Should My Custom Vancouver Home Have an Electric or Gas Fireplace?

If you’re seriously considering a custom-built Vancouver home, you’ll eventually need to decide if you want a fireplace, and if you do, whether you prefer an electric or gas fireplace. 

In this article, I’ll briefly skim over some of the considerations you’ll have when it comes to electric or gas fireplaces in Vancouver.

If you’re playing “dreaming and scheming games” — thinking about what building a custom Vancouver home could look like — you probably have an opinion about electric or gas fireplaces.⠀⁠⠀

How Important is an Electric or Gas Fireplace?

While many people like having an electric or gas fireplace in their custom-built Vancouver homes, it’s important to note that a fireplace isn’t what one would call necessary.

The city of Vancouver has a series of energy efficiency standards that apply to all new home construction projects in Vancouver. When construction projects meet (or even surpass) these requirements, homes are easy to heat (and tend to stay warm even on the most brutally cold winter nights). 

For example, when we built Burnaby Castle, we exceeded step 3 of the energy step code requirements, which made a fireplace decision purely one of aesthetics. We still chose to include a fireplace, but it wasn’t necessary.

If Electric or Gas Fireplaces Aren’t Needed, Then Why Do So Many Vancouver Custom Homes Have Them?

Even though electric or gas fireplaces aren’t technically needed, they are commonly included in custom homebuilding projects in Vancouver and other parts of Canada. The reason might surprise you. 

Since the first person rubbed two sticks together and gleefully jumped up and down, relishing their ability to control fire in such a primitive way, people have enjoyed staring into flames. 

If you’re playing “dreaming and scheming games” — thinking about what building a custom Vancouver home could look like — you probably have an opinion about electric or gas fireplaces. Since you’re still reading, you want to see a brief overview of both electric and gas fireplaces. 

Pros and Cons of Electric Fireplaces in Vancouver

Some of the pros of electric fireplaces include:

  • Endless design options, including futuristic looks (kind of space-age if you desire)
  • Because electric fireplaces can often be installed flush with the wall, better utilization of cozier rooms
  • Won’t heat up your house like gas fireplaces (assuming it is properly configured)

No fireplace is without its drawbacks, including the cons of electric fireplaces:

  • Electric fireplaces often have futuristic looks, which can be a good or a bad thing (depending on your perspective). This means they don’t automatically come with realistic looking fire.
  • If you want your electric fireplace to have a rustic, real fire look, you will have to invest in a higher priced electric fireplace.

If you do this, you will wind up spending more than you would for a natural gas fireplace.

Pros and Cons of Gas Fireplaces in Vancouver

Some of the pros of gas fireplaces include:

  • In nearly every case I can think of, there really are no good reasons to consider a gas fireplace with the energy efficiency standards in place
  • Unless, of course, you envision yourself sitting around the fireplace on cold winter evening, drinking hot tea and looking at the flames, or,
  • You have serious circulatory issues and are always chilled to the bone

To be fair and balanced, gas fireplaces come with some drawbacks:

  • Not only are gas fireplaces generally more expensive than their electric counterparts, gas fireplaces also throw off significant heat. If your home has high ceilings, the heat will rise to the top and will dramatically warm up upper level rooms.
  • Cannot be installed flush with the wall, so smaller rooms will seem even smaller with the presence of a gas fireplace.
  • Gas fireplaces need vent pipes about the fireplace, which makes TV placement more challenging.

As you can see, both electric and gas fireplaces have positive qualities and drawbacks. This is true of anything. 

The purpose of this article is to give you a quick, easy overview of both types of fireplaces. If you want to see a more detailed breakdown, you can learn much more about electric fireplaces (and estimated costs) and gas fireplaces (of course, with estimated costs).

A Final Thought

The thoughts above are just a few of the details that go into planning custom Vancouver homes that are built to last. There are many pieces of the custom home building puzzle – budgeting, design, planning, building, and many others – that can help you make your Vancouver custom home a reality for you and your family.

When you’re ready to begin a conversation about how Larch Custom Home Construction can be a valuable resource in building your custom Vancouver home, you can reach out to us to get started.

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