Natural Gas vs Wood Burning Fireplace

It’s the holiday season and there’s nothing that conjures up images of the holiday cheer and family bonding quite like a crackling fireplace. Nowadays, however, there are a lot of choices when it comes to what type of fireplace you can install in your home. If you’re wondering if a natural gas fireplace is a much better choice than a wood burning one, we break the maintenance, cost, and safety concerns between natural gas and wood burning fireplaces.

Maintenance and Cleaning Considerations

Natural gas fireplaces are much easier to clean and take care of than wood burning fireplaces. With a gas fireplace, you bypass the need to buy or gather logs, or store them for the winter season. There is also less mess associated with natural gas fireplaces. Wood fireplaces necessitate ash cleanup, coal-raking, and there is no soot or creosote issues to look after.


Creosote and soot cleanup are by and large the largest maintenance consideration for wood burning fireplaces. It’s recommended that wood fireplaces be cleaned once a year to be sure all the systems of your wood burning fireplace is in order. While yearly inspections are necessary for both gas and woodburning fireplaces, special attention and cleaning must be paid to wood fireplaces to prevent the buildup of creosote, an extremely flammable substance that can also reduce the draw of the fireplace and reduce its efficiency.


Cleaning a natural gas chimney is much easier and cheaper as there is no soot or creosote to scrub off. You do, however, need to be mindful of bird nests or other debris that may have gotten stuck on your gas vents. Make sure to clear leaves and other debris from the vents to make sure smoke has a clear path out of your home. Because gas fireplaces do not depend on a chimney, you can feasibly install one in any part of your home if it can vent out.

Cost to Run

The cost of installation, labor, and materials also make wood burning fireplaces a more expensive venture than natural gas fireplaces. Having a brick wood burning fireplace in your home can range from $5,500 to $11,000 for labor and materials without installation costs. Installation can add a cost of $2,500 to $10,000 depending on where the chimney is placed. The total costs for wood burning fireplaces can range between 8,500 to $22,000.

On the other hand, a pre-built natural gas fireplace is a fraction of a price ranging from $1,500 to $3,000 for materials and fireplace. Installing the exhaust pipe can add between $500 to $1,000 dollars to your costs. The cost of installing a gas line hookup exist between $150 and $300. If a new gas line needs to be installed, that would push your cost up to $300 to $800. Overall, the cost of installation and labor for gas fireplaces will be around $3,650 to $7,800, a fraction of the cost of wood fireplaces.

Natural gas also is an inexpensive form of energy making gas fireplaces more cost effective to run. Gas fireplaces cost around $60 annually to run while wood burning fireplaces cost $190 dollars per year.

Safety Concerns

The most important safety concern for wood fireplaces is the build up of soot and creosote. Creosote is a tar like highly flammable substance that can cause chimney fires. Chimney fires can damage your chimney and mantel leading to expensive repairs, but it can also turn into a destructive house fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, the leading factor in home heating fires (30%) have been as a result of failure to clean. Wood burning chimneys need regular and through cleaning to help make running it safe.

Gas fireplaces, however, are turned on with a flick of a switch and do not leave behind and soot or ash that need to be cleaned out or would cause any house fires. In addition, gas fireplace ventilation is more advanced and can vent safely through horizontal ventilation flues. Wood burning fireplaces only vent vertically. Natural gas fireplaces provide far fewer safety risks than wood burning fireplaces and is a much safer choice for families this holiday season.

There is nothing quite like a crackling fire with the people you love. If you need natural gas services for your home, contact any of our skilled professionals for a gas service quote. Take advantage of our rewards program for more savings today!

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