Choosing Fuel for your Stove/Fire – Wood or Gas?

First of all, you need to check whether your property will restrict you in terms of the fuel you can use.

Existing Chimney/Flue

  • If you have a conventional brick chimney, you can choose between a wood or gas stove to sit in your fireplace opening – the difference in the installation will be the type of flue liner and terminating cowl.
  • A pre-fabricated flue, which is an interlocking metal flue system, is identifiable by a metal flue and terminal on the roof and a metal flue box behind the fire. This type of flue is only suitable for gas appliances. The property will tend to have a flat wall rather than a fireplace opening, and therefore will be more suitable for a shallow, inset type gas appliance.
  • New houses with no chimney may have been built with a pre-cast flue, identifiable by a ridge vent or metal terminal on the roof. This type of flue is built from concrete or clay blocks in a cavity wall. This type of flue is only suitable for gas appliances.  Again the property will tend to have a flat wall and will be more suitable for a shallow, inset type gas appliance.

No Chimney

  • It is possible to have a wood or gas appliance where no chimney exists.
  • Wood appliance – can be installed with a twin wall flue system, which can run through the inside of the property to exit at the roof or can exit the stove through the wall and run up the exterior of the property.
  • Gas appliance – can be installed with a balanced flue, which is a horizontal pipe that vents directly outside, therefore the appliance has to be installed on an outside wall. Not all gas appliances are suitable for balanced flue installations.

Gas Supply

  • If you do not have an existing natural gas supply, you can fit a number of gas appliances using LPG (liquid propane gas). Again the appliance must be installed on an outside wall, as you will require gas bottles to be fitted on the outside of the property.
  • If you want to fit a woodburning appliance instead, an existing gas supply can be safely capped off by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

If you are lucky enough to have the option of choosing between wood and gas, here are some points to consider, which may help you in your decision.

Other Points to Consider

  • Gas appliances are more restrictive in terms of heat output, so if you have a particularly large, open plan space to heat or want to rely on it as your main source of heat, gas may not be for you.
  • Gas appliances require less attention as you do not have to keep re-fuelling the fire every few hours as with a wood appliance. Many gas appliances are also available with a remote control for ease of use.
  • Although the flame effects on gas appliances are generally very realistic, for some there is nothing like the look and feel of a real log fire.
  • A woodburning appliance is more environmentally friendly than gas.
  • Both types of appliance will require ongoing maintenance in terms of replacement parts and annual servicing.
  • The cost of using gas versus purchasing logs.