The Pros & Cons Of Gas-Fired Appliances & The Facts On Natural Gas Vs. Propane (LP)

While many of us have been burning wood for many years, gas-fired hearth appliances have become more and more popular. You may be wondering if switching to gas is the right call for you. There are plenty of things to consider, but we’ve put together this page as a resource for you. We’ll go through the pros, the cons, and the basics on buying LP gas and natural gas.

The Pros

gas fireplace from Fireplace XtrordinairHere are some great reasons to choose a gas stove or fireplace:

  • No mess — With a gas stove or fireplace, there’s no mess; no wood to buy, season, and stack; no ashes to shovel; and no dribbles across the floor.
  • Convenience — Forget about putting in work just to relax. Turn heat on or off with a remote or thermostat and turn the flame up or down in an instant to achieve just the right ambiance and comfort level for your space.
  • Heat & look — Modern gas appliances provide a real wood fire look and put out the same kind of feel-good-in-your-bones heat that a wood fire does.
  • Efficiency — Direct vent gas hearth appliances are highly efficient in terms of fuel consumption and air exchange in the home. They don’t use air from inside the home, so there’s no competition with other appliances for combustion air.
  • Anytime heat — Gas stoves and fireplaces work during power outages and, with the exception of the blower, they don’t rely on electricity. When you need heat the most — you’ve got it.

The Cons

a gas stove from LopiWhy wouldn’t you want a gas appliance? Here are a few things to consider before you buy:

  • The fracking, mining, refining, and transportation of natural gas and the refining, etc. of LP gas make them among the most heavily polluting fuels available. They are clean on your end, as the end user, but getting the fuel to you is environmentally harsh.
  • You are reliant on the gas supplier and beholden to their gas bill.
  • With gas, it’s gas alone. You’ve no other fuel options. You’re limited to only burning gas, while with a wood appliance, you can burn wood, rolled newspapers, and other biomass.

Buying Gas For Your Gas Fireplace Or Stove — What You Need To Know

Natural Gas

The benefit of choosing natural gas is that the gas is piped directly to your appliance and you’ve no need for a tank somewhere on your property. Natural gas is piped to you from PGE or your gas provider, and is priced by the therm, which is 100,000 BTUs. Your bill from the gas company will show how many therms you used and the cost per therm. If your gas fireplace is rated at 33,000 BTU, you can expect about 3 hours of burn time per therm, and can use this information to calculate the gas cost per day or month.

Propane (LP) Gas

Propane is delivered from one of many privately-owned propane companies by truck, and is pumped into a tank in your yard. LP gas is sold by the gallon, and in general, it’s the most expensive of the fuels. Household propane tanks can hold anywhere from 200 gallons to over 1,000 gallons, although usually most don’t hold more than 500. One gallon is about 93,000 BTUs.

If you choose propane for your fireplace or stove, an LP company will come every month to top off your tank. The downside of this is that in the winter, when you use the most gas, you pay a higher price for that gas and you have to buy more than usual. Tanks can only be filled 80% full to allow for pressure release, and start losing usable pressure below about 30% in cold weather. So, nearly 50% of the tank is not used, but you’re still paying for it.

What’s the solution? You can save a ton of money by getting either one tank or several tanks that hold enough propane gas to get you through an entire year — from July to July. In July, depending on the year, LP prices may be $1.80 to $2.00 per gallon, while prices rise to over $3.00 per gallon in the winter. Not all propane companies will work with you on this, so you need to find one who will.

But remember, if you’re not having your LP tank topped off monthly, it becomes your responsibility to check your tank and order gas before you run out. If you call in February because you forgot to get gas, you may have to wait a month to be fit into the service schedule or pay a premium for emergency service. You will also have to pay to fill the entire tank at once, instead of parceling it out over 12 months — so that’s something you’ll need to consider when budgeting and deciding what to do.

Stop In The House Of Fire To Experience Our Gas Fireplaces Firsthand

Is gas the winning fuel for you? Stop on in at White Glove’s House of Fire at 3128 Thorntree Dr. in Chico. We have a large selection of gas burning fireplaces and stoves built by brands like Fireplace Xtrordinaire, Lopi, DaVinci, and Tempest Torch. See how the flames look, feel the heat, and fall in love. We’ll help you choose a fireplace or stove to perfectly match your needs. If you have any questions about the House of Fire, please give us a call. We’re happy to help.