gas-vs-wood-fireplace

Gas vs. Wood Fireplace: Which Is Right For You?

Perhaps you’d like to give your space a cozier aesthetic. Or, maybe you find peace in the idea of sitting next to a flame while you’re sipping your morning coffee. Maybe you’re tired of cold toes and noses, and you’d simply just like more heat in your home.

No matter the route you took to get here, you’ve made your decision; you’d like a fireplace. Your next step is to choose which type you want — gas or wood? 

Below is our comparative breakdown of how these fireplaces types differ, the pros and cons of each, and how to determine which is best for you. 

Gas vs. Wood Fireplaces: An Overview

While you likely already know the primary difference between gas and wood fireplaces, there are other characteristics that are important to understand as well. Let’s start with some basic definitions and examples of each. 

Gas Fireplaces

Gas fireplaces operate using either natural gas or propane as fuel. A gas line connects to a residential source or propane tank and runs to the fireplace, which can be turned on either by a switch or a remote.

A few different types of gas fireplaces include gas inserts, gas stoves gas logs, and gas direct vents. You can read more about how these types differ in this blog. 

At VanderWall Bros., we trust and supply gas fireplaces from these brands: 

 

regency banner

Photo courtesy of Regency® — Model: Regency® Energy™ E33 Gas Insert

Wood Fireplaces

Wood fireplaces operate using wood or wood-derived biomass products as fuel. They’re the most traditional type of fireplace and have been known to heat homes effectively for years. 

Some types of wood-burning fireplaces include wood stoves, masonry fireboxes, factory-built fireboxes, and wood inserts. You can read how these types differ in this guide to fireplace terminology.

At VanderWall Bros., we trust and supply wood-burning fireplaces from the following manufacturers: 

 

Jotul product

Photo courtesy of Jøtul® — Model: F 500 V3 Oslo CF Wood Stove

Gas vs. Wood Fireplace: Which Is Best For Your Space?

There are several differentiating factors between gas and wood fireplaces, but we’ll be the first to say that there isn’t a “right” or “wrong” choice here. It just depends on which is best for you. 

When deciding between a gas and wood fireplace, you’ll want to take a few things into consideration: you, your home or property, your lifestyle, your design goals, etc. From there, you’ll get a better understanding of which type can best suit your wants and needs. 

 

TL;DR – Gas vs. Wood Fireplaces

Gas Fireplace

Wood Fireplace

Heat output varies based on the type of gas fireplace, size of heated area, and fireplace efficiency Heat output varies based on the type of gas fireplace, size of heated area, and fireplace efficiency
Cleaner, less sensory experience Full sensory experience (sights, sounds, smells)
Releases fewer pollutants Releases CO2 (but is limited by EPA emission requirements)
Very convenient and easy to use Requires a lot of effort to obtain wood and build fires
Safer to run with less supervision Requires more supervision while burning
Requires annual cleaning and inspection Requires annual cleaning and inspection, plus more day-to-day maintenance and chimney sweep services
Upfront cost varies; operating costs subject to natural gas and propane price fluctuations Upfront cost varies; operating costs more are stable if you have a reliable wood supplier

 

Gas vs. Wood Fireplace Heat Output

When it comes to heat output, both gas and wood fireplaces vary tremendously. Heat output is typically measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs), but those numbers alone aren’t enough to tell how well a fireplace will heat your space. 

The right amount of heat output can vary based on the product you choose and how much living area you intend to heat. Your fireplace needs to be properly sized, and you also need to consider efficiency. A fireplace can have tremendous heat output but be very inefficient. 

Once you’ve determined the size of the heated area, a fireplace expert can help you determine how many BTUs and what efficiency rating to shoot for.

Gas vs. Wood Fireplace Sensory Experience

Gas fireplaces are “cleaner” — both in terms of physical mess and sensory experience. They don’t present wood chips, crackling noises, burning smells, etc. However, they can still look just as warm and inviting. 

