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Electric vs Gas Fireplace: Comparisons and Pros and Cons

electric vs gas fireplace

If you don’t have a traditional fireplace or firebox, an electric or gas fireplace could be a wonderful way to bring the warmth and beauty of real flames into your home, but which is the best option. Both gas and electric models are available in many stylish designs that give you the ambiance you are looking for, but there are enough differences that you need to carefully decide which one is best for you.

In This Post You Will Learn the Following:

  • Which Has a More Beautiful Appearance?
  • How Much Each Option Costs
  • Installation of the Fireplace
  • Energy Efficient Choices
  • Comparing Safety
  • Maintenance of Each
  • Heating Time
  • Protecting the Environment
  • Do Gas or Electric Fireplaces Affect Resale Values
  • Picking the Right Style
  • Magikflame Electric Fireplace Buying Guide
  • Electric vs Gas Fireplace Conclusion

Which Has a More Beautiful Appearance

Fireplace looks are important. When it comes to an electric vs gas fireplace appearance, both are available in a variety of sizes and styles that allow them to easily fit into any home decor design. When trying to decide between the two, gas will have the most realistic flames. This is because gas models create an actual flame that gives off heat.

Electric fireplaces also create heat, but they don’t have an actual flame. Instead, they give you the look of a real flame by projecting an image of a burning log onto a screen. The realism of this image varies from a very artificial appearance to a high quality, realistic image.

The look of the flame depends on the type of mechanics used to create the image. Electric fireplace features include everything from LED lighting and hologram imaging to simple videos of a burning log. The realistic look is enhanced in many models by adding the sound of a crackling fire. Some even offer the ability to wall-mount the unit so that the entire piece seems authentic.

How Much Each Option Costs

Most homeowners want a fireplace for the look of it, but the cost is a very important factor when considering a gas vs electric fireplace. A gas fireplace that is pre-built can range from $900 to $3,000. When budgeting for your new fireplace, you need to add to that cost the price of a gas exhaust pipe for venting. This can add $200 to $500 to the total expense.

Additional installation costs for a gas unit could tack on another $1,500 to $3,000. If you already have gas in your home, hook up to the existing line is only $150 to $300, but if a new line needs to be installed, you are looking at $300 to $800 extra. This puts the total cost between $2,750 to $7,300.

An electric fireplace does not require any plumbing or venting which will save you money. All you need is an electrical outlet. Built-in units cost between $300 and $1,000. If a new outlet is required, it will add $200 to $750 to the cost.

A recessed electric unit will require you to open up the wall which costs $200 to $500 more in installation fees. This brings the cost of an electric fireplace to a grand total of $700 to $2,250.

Installation of the Fireplace

Both gas and electric units are easier to install than a wood-burning fireplace, but gas versions require a line and vent, unless you purchase a ventless gas fireplace. Once the plumbing requirements are met, the fireplace is set in place and hooked up to the vents and gas line.

If natural gas isn’t available in your home, a small propane tank can be used. Keep in mind that it will add to your installation costs. The tank will take up space and require you to make arrangements for hiding it within the fireplace design. Homes that are already heated with gas simply require you to run a line from the existing set-up.

Electric fireplaces are simply plugged in. If you don’t have an existing electrical outlet nearby, an electrician can install one. Then all that is left to do is plug it in.

Electric fireplace inserts are portable. You can move them around the room easily, unless it has a wall mount installation. Wall-mounted units are typically recessed into your wall. This will require the help of a carpenter to move studs in the wall in order to make room without compromising the structure of the house. Once the opening is prepared, the rest of the installation is quick and easy.

Energy-Efficient Options

There is a lot to consider when you try to figure out the energy efficiency of a fireplace. Many features, including the size and model, affect your energy savings when it comes to the electric vs gas fireplace debate.

Gas

Gas units use 7,000 to 16,000 BTUs. Gas fireplaces are 70 to 90% efficient when considering how they convert energy into heat. On average, they cost $60 a year to operate.

Electric

The electric output is based on the electric current an average 120-volt outlet can provide which is roughly around 5,000 BTUs. This can warm an area of around 500 square feet. All energy is converted into heat. The average cost per year to operate an electric fireplace is $25.

Remember that even though an electric unit seems easier to install and cheaper to run, it will not heat your room as well as gas. Energy savings are increased with a gas fireplace by allowing you to turn down the thermostat for your existing heat system and still feel comfortable. You will more than likely need an additional heat source with an electric fireplace.

Heating Time

You will be able to produce heat immediately with many types of fireplaces, but a gas fireplace emits heat that can be felt quicker than with electric fireplace inserts. Many times, it depends on how far away from the fireplace you are and the zone heating you require when discussing electric vs gas fireplace heat.

