Our Company Blog

Gas vs Wood-Burning Fireplaces

A lot of homeowners like to shop for new fireplaces in the spring and summer because of the deals found during the off-season months. At Aelite Chimney Specialties, our staff loves helping our clients find the most perfect fireplace for their homes, and we are often asked the following question: “Which fuel type is the best: gas or wood?” We feel both choices are excellent, but there are a few distinct differences between gas and wood-burning fireplaces that can determine the best fuel type for your home. Knowing these differences will help you make the fuel type decision for you, so we would like to give you a few questions to ask yourself about your dream fireplace.Gas & Wood Fireplaces Options Image - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney Specialties

How important is convenience to you?

If you are looking for a fireplace that is easy to use, you might consider a gas fireplace. You will have very little trouble getting a fire started because you can turn on the fireplace by flipping a switch or pushing a button on a remote control from your couch. However, if you enjoy building a wood fire, you probably will not mind the igniting process involved with a wood-burning fireplace. This process includes getting firewood from your outdoor storage, arranging the wood in the fireplace, placing kindling on top, light the fire, and maintaining it.

How concerned are you about fuel costs?

If you are on a budget, wood is much less expensive than natural gas. You can even chop your own wood for free! While natural gas is typically lower in costs than electricity, its price fluctuates. You should also consider if you have an existing gas line to your home because it can be expensive to install a line for your fireplace.

How much maintenance are you willing to do?

When you have a wood-burning fireplace, you will have a list of chores you must do. This list includes properly storing your firewood, bringing the wood into your home for each fire, and sweeping up ashes after every fire. Burning wood also produces creosote, which is a natural compound that accumulates on the interior walls of your chimney. Since creosote is extremely flammable, you will need to have your chimney professionally swept at least once a year. If you are looking for a low-maintenance fireplace, you will want a gas fireplace because it requires no chores like the ones involved with a wood-burning fireplace. Even though gas burns much more cleanly, you still need to schedule an appointment for an annual chimney sweeping and inspection.

How important is the sensory experience of a fire to you?

If you love hearing the sounds, smelling the scents, and watching the beauty of a fire, you may not be satisfied with a gas fireplace. Even though you can find gas fireplaces with very natural looking fires, only a wood-burning fireplace will provide you with the sensory experiences that you want.

Considering updating your fireplace? Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties to learn more about the differences between gas and wood-burning fireplaces.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Gas vs Wood-Burning Fireplaces

Firewood Tips for Optimal Burning and Storing

Winter is quickly approaching, and before you know it, you will be sitting in front of your fireplace enjoying a warm, beautiful fire. However, using the right firewood can make a huge difference on the efficiency of your fireplace. We at Aelite Chimney Specialties would like to share with you some tips on how to choose and store your firewood to help you achieve the best fires possible this season.

Plan Ahead.

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Thoughtful preparation of your firewood supply is crucial. You have many decisions to make in advance of the fireplace season, including obtaining your firewood (Will you cut the wood yourself, or will you be buying your firewood?), storing your firewood, and properly drying your firewood. A lot of people get a late start on gathering their wood fuel supply for the winter and end up having to use inferior firewood. Thinking about this important task in the spring and summer ensures you will have the best wood supply you can when you need it.

Investigate the Best Source for Your Firewood Supply.

If you plan on cutting your own wood, be sure you have the correct permits to do so on state-owned land if you do not own a woodlot. If you would rather buy firewood, ask your friends and family for recommendations for reliable wood vendors. Never order firewood over the phone or online as you need to see the vendor’s wood supply in person to be sure the wood is clean, dried, and properly sized.

Season Your Firewood.

The most important characteristic of good firewood is that the wood is dry and seasoned. According to Michigan State University, your firewood must be dry to burn efficiently and to maximize heat values. Burning wet, green wood is a waste of energy as the fire must evaporate all of the moisture before it can provide sufficient heat. Using green wood can also lead to the rapid development of large creosote deposits when the chimney stack temperatures are not hot enough, which leads creosote to condense. A highly flammable compound, creosote deposits are one of the main causes of chimney fires.

Stack Your Firewood Correctly to Aid the Seasoning Process.

The stacking method you choose to store your firewood will affect how quickly it dries. Never dead-pile your wood closely together as this prolongs seasoning. Using criss-crossed and open-spaced stacking methods will allow your wood to season faster. Also, know that the size of each piece of wood also makes a difference on how quickly it will dry.

Store Your Firewood Properly.

Your firewood should be protected from the weather by storing it off the ground and covering it with plastic or another weatherproof material, if you do not have a woodshed storage area. Seasoned wood can be ruined by exposure to rain and snow since wood easily absorbs and retains moisture.

Want to know more firewood burning and storing tips? Contact Aelite Chimney Specialties to ask our expert staff about more ways you can be prepared with the best supply of firewood.

By Nick Wagner | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Firewood Tips for Optimal Burning and Storing