Wood fireplaces are the real deal when it comes to sensory experience. They offer an ambiance of satisfying crackles and smoky scents, which many homeowners and fireplace lovers find cozy and relaxing. If you’re looking for the full effect of a wood-burning fire, no other fireplace option can bring you these features. 

Gas vs. Wood Fireplace Environmental Impact

Both gas and wood fireplaces score certain points for environmental impact — it just depends on what type of impact you’re looking at. 

Gas fireplaces don’t emit smoke or gasses, so they release fewer pollutants into the atmosphere. However, we’ve recently experienced some uncertainty with these fuels in terms of cost and availability. 

Wood fireplaces release CO2, among other gasses, into the atmosphere. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided new lower emission requirements for wood-burning units back in May 2020. Also, wood is a renewable resource that you can rely on to be relatively available and affordable. Wood stoves in particular are known to be highly efficient and low-impact. There’s even a valuable biomass stove tax credit available to anyone who purchases and installs one. 

Gas vs. Wood Fireplace Convenience

Gas fireplaces are incredibly easy to operate. You can turn them on and off by simply pressing a remote button or flicking a switch. They’re a great option for anyone who desires cozy fires but doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of building and maintaining them. 

Wood fireplaces require more effort — often a lot more effort. Some wood-burning fireplace owners even describe owning one as a “lifestyle.” You need to gather, maybe chop, stack, store, and move the wood. Then, you actually need to build and kindle the fire each time. If you’re not up for those tasks, a wood fireplace may not be the right choice for you.

Gas vs. Wood Fireplace Safety

When installed, operated, and taken care of properly, both options are inherently safe. The difference in safety mostly relies on how you supervise the fireplace, and those around it, while it’s in use. 

Gas fireplaces are typically safer to run with less supervision. They bring outside air into a sealed combustion chamber, operating behind closed glass doors. They can easily be turned off with the flick of a switch or punch of a button. Plus, gas fireplaces are able to be installed into more spaces due to ease of venting. 

Wood fireplaces require a bit more supervision. While the fire can burn behind closed doors or a gate, it could also be an open, exposed flame. Sparks may fly, and logs may crumble or crash. They also can’t be put out quite as easily. For these reasons, there are very specific requirements with where and how wood-burning fireplaces can be installed. These are also important things to keep in mind if you have pets or small children that you would need to supervise closely while a fire is burning. 

Gas vs. Wood Fireplace Maintenance & Cleaning

Most manufacturers recommend that gas and wood fireplaces be inspected and cleaned annually. This ensures they’re in good condition, safe, and operating at maximum efficiency. 

In terms of day-to-day maintenance, however, wood fireplaces typically require more. Wood comes with chips, dirt, and ashes to take care of, so you may need to clean your wood fireplace more often than once per year. You will also need to get chimney sweep services (to clean out chimney flue or buildup of creosote) at least once per year. 

Gas vs. Wood Fireplace Cost

The cost of gas and wood fireplaces varies based on what type and brand you get and who installs it. It’s difficult to pinpoint which is more or less expensive upfront. 

Operating costs can vary too. Fluctuating natural gas and propane prices have made gas fireplaces more expensive to run compared to previous years. However, they’re still a feasibly affordable option for many homeowners. 

In some circumstances, wood may be a safer bet because it’s a renewable resource that will always be available and isn’t quite as subjected to drastic fluctuations. However, finding a good, reliable source of wood can be a bit difficult if you don’t already know someone. Do you need a few ricks or cords? Will your supplier deliver, and will they deliver to your property — whether that be in a rural area or a city? This is something many people fail to consider but can make all the difference.

Looking to Purchase a Gas or Wood Fireplace? Contact VanderWall Bros.

If you’ve got your mind set on a new fireplace for your space, we’re your top-choice supplier. At VanderWall Bros., we carry amazing selections of both gas and wood fireplaces — all from trusted manufacturers.

