As we get closer to the fall season, more and more of us will begin to heat up our living rooms with our fireplaces. Some may snuggle up next to the crackling sound of walnut or black oak. Others will spend their chillier days and nights through an energy efficient gas fireplace. It doesn’t get any better than that on a chilly fall evening.

If you have a wood fireplace, you might wonder if it is a better option to make a switch to gas? When weighing your options, you might consider…

  • Fuel Costs
  • Level of Difficulty to Operate
  • Vanity
  • Maintenance
Even though all of these components are important to us, safety should be a top priority when we are set to make a purchase or upgrade our fireplace. Both wood and gas fireplaces can be safe when used and maintained correctly. But gas fireplaces pose less of a risk to your home and family.

Why Gas Fireplaces Are Safer than Wood Fireplaces

Failure to Clean Your Wood Fireplace Can Lead to House Fires

According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is the “leading factor for home heating fires (30%) was failure to clean, principally from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.” If your chimney is not maintained on a consistent basis, problems will become more of an every day hassle.

Your Gas Fireplace is Controlled with a Flick of the Switch

Owning a wood fireplace does possess an organic quality. Being outdoors and finding the right wood is something any fireplace owners can appreciate. However, it can be an arduous process to build and light a fireplace for anyone, let alone those that are new to fireplaces.

The gas alternative is simple flick of the switch. No laboring is necessary and you and your family are avoiding the risk of potential out of control wood fires.

Wood Fireplaces Create Potentially Dangerous Build Up

It is much harder to clean a wood fireplace because of all the buildup of soot and ash. In addition, creosote, which is a consequence to wood burning fires can build up in your chimney and cause future fires if not properly maintained. Your wood fireplace should be cleaned after each use. The chimney should be professionally cleaned once a year.

In comparison, a gas fireplace require almost no per-use maintenance. While they should be professionally serviced periodically, they do not leave behind any soot or ash like a wood fireplace.

Drawbacks to Wood Smoke Exposure

Wood smoke does contain several harmful pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Exposure to burning wood can be precursor to debilitating health issues. For those that are exposed to wood smoke on a consistent basis are susceptible to a number of health issues that include asthma attacks, lung, and heart disease.

Propane is a clean-burning fuel that reduces the risk of any negative health developments to our loved ones. By chance if you do have a gas leak, your gas leak detectors will alert you of possible gas leaks so you can turn off your gas with ease.

Gas Fireplaces Ventilation is More Advanced

All fireplaces require a chimney flue in order to release chemicals that are they byproduct of burning fuels. The design of wood fireplaces allows them to only ventilate vertically. In comparison,more versatile gas fireplaces have the ability to “vent safely through horizontal ventilation flues.” As mentioned above, buildup in wood chimneys can cause problems which can be avoided if you decide to purchase a gas fireplace instead.

In addition, ventless gas fireplaces are available. Ventless gas fireplaces can reduce carbon emissions. This model gas fireplaces also has the ability to recognize oxygen levels “within the control valve.”

The Verdict: Gas Fireplaces Have Fewer Safety Risks

Gas fireplaces have fewer safety risks than wood burning fireplaces. While wood fireplaces, provide a pleasing aroma and other aesthetically pleasing characteristics for your home, they do pose significant safety risks.

Gas fireplaces have surpassed their wood counterparts and make the better case for our safety.