The fireplace is the centre of many of our homes. Not only do they bring a cosy warmth, but they can also make a stylish statement. However, if your home wasn’t built with a traditional fitted fireplace, then installation can be a costly and time-consuming process. Thankfully, modern-day alternatives are a great solution. These can come in the form of a stove, gas or electric fireplace.
If you’re looking for an alternative to a built-in fireplace, then a stove may not be the best option. But, that still leaves two horses in the race! The question of gas or electric is quite the conundrum – and is not as simple as you might think. To help you solve this age-old query, we’ve weighed up the advantages and disadvantages of both.
Did you know that electric fireplaces were invented way back in 1912? However, they only became popular in the 1950’s – making them a newer invention compared to their gas counterpart. The electric fireplace is popular due to its ability to recreate a roaring fire through visual lighting effects, without producing harmful emissions. So if that cosy log fire aesthetic appeals, the electric fire might be the heating solution for you!
Electric fireplaces are usually easy to install too and are a smart alternative for those without a flue or gas line already fitted in their home.
Pros of an Electric Fireplace
- They’re clean and easy to maintain compared to a stove or even traditional fireplaces.
- They’re extremely versatile! You can even choose between wall mounted electric fireplace designs or a floor-based style.
- Electric fireplaces don’t require a gas line, flue, or chimney – meaning that they’re easier to locate, and remodelling is typically not necessary for installation.
- They are safer than their gas and traditional counterparts. Electric fireplaces operate at a lower temperature than other fires. The only parts of an electric fireplace that get hot are near the heating element or the air close to the heating output – therefore, reducing the hazards that can come with wood-burning and gas fireplaces.
Cons of an Electric Fireplace
- Electric fireplaces aren’t designed to be a primary source of heat in any home. Electric fireplace heaters usually provide similar heat levels as a small electric space heater. In fact, in terms of heating alone, space heaters offer more capability to warm larger spaces.
- This seems obvious, but electric fireplaces require an electric source – which doesn’t seem like an issue until you factor in potential power shortages. However, with Electrics Cover from £3 a month, you can rest easy knowing your electricals are covered.
The gas fireplace first became popular in the 1900s, providing a fuss-free alternative to traditional wood-burning fireplaces. Gaining notoriety due to their price efficiency and cleanliness – the gas fireplace did away with the smoke and soot that traditional heating filled the atmosphere with. Also, the speed at which a gas fire could alight was much quicker than their wood-burning counterparts.
If you’re lucky enough to have a home with a pre-existing gas line, then you could fit a gas fireplace without any other alterations. In contrast, if your house doesn’t already have these facilities, fitting a gas fireplace can become more complicated.
Pros of a Gas Fireplace
- Gas fireplaces are known for being cost-effective – perfect if you’re watching those pennies.
- Unlike electric fireplaces, they create a real flame – adding an ambient feeling to any space.
- Gas fireplaces have been an effective alternative to traditional fires for decades, making them a tried and tested heating solution.
- We all know that traditional gas fireplaces weren’t the easiest on the eye. However, they’ve come a long way. Now you can shop a wide-range of gas fireplace styles to suit your home.
- They’re more heat efficient than their electric and wood-burning alternatives.
- They’re easy to control. To dim the flame of a gas fire you simply have to reduce the gas flow, which is often done via a remote or button.
Cons of a Gas Fireplace
- As mentioned previously, the cost of installing a gas fireplace can be high, especially if your home doesn’t already have an established gas line. Remember, the installation should be carried out by a gas safe competent Gas Safe registered engineer.
- With gas fireplaces, there’s a possibility of a gas leak either inside the fireplace or pipes. Of course, this is rare, but is still a factor you should consider when opting for a gas fireplace. If you smell gas, you should turn off the gas and call the National Gas Emergency Line on 0800 111 999 immediately . Once you and your loved ones are safe, you should also contact a Gas Safe Registered engineer to check and fix the appliance. For further information on what to do in the event of a gas leak – check out our blog on “What To Do If You Smell Gas In Your Property“.
Is It Cheaper to run a Gas Fireplace or Electric Heat?
The answer honestly depends on your home setup. If you do not have an existing gas line, then an electric fireplace is possibly a more cost-effective option – due to the cost of installation. However, an electric fire is typically more expensive to run, this is because electricity is a more expensive fuel compared to its gas counterpart.
Which is Better, Electric or Gas Fireplaces?
We think it’s clear to see, they both have their positives and negatives, but can one outdo the other?
When it comes to the debate of gas vs electric, it depends on your home. If your house is already fitted with a gas line, then enjoying the efficient and environmentally-friendly benefits of a gas fireplace would be ideal – not to mention easier to install. On the other hand, if your home is without a pre-existing gas line, then the installation of a gas fireplace could be a costly and inconvenient experience. In this case, a small electric fireplace may be the option for you.