From helping you pick the right fireplace to installing it within an artfully designed mantel, we’re here with you every step of the way. Give our team a call or contact us online to start your project.

The Federal Biomass Stove 25(C)

Understanding the Federal Biomass Stove 25(C) Tax Credit

With the uncertainty of natural gas and propane costs, wood and biomass fuels are viable alternatives that can give homeowners peace of mind in cold winter weather. For this reason, many have chosen to invest in wood or pellet stoves as heat sources. 

But pellet and wood stoves don’t just create warm, cozy spaces and offer peace of mind; they also offer serious cost savings! There’s a federal biomass tax credit available for anyone who purchases and installs a qualifying stove. The credit is for both material (stove, venting, etc.) and the cost of installation (labor, permit, etc.).

If you’re considering a new fireplace or heating system for your property, would like to learn more about wood and pellet stoves, and would like to take advantage of a tax credit, keep reading. 

What Is the Federal Biomass Stove 25(C) Tax Credit?

The Federal Biomass Stove 25(C) Tax Credit is also known as the Wood and Pellet Heater Investment Tax Credit. It’s a financial incentive for anyone who installs a highly efficient heating system (typically a wood or pellet stove) that runs on wood and biomass fuels. 

The credit is referenced under Section 25(C) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and runs from January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2032. It’s the latest version of an energy credit that was just passed with the Inflation Bill. The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) had advocated for the Biomass Thermal Utilization Act for years, and this credit was a big part of their push. 

There have been several different energy credits over time, dating back to the 1970s. Since then, the credits have evolved along with new technologies and environmental standards. Just prior to this one was a credit referenced under Section 25(D) of the IRC. Now that the new 25(C) credit is effective, the 25(D) credit will be eliminated. 

However, any product that was purchased in 2022 but is not installed until 2023, and that qualifies for the 25(C) credit, can be claimed on a 2023 tax return. 

What Does the Biomass Tax Credit Mean for Wood Stove Purchasers?

So what exactly does this mean for those who purchase a wood or pellet stove? What are the financial incentives on the table? 

Anyone who is eligible for the Federal Biomass Stove 25(C) Tax Credit can claim a 30% tax credit, based on the combined cost of the unit and installation. The credit is capped at $2,000 annually. 

This is a huge cost savings for anyone who purchases a qualifying stove. The U.S. government has realized the benefits of these high-efficiency heating products and is rewarding those who install them. 

How to Know If You’re Eligible for the Biomass Tax Credit

The eligibility terms for the biomass tax credit are fairly straightforward: buy a qualifying stove between January 1, 2023 and December 2032. In order for a stove to qualify, it must: 

  • Operate using wood or biomass fuels
  • Have a thermal efficiency of at least 75% per the higher heating value (HHV) of the fuel
  • Have a manufacturer certification statement verifying that the product qualifies

If you’d like, you can use the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Certified Wood Stove Database as a reference. Just keep in mind that not all of the products on this list qualify; look for the ones with at least 75% efficiency. 

Where Can I Find More Information?

If you’d like to gather more information about wood stoves and the Federal Biomass Stove 25(C) Tax Credit, there are a few trusted resources we recommend checking out. 

For more personalized resources and recommendations, you could also contact a trusted wood stove supplier, like our team at VanderWall Bros. We’ll be able to walk you through which stoves are eligible and answer any questions you have about receiving your tax credit. We also provide installation and maintenance services to keep your stove looking and functioning well for years to come.

Take Advantage of the Biomass Tax Credit & Buy a Wood Stove From VanderWall Bros.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of the Federal Biomass Stove 25(C) Tax Credit, VanderWall Bros. can help. We supply a full selection of highly efficient wood and pellet stoves from top manufacturers like: Jøtul®, HearthStone®, Osburn, Harman®, Vermont Castings™, and Napoleon. For more information on what products qualify and how to get started, contact our team.

vermont casting wood stove

What Is a Wood Stove?