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Natural Gas Fire Pit: Are They Cheaper to Run Than an Electric Fireplace

Natural Gas Fire Pit

If you are planning out a new home with an architect, it makes sense that you would want to think about the layout of your backyard as well. Before the home builder even starts laying the foundation, it isn’t a bad idea to at least think about some elements you want on the outdoor section of your house. Most people might already be thinking about the home décor of their home and they might even be speaking with an interior designer and making vital interior design choices before the house is finished being built. Of course, if you are simply doing a remodel of the backyard of your existing home, you will need to think about elements that will enhance it. One element that can really enhance an outdoor space is some kind of fire element in the form of a gas fire pit or even an electric fireplace. You may be asking yourself, is a gas fire pit cheaper to run, or is an electric fireplace?

In the following article, we are going to talk about the cost of running a gas fire pit versus an electric fireplace, and much more in regards to heating devices both indoors and outdoors. Let’s begin.

Natural Gas Fire Pit

A natural gas fire pit or an electric fireplace; what is cheaper to use in an outdoor living space?

It is important to understand that electric fireplaces aren’t typically made for outdoor use. They are intended to be used in enclosed spaces where you don’t need an incredibly high BTU output and to warm your home and keep your electricity bill down. For outdoor use, you can get electric heating devices, but they will be made specifically for the outdoors, will have a very high BTU output, and will use quite a lot of electricity. It is because of this that a gas-fueled backyard fire pit will usually cost you less in terms of warming the area around it.

What are some common natural gas fire pit features that you can expect?

With a fire pit kit, there are tons of features you should be aware of. You can get one that is a table fire pit itself or even a smaller one made to go on the tabletop of your patio. Keep in mind that gas tabletop patio heaters are not going to be nearly as powerful as the larger standalone fire pits.

The material of the fire pit is something to consider. Some are made of stainless steel, while others can be made of natural stone or ledgestone with strong durability—magnesium oxide for additional fire protection. You can even get a concrete fire pit. Regardless of what stone you get, you will likely still be using a stainless-steel burner.

In the fire bowl or burner pan, you can use things like a lava rock arrangement or fire pit art in the form of fire glass. Fire glass can look attractive with a bright, glowing color to it. Of course, these things can be combined as well. You can easily have a concrete fire pit with a fire bowl that uses glass to bring more color to an otherwise gray and monotone fire pit.

The ignition system of your fire pit kit can vary depending on the model you get. You can have one with electronic ignition or spark ignition to start the fire instead of using a match to light it. A push-button electronic ignition or spark ignition for an ignition system saves time and can be safer, but can also be more expensive to repair if there is an issue with it.

There are a variety of fire pit cover types you can choose to use so that your fire pit is protected from the elements when not in use. These can be a stone cover, wood cover, or a simply draped tarp shaped like your fire pit.

One other thing to keep in mind is what kind of surface your fire pit will be on. Installing a fire pit above or within a wooden deck can prove to be an extremely dangerous and a big fire risk. However, using a fire pit over stone pavers is much safer.

What is the main difference between a fire pit that uses natural gas and one that uses propane?

The two most common types of gas used with a fire pit burner are natural gas and propane. A propane gas fire pit is going to be a bit more efficient and also burn cleaner. The downside of using liquid propane is that you are going to need to change the propane tank from time to time just like an outdoor BBQ that uses propane. Of course, with a propane gas fire pit table, you also have the benefit of not needing long gas lines most of the time.

With natural gas, you will need to run a natural gas line. For most people, this isn’t a simple DIY job, and you will likely need to hire a professional to make sure everything is done safely and up to code. Depending on where you are installing your fire pit, this can sometimes be costly.

Can a gas fire pit be used in an enclosed patio or would an electric fireplace be a better choice?

You really want to shy away from something like a gas fire pit when it comes to an enclosed patio. Fire pits typically need to be exposed to the open air because they produce emissions that can be harmful to you when used in more enclosed spaces. For this reason, if you are looking to heat an enclosed patio, you are better off purchasing an electric fireplace for that area. While they might cost a lot in electricity if you were to use one outdoors, a completely enclosed patio can actually be a much more heat-efficient space where the heating ability of an electric fireplace really shines.

Can a gas fire pit be used inside of the home or is it strictly an outdoor fireplace?

