Your Guide to Gas Fireplaces and Wood Stoves

No matter the time of year, it’s important to have a living space that’s cozy, and comfortable – and nothing says comfort quite like a fireplace or wood stove. During the coldest winter months, and even cool spring and summer evenings, your fireplace or wood stove is the perfect place for the entire family to gather.

Whether you want a charming wood stove or a mess-free gas fireplace, the possibilities are endless while shopping for an indoor fireplace. The toughest decision will be choosing between so many great options to find the perfect fit for your family.

If you’re ready to sit down and warm up around the fire, take time to see which type of fireplace fits your lifestyle – the answers might just surprise you!

What to Look for in A Fireplace or Wood Stove

Most fireplaces and stoves are designed to generate an efficient amount of heat. However, not all fireplaces are the same. Wood stoves are designed very differently compared to a gas fireplace and rely on a constant supply of split and dried wood provided by the homeowner. Depending on what type of fireplace you’re looking for, there are a few things to consider prior to shopping.

For instance, what matters when you’re spending time by the fire? Are you someone who loves the smell of a real wood-burning stove, or are you sensitive to ash and debris? Is the idea of a remote control fireplace appealing, or would you rather set the logs ablaze for yourself?

It’s important to find a style that works for your home and for your lifestyle. If you’re unsure where to begin, consider the following:

  • Are you retrofitting or starting from scratch?
    • If you already have a chimney or fireplace insert, then gas logs, direct vent inserts or a new built-in fireplace may be a practical and stylish choice. However, if you don’t already have a chimney, you could install a new direct vent fireplace, wood stove, free-standing gas fireplace or ventless fireplace instead.
    • Do you love the look of an in-wall fireplace, but don’t have a chimney? Working with one of our fireplace experts means you’ll have the opportunity to explore all your options and discuss how to bring your design dreams to life.


  • What type of fuel is compatible with your home?
    • Every fireplace requires a different fueling method. Some require wood, for an authentic wood-burning fireplace, while others require natural gas or propane. Depending on where you live and what’s accessible, look for a fireplace with the best fueling method for your home. For instance, if you have access to lumber and enjoy the smell of wood-burning, then consider shopping for a wood-burning stove. However, if you live in the city or suburbs, you probably have a propane or natural gas line inside your home. In this instance, it may be easier to install a gas or direct vent fireplace. From there, you can also decide whether or not you prefer vented, ventless, or direct-vent gas logs.
    • It’s important to consider what fuel type is most compatible and safe for your family. A freestanding gas range fireplace may or may not be ideal for your home and children. It’s best to talk to a professional prior to purchase.


  • What style matches your preferences?
    • Personal style is equally important when it comes to purchasing a fireplace. Naturally, wood stoves are more rustic compared to gas or direct vent fireplaces. If this suits your taste, the decision is simple. However, if you care about features like remote controls, or a stainless steel finish, then it’s important to look at more modern designs.

Once you’ve narrowed down your preferences, you can begin to research which type of fireplace is most compatible with your home.

Types of Fireplaces

When shopping for a fireplace, there are a variety of options to choose from. While some families enjoy the warmth of a wood-burning fireplace, others prefer the mess-free nature of other fireplace models. Before you buy it’s important to understand each fireplace model, so you can make an informed choice.


Wood Stoves

If you want to experience the warmth of a wood-burning fire, then a wood stove is the perfect option for you and the entire family. 

One of the biggest advantages of wood stoves is how cost-effective they are to operate. Lumber is fairly affordable and easy enough to access. If you regularly experience power outages, you’ll still have a reliable source of heat to keep you and your family warm all night long.

While wood stoves have previously been known for producing lots of ash and additional smoke, newer lines of EPA certified wood stoves debunk those stereotypes. The EPA now requires that wood stoves cannot produce more than 4.5 grams of smoke per hour – an extreme reduction compared to the previous 30 grams of smoke per hour. Most wood stoves produce even less smoke than the required 4.5 grams – which means your family can breathe easily while experiencing the comforts of a wood-burning stove.

Additionally, most wood-burning stoves come in a variety of styles so you can pick and choose what works best for your individual preference. You’ll be able to browse from a variety of options, including wood stove inserts and freestanding models. Every design still provides plenty of heat, so you’ll be able to enjoy the warmth of your wood stove all day long.


Gas Fireplaces and Stoves

If you’re not one for traditional wood stoves, a gas fireplace or stove is a perfect choice for your family. Known for their easy maintenance and cleanliness, gas fireplaces are ideal for families who want instant warmth at the touch of a button.

Gas fireplaces come in two different models, vented or ventless. A vented gas fireplace means that flames will be able to move freely around the gas log set, without feeling too artificial or trapped. The burning gasses that are produced from your fireplace are vented out to be released outside of your home. Meanwhile, ventless gas fireplaces are able to recycle the combusted gases, so they can be reused within your fireplace.

While both styles are highly effective and stylish, it comes down to personal preference and comfort. The real decision comes down to whether or not you’d prefer vented or ventless gas logs.


Direct Vent Fireplaces

Looking for a way to warm up your home in no time? Unlike traditional wood-burning fireplaces, direct vent fireplaces are ideal for dispersing heat into your home quickly and efficiently. Because of their innovative design, they use external air taken from an exterior double vent pipe system to generate heat, provide combustion air, and exhaust to the outside. Clean heat is dispersed into your home easily, but none of the fireplace’s exhaust or smoke will enter your home.

Additionally, a direct vent fireplace has the ability to evenly distribute heat throughout your home. Thanks to their direct ventilation system, they’re able to pull in cold air from their ceramic glass front blower system, which generates a continuous supply of heat. 

