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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 [email protected].  This is also a good place to reach me for any of your home buying and selling needs.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

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