Situation dependent. If there’s a clear chimney/flue and you’ve got plenty of firewood, real fireplace. If you’re in a basement, bedroom, trailer, boat, etc., electric fireplace. Some of those are quite nice!
@Ldfzm I partially disagree. While it isn’t as great as the heat from burning wood, the flame is real unlike with electric. I would take my gas insert over electric any time… and when factoring in the work of cutting/splitting wood and cleaning up the mess, I would still choose the gas insert.
neither i guess? i run too hot to enjoy anything that gives off a lot of heat in a room, and do not find real flames relaxing at all. i have seen some electric inserts in rich people house tours on youtube that look kind of cool, but in an alternate reality where i can afford to buy such a home, it would hardly be a requirement for me.
@bocoroth That’s cool. I’ve never heard of these types of sterno fireplaces but a quick search seems to show they allow for many different style options. Do they give off any real amount of heat? Either way, I find it relaxing to look at real flames.
Real has its romance, for sure, but it’s not a very clean fuel source in the immediate (releases a fair amount of smoke into the room and up the chimney, into the atmosphere). Natural gas and electric may have issues further up the chain that aren’t clean, acquisition-wise, but at least they don’t increase the AQI in my home as much. Gas is superior to electric, though. It looks closer to wood than electric to me.
Electric/gas fireplaces can look pretty and provide heat, but real fireplaces are so much more than that: The sound and the smell and the fire dancing over the ever-changing burning logs… It’s almost not even worth having a fireplace if it’s not a real wood-burning one.
Real fireplace in the main floor living room and wood burning stove in the basement family room. The fireplace only gets used once a year at Christmas, but the wood stove gets used regularly in the winter. (To be fair, the TV is also in the family room where the wood stove is, so that may have some influence.)
Fake logs! Well, not fake but the ones made up of primarily sawdust and wax are the way to go. Our old house had a wood burning fireplace and that was all we ever used. They are much better for the environment, you and your health, and you don’t have to worry about creosote buildup the same way as you do with wood. They also give off enough heat to bump up the temp a few degrees. If you do go this route, try a bunch of different brands, as they all tend to burn a little differently.
Growing up we had the neatest fake fireplace. It had a big faux stone mantle (fiberglass I think) a fake log that had something like a color wheel behind it to produce the flicker effect. That’s where we hung our stockings as kids and where my parents displayed our school portraits.
I seem to remember mom got it by saving the coupons that you got with your pictures when they came back from being devolved. It shipped REA Express so they had to pick up at the train station. The first one showed up broken.
That whole last paragraph made no sense to anyone any younger than I am. I might as well be talking about buggy whips and asbestos pajamas.