While electric heaters are cheaper and easier to install, many homeowners are drifting toward gas and wood-burning heaters to save money on electricity. This is especially true for those who have a cabin or similar mountain property and want to mitigate costs for utilities to. However, the decision between heating with gas or wood still has several factors to influence it. Which is better for the environment? Which is better for your climate or financial needs? Here are just four factors to consider between these two heating methods.
Energy efficiency comparison
It takes more wood to heat a home than gas. While wood takes some time for the fire to spread and create the adequate levels of warmth, gas ignites immediately and provides a consistent level of heat. When getting a wood heater installation, it quickly becomes apparent as well that a lot of heat will be lost through the chimney. Gas also needs to be ventilated, but it loses less heat through a smaller opening. Both sources are still effective at saving energy when using new equipment with cleaner burning technologies. Gas stoves take less work, but using the right size logs and dry wood reduces the smoke output and particles the furnace emits.
Cost of materials
Natural gas is an affordable way to heat a home. However, it isn’t necessarily cheaper than wood. In fact, with the rising and falling of gas costs, the amount it costs to operate often balance out. The real difference in cost will come down to how you use it. If you don’t use gas often, you can buy it when the market is cheap and then store for use over a long time. However, wood costs remain generally the same, and is easily attainable both from local grocery stores and from the land itself (particularly if you have a cabin.)
Indoor air pollution with wood versus gas heat
Even the cleanest wood stoves and fireplaces release 100 times the ash and smoke as gas fireplaces. The good news is the newest advances in wood heaters gets rid of most pollutants. One way to reduce emissions is to put the heater in the middle of the home and away from exterior walls. Heat loss is much faster when the heat source is on the outer part of a structure versus inside. With the right equipment, your indoor air quality can rival gas heat.
Many people are worried about the results of burning wood and how it impacts indoor and outdoor air quality. You may be happy to know the newest wood stoves and fireplaces burn 90 percent better than older models. Still, there still remains the issue that wood releases ash and smoke into the air while gas does not. Despite this, the debate between which is better for the environment is in the air. Why? Because the process of mining natural gas releases a great deal of carbon waste into the air. As a result, it may actually be better for the environment to burn wood rather than natural gas, as long as you use the proper filters. However, the nuances and impacts of both are still being explored.
Should you use gas or wood for heating? The choice depends on how much you use your heater and whether you want it for a primary source of heat. Wood pellets are an affordable alternative to chopping wood, and they burn clean saving time and money. Gas is not as dry a heat as wood, so some people make the choice based on this information. Both have their pros and cons, so it’s important to identify your priorities, your heating needs, and make an educated decision based on how each heater type meets them.