Heating Efficiency Put to the Test: Wood, Electric, and Gas Fireplaces

So you’re trying to figure out which is the cheapest way to heat your home. You may have heard mixed reviews but the truth is very clear. Wood stoves contain a certain natural ambiance that is hard to replicate but at what cost? Gas and electric units have been seen as alternative heating solutions by many experts. Save your hard earned money by taking the time to educate yourself.

Jonathan Scott of HGTV’s Property Brothers voiced his opinion on this matter stating, “Open-faced, traditional wood-burning fireplaces are very inefficient.” His brother Drew confirmed this saying, “On the Realtor side, when I’m talking renovation for clients, I tell them to go away from wood burning.” Let’s compare the heating costs of wood, gas, and electric fireplaces to help you make a smart decision!

Comparing Heating Costs of Wood, Gas, and Electric Fireplaces

Wood Fireplace Heating Costs

Wood fireplaces are the least efficient on the list and here’s why. They emit large amounts of smoke which necessitates a flue to vent exhaust fumes. As hot air rises, much of the heat produced by the flames are lost through your flue and chimney. This is why wood stoves lose nearly 70% of their heat. A few logs of wood will burn for about 5 hours at $4 a piece if you buy them from Walmart. This equates to a heating cost of 80 cents per hour.

Although the natural allure of a wood fire is irreplaceable, high levels of emissions have concerned the EPA which plans to pass stricter guidelines on wood burning stoves in the next few years. Wood is nice but it will reflect negatively on your monthly utility bill and can have adverse effects on those living with respiratory conditions like asthma and chronic bronchitis.

Gas Fireplace Utility Costs

Gas fireplaces burn a gallon of propane every 4 hours. With propane averaging $3.20 per gallon across the nation, it would cost $576 to keep a gas fireplace running for a month straight. Gas fireplaces are more efficient than wood stoves but these results may vary depending on the prices of natural gas in your area.

Although these units are much cleaner than wood fireplaces, they do have a downside. The pilot light must remain on, resulting in an extra $10-$20 per month on your utility bill year-round. You can still enjoy real flames with gel fireplaces that use an alcohol based fluid. Gel Fireplace inserts elicit the same crackling blaze that wood stoves do but they are much more environmentally friendly and they’re easy on the wallet.

Electric Fireplace Heating Efficiency

According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, electric fireplace inserts reduce heating bills by 20-40 percent. These ecofriendly heaters cost 7 cents per hour while using the heat and flame effect and just 3 cents per hour without turning on the flame (used for aesthetic appeal).

Electric space heaters boast 100% Energy Efficiency. This measurement is calculated by multiplying the amount of heat produced by 1 unit of electricity. Electric fireplaces produce 1 unit of heat for every unit of electricity.

Electric Fireplace

What Type of Fireplace is the Least Expensive?

All factors taken into account, electric fireplaces are the clear winner. These eco-friendly heaters trump the consumption rates of gas and wood stoves. Gas and wood stoves cost 10 times more to operate on a monthly basis.

Portable Fireplace.com is an online provider of indoor and outdoor patio heaters. Have questions? Contact us on the web or give us a ring to speak with our knowledgeable staff!

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