April 7, 2015 admin

Ask Adam – Gas or Wood Fireplace?

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos, Arlington-based real estate broker, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013 & 2014. Please submit your questions via email.

Q. I have an old wood burning fireplace that I use often during the colder months. I have it cleaned annually and it is well maintained. I’m thinking of converting to gas. From a resale point of view, which are more attractive to buyers… gas or wood fireplaces?

A. Based on sample of homebuyers I have worked with, they tend to be fairly evenly divided. Some love the charm of a wood burning fireplace while others want the convenience of a gas fireplace. I’ve asked other agents what their experience has been and they agree that it is about 50/50.

Our house came with a gas fireplace that we never use. On the few occasions that we want the ambiance of a fireplace, I wish it was wood burning. That said, if I were using the fireplace to actually heat my home, I would look for something more efficient than a standard wood fireplace.

It really comes down to personal preference and what you plan to use it for, rather than resale value. If you prefer a gas fireplace, I recommend converting it in a way that can be converted back if the future homeowner wants to go with wood. Other options to consider with a gas fireplace:

  • Self-start ignition so you don’t have worry about lighting the pilot and wasting gas when the fireplace is not in use.
  • Vented or ventless fireplace. One of the home inspectors I work with always harps on how he thinks ventless fireplaces pollute the inside of your home. It is worth researching.
  • Pick a style that fits with your home. For example, you probably don’t want to go ultra modern in an older rambler.
  • Compare the efficiency of different models. Some are really just for ambiance while others are relatively efficient at heating your home.

Please send questions to adam@rlathome.com.  This is also a good place to reach me for any of your home buying and selling needs.

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