Protecting the Environment

Gas and vent-free gas fireplaces convert as much as 90% of their energy into heat, which makes them very efficient. That being said, gas is a non-renewable energy source. It can also release emissions into the air. Gas is a clean-burning energy source. It won’t release harmful levels of carbon dioxide, but it will release some carbon monoxide.

Electric fireplaces don’t release any particles into the atmosphere, and they use less energy to operate. The only concern is that producing electricity to power such appliances may produce carbon monoxide too. All of this depends on how your electricity is produced in your area.

Do Gas or Electric Fireplaces Affect Resale Values?

You can increase the value of your home when you install a built-in fireplace. This is true no matter which type of fireplace you choose, but this only applies to built-in models. On the other hand, you can still benefit from a portable electric fireplace that simply plugs in because you can take it with you if you move.

Picking the Right Style

Regardless of which side of the electric vs gas fireplace debate you are on, you want it to add beauty to your home. This is accomplished by choosing the right design, size, and color. Before you begin searching for that perfect fireplace, decide which room you will place it in and exactly where it will be located.

There are many styles to choose from. They range from free-standing models to traditional designs featuring brick and attractive mantels. Modern designs offer simple lines while traditional styles are the most popular. Minimalistic designs place function before beauty, and cozy styles are small and compact.

The size of the fireplace needs to suit the size of the room. Most interior decorators use a ratio of 1.2 of the wall to the fireplace. Once you determine a size, choose a color that blends with the existing decor. Wood mantels should reflect the trim in a room.

which is better gas or electric fireplace

Magikflame Electric Fireplace Buying Guide

A Magikflame electric fireplace offers one of the most realistic appearances with patented state-of-the-art holographic projection technology. This provides you with the most realistic visuals which includes 30 ultra-realistic flames. Learn how MagikFlame is built

Your experience is further enhanced by crackling log sounds and a built-in 5,200 BTU heater. As if that weren’t enough, a scent module can be added to the unit for the scent of fresh-cut pine. The Magikflame story begins with a quality fireplace built by hand in the USA, and it continues with free technology updates for the life of your fireplace.

What is a Magikflame Fireplace?

An electric fireplace is a cost-effective piece that plugs into any outlet and can be slid into a mantle surround. Electric is a safe alternative to the traditional wood-burning fireplace, and it won’t require routine maintenance or pose some serious safety concerns or create a fire hazard the way an actual flame would.

They are perfect for remodels, new homes, or any place where you want the cozy feel of a real fire. You won’t need expensive permits to use it or have to worry about annual inspections. There are also no headaches over cutting wood or maintaining a gas line, and Magikflame allows you to use your smartphone as a remote control.

Do You Need a Chimney?

You won’t need a chimney or a flue with a Magikflame fireplace. There is no actual flame, so there is no smoke that will need to be vented. This improves the air quality in your home when compared to a log burning fire, and it keeps installation and maintenance costs low. This is an ideal option for those with asthma or allergies looking for a beautiful form of a space heater.

Is the Flame Realistic?

The flames are not real, but they do look like they are. State-of-the-art holographic technology allows Magikflame to simulate flames that are detailed and lifelike. You are ensured the look of an authentic wood fire without the hassle.

Are Electric Fireplaces Tasteless?

Low-quality electric fireplaces use outdated technology to create flames that are nothing more than a flashy light show. These can be tacky and unattractive. This cheapens the look of your entire room. High-end firebox designs, on the other hand, are so realistic that they actually elevate the appearance of your home. Magikflame delivers a flame image that is almost identical to the real thing.

Electric vs Gas Fireplace Conclusion

Electric Fireplaces

Pros

There are many pros when it comes to an electric fireplace. They are inexpensive, but you don’t sacrifice quality. Fast and easy to install, they are cheaper to run and low-maintenance. There is little safety risk to you or your family, and they can actually increase the value of your home.

Cons

You won’t get real flames with an electric fireplace. Some models will have a low heat output. A less environmentally friendly option, it can take longer to feel the heat it produces. You also won’t have any heat from it during a power outage.

Gas

Pros

A gas fireplace produces actual flames that heat a room quickly. They can reduce the need for your furnace, and they are environmentally friendly. You won’t have a lot of regular maintenance, other than checking the venting annually, and they can increase the value of your home.

Cons

A gas unit will cost more to run, and the initial cost and installation can be pricey. The glass doors are hot enough to burn you, and there is a potential for gas leaks as there is with all gas appliances. 

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