Now is a good time to look around your home and prepare for cooler days ahead. One thing that can add warmth and comfort to cold weather living is a fireplace. In recent years, many homeowners have been switching to gas fireplaces.
“People haven’t been burning wood as much because it’s a lot of work,” says Kevin Obee, Benson Stone Co., 1100 11th St., Rockford. “When I get home at night, I’m tired. The last thing I want to do is get wood and tend to it when I can get the same effect in a gas fire.”
Another reason for the switch is the introduction of the direct-vent gas fireplace.
“That completely changed the way the fireplace industry went,” Obee says. “Open-faced, wood burning fireplaces can now be converted into a sealed gas direct-vent fireplace.”
These are far more energy efficient because furnace-heated air is not swept up the chimney.
Obee also finds that using a gas fireplace is less stressful. Unlike wood fires, gas fires turn on and off with the flip of a switch or remote control. Depending on the model, options like flame intensity, heat output and electric ambiance lighting also can be adjusted by remote control.
“People have come in here and told me they haven’t used their fireplace in five years because they don’t have the time to babysit a wood burning fireplace and you have to clean it out,” Obee says. “To burn a wood fire, you need four or five hours at the fireplace to enjoy and maintain the fire.”
Gas fireplaces aren’t for everyone, however.
“We still have people who love wood fires best,” Obee says. “They love the beauty of the flames and the scent of burning wood.”
No matter your preference, Benson Stone can accommodate your fireplace needs. “We have pretty much anything you’d want that’s related to the fireplace industry. ❚