Direct vent fireplaces are going to provide plenty of warmth for your family, so everyone can sit comfortably for hours – just decide if direct vent fireplaces are right for you. 


Vented vs Ventless Gas Logs

While both vented and ventless gas logs burn gas at extreme temperatures, providing the optimal amount of warmth all winter, they operate very differently.

Ventless gas logs, which are compatible with ventless fireplaces and pre-existing masonry chimneys. Ventless gas logs don’t require a chimney or ventilation system. You’ll be able to enjoy everything you love about traditional fireplaces while eliminating the mess. Plus, vent free gas logs require half the amount of gas compared to vented gas logs. You’ll be able to pick from countless of vent-free log styles that resemble burnt or aging logs.

Meanwhile, vented gas logs require a fireplace or chimney to operate, just like a traditional wood-burning fireplace. This is because they omit almost double the heat of a normal fireplace and produce realistic-looking flames. New technologies allow you to feel their warmth for hours at a time, vs losing all of the heat up the chimney. However, since they cycle through clean air to combust and produce such large quantities of heat, you’ll have to leave the damper open while operating vented gas logs. This is so you don’t face any potential risks, such as inhaling carbon monoxide, while it’s in use.

There are benefits and drawbacks to every fireplace model – it’s a matter of personal preference when it’s time to buy your fireplace of choice. For more information, take a closer look at the difference between vent free gas logs and vented gas logs.

How to Prep for Fireplace Installation

Once you feel comfortable with the different types of fireplace models, it’s time to begin shopping. While you’re shopping, meet with a fireplace specialist who can help you decide which model is best for you. This is a good time to mention any safety concerns you have. While talking to your specialist, be sure to ask the following:

  • Are Vented or Ventless Gas Logs better for my lifestyle?
  • Are Inserts, Free Standing Fireplaces, Built-Ins, or Stoves ideal for my living space?
  • Which fuel type is most accessible for where I live?
  • Based on my lifestyle, do you have a personal recommendation?

From there, your fireplace specialist can narrow down a fireplace model that is best suited for you and your family. It’s important to consider all of your options, but talking to an expert can really help you decide what model is best for your home.

Prior to installing a fireplace or wood stove, it’s essential to complete the following steps.

  • Take Measurements
    • Depending on where you’d like to install the fireplace or wood stove in your home, it’s important to take measurement of the existing space and a new fireplace model. If you are replacing a previously built-in fireplace, it’s essential to measure the width and height of the space, to guarantee your new model will fit. If you plan on installing a wood stove, free-standing gas fireplace, or another model, take measurements of the appropriate space. From there, you’ll be able to speak to your fireplace specialist.
    • Take measurements of your new fireplace options, and compare them to what already exists in your home.


  • Take Plenty of Pictures
    • Taking pictures of your space will help give your fireplace specialist a better understanding of your home’s layout. They’ll be able to see what type of model would work best within your existing space and make recommendations accordingly. You can also mention any temperature preferences or concerns you might have.


  • Decide between vented or vent-free logs
    • Before deciding on which type of log you’d prefer, consider your lifestyle and safety preferences. While vented logs produce larger flames, and increased heat, they do require a ventilation system and burn more gas. If you don’t have a ventilation system, then it’s best to install vent-free logs or consider a direct-vent fireplace
    • Discuss your concerns with your fireplace specialist – they’ll be able to see if there is any prep or modifications that must be done prior to installation.


  • Make Your Installation Decision
    • Once you’ve covered all the essential questions, and consulted with your fireplace specialist, it’s time to pick a model. Whether it’s a wood-burning stove, ventless gas fireplace, or direct vent fireplace, all of these models are going to keep your home warm for years to come.

Routine Fireplace Care and Maintenance

Once you’ve purchased your ideal fireplace model, it’s important to follow up with routine maintenance and care. Year after year, our fireplaces work tirelessly to produce enough heat. Without annual maintenance, your model could be working at half capacity.

For Gas Fireplaces and Direct Vent Fireplaces:

  • Clean Your Glass
    • In order to see and enjoy your fireplace, it’s a good idea to clean your glass once every year. Be sure to turn your gas valve off before cleaning.
    • Wipe down the inside and outside of your gas pane using a cotton cloth and a glass fireplace cleaner. While cleaning, make sure there are no scratches or heat damage occurring within your unit.


  • Clean and Inspect Your Firebox
    • Remove any external dust or dirt from your firebox, so it can continue to operate at max capacity. While you’re cleaning, look for any rust or soot. It’s important to make note of these external damages in case your unit needs any replacement parts down the road.


  • Check the Carbon Monoxide Detector
    • Make sure the carbon monoxide detector is on and fully functioning. It should not be more than five feet away from your fireplace.


  • Clean the Outside Ventilation System
    • Models like vented gas fireplaces release air from ducts installed outside your home, so it’s important to make sure these are clear from any debris. If something is stuck or caught inside your air ducts, this can reduce the amount of air that’s being released from your home.

For Wood Stoves:

  • Make sure your wood stove is stone cold
  • Inspect the firebox (where you load wood into your stove) for any ash or residue. Take an ash bucket and remove discarded ash.
  • Clean the glass door of your wood stove using a glass fireplace cleaner
  • Clear out your ash box, located at the bottom of your wood stove
  • Regularly clean the ashtray
  • Sweep up the surrounding area and make sure there is plenty of wood
  • It is recommended that a certified chimney sweep clean and inspect your venting system every 2 to 3 years

If you have any concerns about your wood stove, be sure to make note of those. However, the current EPA safety measures guarantee the lifespan and quality of your wood stove to be better than ever.

Whether you’re ready to buy, or have a question about maintaining your brand new gas fireplace, contact the team at your local Casual Furniture World Store. We’re happy to answer any questions you have so your home stays warm all year long.

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