" on the mantle above.

From Electric Fireplaces to Wood-Burning Fireplaces, Here’s What Buyers Need to Know

Fireplaces add warmth and ambiance to any home. And no matter the type, a fireplace will increase the value of your home.

But when choosing a new fireplace for your home, the type you choose will depend on various factors, such as:

  • Why you want a fireplace;
  • Your budget;
  • The size of your home;
  • The location of your home;
  • The type of home; and
  • Local burning restrictions.

To help you with your buying decision, here’s a comparison of the different types of fireplaces available to homeowners.

Electric Fireplaces

These work like electric space heaters, but with the appearance of a fire. Electric fireplaces have heating elements and blow warm air from vents.

Pros

  • The cheapest fireplace choice.
  • Useful for localized heating in a home.
  • Great for smaller homes in the city, such as apartments and condos.
  • Safe for small rooms.
  • Easy on/off switch.
  • No chimney – easy to install.
  • Low-maintenance – only need vent dusting on occasion.
  • Eco-friendly – low emissions, don’t directly pollute.
  • Energy efficient for heating small spaces – 200 to 400 square feet.
  • Can use the flame without heat.
  • Some have timers to save energy.
  • Can use with a remote control.
  • Safe for kids, pets, and small areas since they are cool to the touch.

Cons

  • Not a real flame.
  • Doesn’t have the look, smell, and sometimes sound of a real wood-burning fireplace.
  • Not a cost- or energy-efficient heating source for large areas or entire homes.

Gas Fireplaces

These work like gas ovens, burning natural or propane gas to create a real flame spread out over ceramic logs.

Pros

  • Real flames.
  • Easy on-off switch and operation.
  • Heat localized areas of your home – blowers can push warm air through your home.
  • Some models come with remote controls.
  • Easy and affordable to install, depending on home’s natural gas line.
  • Natural gas burns clean.
 

Cons

  • Need gas-line hookups.
  • Combustion produces carbon monoxide, a common pollutant and potential health hazard.
  • Need proper ventilation and carbon monoxide monitoring.
  • Need professional installation to ensure it’s up to building safety codes.
  • Need professional inspections and maintenance.

Wood-Burning Fireplaces

These fireplaces are ideal for heating open-concept homes in areas where you can burn firewood.

Pros

  • Unmatched ambiance – the classic look and feel of a fireplace.
  • Real flames.
  • Flexible – add-ons and accessories can improve heat and energy efficiency.
  • Firewood is usually plentiful and easy to source – even on your own property.
  • Wood stoves and pellet stoves can be very efficient burners.
  • Can easily cook with a wood stove or fireplace.

Cons

  • Most expensive to install, and require a chimney.
  • Need proper ventilation.
  • Fires must be built by hand.
  • Particulate and wood sourcing can lead to greater carbon footprint.
  • Ash and soot must be cleaned regularly.

Keep these costs and benefits in mind when buying fireplaces. While they all offer warmth and ambiance, you’re sure to find one that suits your home, budget, and lifestyle.