Gas fire pits should never be used inside of the home unless it is some small, tabletop version that is specifically made for indoor use like being placed on a coffee table. Of course, these small units aren’t really made for any serious heating and can barely keep the space directly around them warm. These can be a fun novelty to use around your home, but if you need a primary heating device, you really want to get yourself a proper fireplace for your home.

What are the problems with wood burning and gas burning fireplaces that are made for indoor use?

So, you have decided you want to heat the inside of your home as well, but you aren’t sure what type of fireplace to go with. The three main choices are wood, gas, and electric. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t really understand just how bad wood and gas fireplaces are for your home. For starters, let’s talk about the issues you are faced with when you choose to use a wood fireplace within your home:

  • Wood fireplaces are actually one of the top causes of residential homes catching on fire. This is due to the flammable soot that starts to build up within a chimney, but also the flame that is exposed to flammable things within your home.
  • Wood fireplaces are notorious for releasing harmful emissions that you have to be careful of, such as formaldehyde. Smoke inhalation is dangerous, but carbon monoxide poisoning can be even more dangerous because it isn’t as obvious as smoke in the air.
  • Out of all of the main fireplace types, wood fireplaces are the biggest hassle to use. Cleaning the fireplace, building a fire, and maintaining a burning fire all take quite a lot of effort.
  • Smoke vents through the chimney; you are guaranteed to lose quite a lot of heat through the chimney, making them very inefficient.
  • The odor you have to deal with when it comes to wood fireplaces is something that most people don’t think about until it is too late. The smoky smell lingers for a long time and gets into your furniture, curtains, and carpets.
  • Wall staining is typical due to prolonged exposure to smoke that makes its way into your home. You will need to paint or wash your walls frequently when you discover them quickly turning yellow.
  • Think twice if you want to mount a TV above your wood fireplace. This is a sure way to damage your TV permanently due to extreme heat and smoke exposure.
  • You need a lot of storage space for the large amount of wood you will be burning during the colder months.
  • Wood fireplaces are incredibly expensive to build as they are a major construction addition to your home.

It’s easy to see why gas fireplaces might be a good alternative to wood fireplaces, and in many ways they are. However, they still suffer from a plethora of issues that people aren’t aware of until after they have already bought one:

  • They still have an exposed flame that is a serious fire hazard.
  • They don’t produce smoke but often still produce carbon monoxide that can leak into your home.
  • The flame color is unattractive and unrealistic in most cases.
  • The flames are very weak and don’t flicker like a real fireplace.
  • They are very expensive and tedious to install and a professional will likely be needed.

What are the benefits of an electric fireplace over a wood burning or gas burning fireplace when it comes to indoor use?

Now that you have a better understanding of all of the problems you are going to face if you want to use a wood burning or gas burning fireplace, it is a good idea to take a look at this list of all of the reasons that electric fireplaces are right for you:

  • Safety – There is no added risk of a house fire that you need to concern yourself with when it comes to electric fireplaces because nothing burns inside of it and there are no flames involved whatsoever.
  • No Emissions – Since nothing is actually burning inside unit, you are completely free from any harmful emissions that would cause you severe health issues like the emissions produced from gas and wood fireplaces.
  • Odor Free – No flame means no smoke. This means you don’t have to deal with smoky odors common with wood fireplaces and you certainly don’t have to worry about smoke staining your walls and furniture.
  • Ease of Use – Electric fireplaces are very easy to use. Turn it on and forget about it. If you prefer it warmer or colder, just change the temperature on the thermostat and let the fireplace handle the rest for you.
  • Easy Installation – Electric fireplaces are easy to install. In many cases, you only need to find the right place for your fireplace, set it down, and plug it into the wall.
  • No Ventilation – Electric fireplaces don’t have any ventilation requirements; you are totally free to install your fireplace within any room of your home. You can even change the room you want your fireplace in at a later date as they are quite easy to move in many cases.
  • Mounting your TV above an electric fireplace – This is not only safe, but it is a wonderful way to save space in your home, especially when you have a smaller room but still want a full-sized fireplace.
  • Heat Efficient – Electric fireplaces are heat efficient is fantastic due to the infrared heating coil used in most electric fireplaces. You also don’t have to worry about heat escaping through chimneys or ventilation pipes.
  • Zone Heating – With a very large home, you are able to set up supplemental zone heating which means you have multiple fireplaces in your home and only turn them on when that zone is being occupied so that you are using much less electricity to keep your large home warm.
  • Remote Control – Most electric fireplaces come with a very useful remote control or smartphone app so that you don’t even have to get up to turn your fireplace on or toggle additional features.
  • Flame Effect – High-end electric fireplaces capture the ambiance of a real fireplace with ultra-realistic flames to the point that many people who come to visit you at your home may never realize it is an electric fireplace in the first place.
Corner unit

What electric fireplace varieties are there to choose from?

