Fire Place Inserts: Wood, Pellet, or Gas?

As I mentioned in this post, we had a few pangs of eco-guilt about using our wood fireplace.  Wood not only emits more pollutants into the air than other fuels, it doesn’t even do a good job of keeping our house warm during the cold winter months.  We started looking into a fireplace insert that would allow us to sit by a greener, cleaner fire.

First we looked into a gas fire insert.  We already have a gas line to our house, so we thought this might be the way to go.  Natural gas is the cleanest burning fuel out there.  However, we were not big fans of the fake-looking logs or coals that come with gas fires.

A Greener, Cleaner Wood Fire?

When our new house came with a wood-burning fireplace, I envisioned us cozying up in front of the fire reading books to our delightful young daughter.  Of course, in the back of my mind I knew that wood fires cause more air pollution than other types of fuel.  They also lower the air quality in the house, which can be a concern when you have a new baby or anyone in the family with asthma or other breathing troubles.
wood burning fire place

Another environmental downfall of wood fires is that they don’t heat your house; in fact, lighting a fire will result in a net heat loss in your home.  So does that mean we can never light a wood fire in good conscience?  Well, there are a few ways to enjoy an eco-friendlier fire: