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Fireplaces have been a staple in homes for centuries. They provide warmth, comfort, and a cozy atmosphere that is impossible to replicate with any other heating source. However, with so many different types of fireplaces available, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for your new custom home. In this article, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of three popular fireplace options: wood-burning fireplaces, electric fireplaces, and direct vent gas fireplaces.

Wood-Burning Fireplaces $$-$$$$

Wood-burning fireplaces are the traditional option. They offer the crackling sounds and the scent of burning wood that many people associate with a cozy winter night. However, wood-burning fireplaces require a lot of work to maintain. The wood must be chopped, seasoned, stored, and kept dry, and the fireplace must be cleaned regularly to remove ashes and creosote buildup. They require a chimney which is another roof penetration and possible source for roof leaks. The chimney must also be cleaned regularly for it to function properly. Wood-burning fireplaces can also be a fire hazard if not properly maintained. You must be aware of combustible/non-combustible material requirements.

Not to mention, tighter building envelope requirements have made wood-burning fireplaces less popular in new construction due to energy loss and backdrafting concerns.


  • The traditional look and feel of a wood-burning fireplace
  • The crackling sounds and scent of burning wood
  • Can be used during power outages


  • Requires a lot of work to maintain
  • Can be a fire hazard if not properly maintained
  • Some types of wood burning fireplaces can require additional structural support

Direct Vent Gas Fireplaces $$-$$$$

Direct vent gas fireplaces are a popular choice for those who want a low maintenance and efficient heating option. They produce heat quickly and can be turned on and off with a switch. Direct vent gas fireplaces are also energy efficient and do not require a chimney. They come in many different styles and price points and are very popular options for custom homes.


  • Efficient heating option
  • Can be turned on and off with a switch
  • Energy efficient and do not require a chimney
  • Many different sizes and styles available


  • Require a gas source
  • Can be complex to install
  • Some people do not like the glass face

Electric Fireplaces $-$$

Electric fireplaces are a popular option for those who want a modern look and feel without the expense and maintenance. They come in many different sizes, are easy to install, and can be used in any room of the house. Electric fireplaces are also energy efficient and require no venting. Most electric fireplaces will produce heat but not as much as a traditional wood-burning or gas fireplace.


  • Great price point
  • Easy to install and use
  • Many sizes and feature to choose from
  • Can be used in any room of the house
  • Can be used all year round
  • Energy efficient and require no venting


  • Do not produce as much heat as a wood or gas fireplaces
  • Flames can sometimes look fake
  • May not provide the same ambiance as a traditional fireplace

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