Depending on your home layout, the size you have available, and your own personal preferences, there are many electric fireplace types available to you. Here are the common types of electric fireplaces:

  • Electric Mantle Fireplace – For a fireplace that looks the most like a traditional open-hearth fireplace, you would want to get one of these mantel packages for a flat wall. With these, you have the fireplace and a mantel that surrounds it.
  • Fireplace Corner position– These function just as well as your typical flat wall electric fireplace mantel package. The only difference you will find here is that they are made to fit perfectly into the corner of a room rather than being installed up against an open area of your flat wall. These can help save space as well as bring more focus into a corner-oriented room.
  • TV Stand Fireplace – These are TV stands that actually have fireplaces built into the body. The advantage here is that you are saving space because you are combining two different types of furniture within your home. The downside is that sometimes the fireplace inside will not be nearly as good as the ones that are standalone units for the wall or corner.
  • Corner TV Stand Fireplace – These are just the corner version of a TV stand fireplace with the advantages and disadvantages. If you are thinking about one of these, you should really consider getting a normal corner fireplace that isn’t inside of a stand and then putting your TV on top of it.
  • Wall Mount Fireplace – A wall mount unit allows you to hang your fireplace on the wall or even install it into a recessed wall so that your fireplace looks like it is completely embedded. The installation is slightly more involved than other units, but can still often be done without help from a professional.
  • Fireplace Electric Insert – If you have an existing fireplace that burns wood, you may want to use a conversion kit to change it. With these electrical inserts, you can have a conversion kit that turns your wood-burning fireplace into an electric fireplace.
  • Freestanding Heater – These units are really just portable heaters but have some fireplace aesthetic features added to them. You usually want to avoid these as they look very tacky and the heating ability of the unit is subpar compared to the full-size units.
  • Electric Fireplace Stove – These are units that mimic a wood stove that you might find within an old cabin. However, they tend to look very strange and out of place when installed in a standard, modern home.

Is there a high-quality electric fireplace that has flame effects that look like a real wood fire?

MagikFlame electric fireplaces have a lot to offer people who want an electric fireplace that can truly feel like a real one that burns wood. Here is what you have to look forward to when you purchase any MagikFlame model:

  • 3D Holographic Flames – There is a physical log set over a glowing ember bed inside of each MagikFlame fireplace. Upon this log set, MagikFlame fireplaces project ultra-realistic 3D holographic flames that flicker and move like real flames. There are 30 different styles of flames for you to choose from, allowing you the ability to change the fireplace to fit whatever mood that you prefer to go with.
  • Crackling Log Sounds – The impressive visuals that are displayed inside of a MagikFlame electric fireplace are only made better with the realistic crackling and popping log sounds that accompany them. On top of this, you are able to turn on nature sounds whenever you want things to be even more relaxing.
  • 5,200 BTU Heater – The 5,200 BTU infrared quartz heater can keep a home of up to 1,000 square feet completely cozy. For extremely large homes, you can easily warm the home with a zone heating setup using multiple MagikFlame fireplaces, saving even more on your bill by only heating areas when there are people in that zone.
  • Smartphone Control – Controlling your fireplace has never been easier using MagikFlame’s intuitive iOS smartphone app. You can download this app to your smartphone or tablet and control every single aspect of your fireplace from the comfort of your seat.

There is a lot more you can learn about MagikFlame electric fireplaces if you are still wondering if they are right for you:

Compact White Electric Fireplace Mantel & Insert with Sound and Heater
Traditional White Electric Fireplace Mantel & Insert with Sound and Heater
Stand-Alone Electric Fireplace Insert with Sound and Heater
Modern White Electric Fireplace Mantel & Insert with Sound and Heater
European Style White Electric Fireplace Mantel & Insert with Sound and Heater
Corner White Electric Fireplace Mantel & Insert with Sound and Heater
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