Gas, Wood or Pellet Fireplaces

Which is right for me?  

wood stoves Wilmington Delaware

Regency Wood Stove

The answer might depend first on what your objective is in purchasing a new appliance, and second, on which installation options are open to you and your comfort level in regard to costs.

If your objective is to save the absolute most on fuel costs going forward, then wood is best option to explore.  Burning stick fire wood is by far the least expensive annual heating cost here in Delaware. But it is also the fuel that you are most “closely engaged with” as someone once cleverly verbalized.  For my money, spending $200 a cord in the spring for wood cut to size, split and delivered is a great bargain. But you still need to season, stack, store and tote. Plus you must tend the fire and handle the ashes. Keeping the home fires burning might be too time intensive for some families although a ten hour burn time is not uncommon with some new larger E.P.A.  clean-burn wood stoves.

pellet stoves Middletown Delaware

Regency Pellet Stove

If your schedule does not allow for tending a wood stove or you want a more even heat output all day, you might consider a pellet appliance. Pellet fuel is readily available, needs no seasoning and can be stored outside if kept dry (usually comes double bagged in plastic). The heat output of a pellet stove is regulated by the pounds of pellet per hour allowed from the hopper to the burner system. Most pellet stoves have hoppers large enough to provide fuel for 24 hours or more and can utilize a thermostat or room sensor to regulate heat output. Pellet venting systems do not require a traditional chimney and can terminate either on a side wall or above the roofline.

The downside is that pellet appliances require a steady supply of electricity to run their motors, blowers and electronics…which require more service than a simple wood stove. Still, one can realize a lot of savings in operational costs over other fuel options plus the fuel is home-grown and eco-friendly. This technology just keeps on improving.

gas fireplaces Delaware

Mendota Gas Fireplace



Want finger tip control? Instant on-Instant off? No Fuss-No-Mess plus a pleasing flame presentation? With a gas line, the fuel is delivered, hands-off, to the appliance and this may be the very best option for users with limited mobility or for very busy mobile lifestyles not suited to biofuels.

Heater rated gas fired appliances have a lot to offer including fuel costs savings when used for zone heating. Heat the area where you spend most of your time. Stop heating under utilized areas 24-7 and save on heating bills!

Gas stoves, fireplaces and fireplace inserts usually require no hearth or floor protection and can install inches to a wall so they intrude less into a room. Gas venting systems can terminate vertically or horizontally through a side wall. Venting systems for gas appliances are subject to less exhaust heat and are inexpensive to install compared to other heating systems. Vent free gas appliances are NOT intended to be used as heating appliances. Select a vented appliance if you are using it more than a few hours at a time.

Whether, wood, pellet or gas, each above option has codes and safety regulations relating to installations and venting requirements. Be sure to review your alternative heating options with a hearth specialist or other professional and ask for an on-site inspection (ask about fees). Unless you have a newly constructed home with a blueprint plan there are many variables to be considered for most installations. You want to be sure that your selection can be safely installed and will operate as the manufacturer intended. Question “free installations” or fixed quotes from any installer who is not familiar with your home. Ask about the materials to be used. Professionals do not quote costs without first evaluating the situation and explaining any options. Expect no less from your hearth installer.

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