Wood, pellets, gas or electricity: Which fuel is right for you?

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Although the sun is still shining and it’s hot, the time will soon come for you to look for a new stove or fireplace. While some swear by wood, others prefer easier and more maintenance-free fireplaces. Today, there are several options, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a little guide to the different types of fuels available.

Wood

Wood is well known for its appealing smell, the way it crackles, the atmosphere it creates and the comfort it provides. Another major advantage is that wood fireplaces work without electricity. Those who care about the environment will be delighted to know that EPA-certified fireplaces emit up to 90% less particles than older technologies and are also very efficient and effective.

Before choosing wood as a fuel, keep in mind there is cost to it. Unless you cut your own wood and own the land to source it, you’ll need to buy few cords of wood every year. Also, you’ll need to light the fire yourself and a wood fire produces a lot of heat, which is not controlled by a thermostat. It may get too warm in the house at times. In addition, some insurances companies will charge a higher premium when you own a wood fireplace.

In summary, if you aren’t prepared to invest the time and energy needed to burn wood, this fuel might not be the right choice for you.

Wood Pellets

Those who like using wood can also use pellets. Fireplaces burning pellets allow you to control the temperature more easily while providing excellent heating efficiency. Some pellet fireplaces are EPA-certified for low emissions and most pellet stove do need electricity to run while a few maybe hooked up to battery backup or a solar panel system. An electrician or a solar specialist would be able to assist you if you want to install that technology.

Pellet fireplaces are a good alternative when you care about the environment and when you want to own an automated heathing solution. Pellet stoves can using a wall thermostat which will help to reduce the time spent preparing and maintaining a fire will find this option to be a happy compromise.One load of wood pellets will typically provide heat for half a day and up to 24 hours, depending on heating demand. However, please note you will need to regularly clean out the ashes, the glass and once a year, clean the auger motor and fans. Moreover, these appliances aren’t conducive to creating a beautiful ambiance as the flame is much more like a furnace rather than the flames from a conventional fireplace. In general, these appliances cost more but the price for the installation and for the chimney is less than the cost of a wood-burning fireplace. Also, the price of pellets can vary according to demand and there’s a risk of supply shortages. It’s better to order in advance as early as June to ensure you have a good supply for when you need to heat your home.

Gas

Gas is great for homeowners who want to save time and effort, yet still enjoy the beautiful flames of a lovely fireplace. Gas fires are clean, easy to start and are generally controlled with a programmable remote thermostat. Also, among the other advantages gas fires bring, their flames increasingly look like those of wood fires and there are several models that run without electricity.

However, this alternative has a number of drawbacks, including the fact that you can’t get natural gas in some areas and costs can fluctuate from year to year. Using Propane means you’ll need to create space for a storage tank in your outdoor layout plans.

Electricity

Electricity allows many people who live in condos or apartments to enjoy the warmth of a smaller fireplace and the coziness, comforting atmosphere it creates, even in summer! In addition, you don’t need a chimney, electric fireplaces are easy to install (you only have to plug them in), can follow you if you have to move  to a new apartment. Electric fireplaces are very low maintenance as well.

In terms of the drawbacks, if you want to heat your entire home, this solution won’t work. These fireplaces have a maximum output of around 5000 BTUs, which isn’t enough to heat larger rooms. Also, you can’t rely on them during a power outtage.

For more information, please contact a WE LOVE FIRE dealer near to you.

Thank you to Maison Chaleur & Confort for providing us with the information in this blog. They have three locations in Quebec.

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