Winter may only last a few weeks in the Texas hill country, but a cozy fireplace can help you make the most of it. There are 4 different fireplace options you can consider - each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Wood-burning fireplaces are a timeless favorite and have been warming homes since the beginning of time. They not only offer heat but a cozy ambiance. There is just something about wood burning and crackling that makes a winter home feel relaxing and cheery.
That said, wood-burning fireplaces do come with some drawbacks. For many modern families, they require too much attention and maintenance. You must keep a steady stream of wood on hand to burn, you need to maintain the burn through constant tending, and you have to clean out ash after use. For some homeowners, the work is just not worth the limited heat that a wood-burning fireplace provides. Traditional wood-burning fireplaces are among the least energy efficient options, as the majority of the heat rises up through the flue.
Wood-Burning or Pellet Stoves
The modern wood stove (for burning logs) and pellet stove (for burning compressed biomass pellets) provides the ambiance of a wood-burning fireplace, but produces less air pollution and is more energy efficient, with heat radiating the space around the stove. The homeowner who chooses this type of fireplace should understand that they will still have to deal with difficulties that come with using wood as an energy source (wood storage and stove maintenance), but the results may just be worth it.
A gas fireplace is a fire-lovers alternative to a wood-burning fireplace or stove. The allure of a gas unit, first and foremost, is the flame. The best part of this type of stove is that it can provide consistent heat for as long as you want or need, not just for as long as the logs remain burning. It’s as simple as flipping the On/Off switch. The efficiency of the heat is determined by the type of ceramic log you select. The vented log which is favored for their “real” look, produces very little heat. While the less attractive vent-free logs offer a more efficient supplemental heating source. Regardless of which type of gas fireplace you choose, it’s wise to have your fireplace serviced annually by a qualified HVAC professional. This practice will help keep your family and home safe and ensure optimal performance for your fireplace.
The electric fireplace features a “flame” replicated through an innovative LED light system coupled with strategically configured reflective mirrors. It creates a remarkably realistic illusion of a real fire without the mess or the hassle of a wood-burning fireplace, and without the hazard of a real flame. There is also the option to enjoy a fire with or without heat. The flames are just reflected light so the heating component may be turned off which makes it possible to enjoy a beautiful your fireplace year round. However, for many fire-loving homeowners, the electric fireplace just can’t compare to a real burning fire.
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