With energy costs going up, you may be wondering if an electric fireplace is a good fit for your family. If you’re thinking of an electric fireplace for your home, you undoubtedly have some questions you’d like answered before you buy. Questions like:
- Are electric fireplaces energy efficient?
- Are electric fireplaces expensive to run?
- Will using an electric fireplace save me money?
- Will an electric fireplace heat my room, basement, or home?
- Can you leave an electric fireplace on all the time?
These excellent questions come up frequently with your WE LOVE FIRE dealer.
Let’s delve into these and other things you should know about electric fireplaces.
ARE ELECTRIC FIREPLACES ENERGY EFFICIENT?
Electric resistance heating is considered 100% energy efficient. By contrast, gas fireplaces are in the mid 70% to low 80% range, and wood-burning equipment is in the low to upper 70% range. All the incoming electric energy used in an electric fireplace is turned into heat. Since there is no venting or chimney needed with an electric fireplace, there is no heat lost through a pipe.
ARE ELECTRIC FIREPLACES EXPENSIVE TO OPERATE?
Although electric heat from a fireplace is 100% efficient, it is worth noting that much of our electricity is supplied from generation sources such as hydro, coal, gas, or oil.
Most of this electricity production turns about 1/3 of the fuel’s energy potential into electricity. Because of the generation and transportation losses in transmission lines, electric heat is often more expensive than heat produced from wood, gas, or oil combustion appliances.
The heating element in an electric fireplace is often 1500 watts. That’s about 7675 BTUs of heat. If operated for 10 hours a day and at 15ȼ/kWh, the cost would be approximately $2.35/day to use an electric fireplace with the heat on.
However, suppose you turn the heat off and only enjoy the light show; in that case, your cost drops to about 7ȼ/day, which is the cost to operate a small motor or LED lights.
WILL USING AN ELECTRIC FIREPLACE SAVE ME MONEY?
Heating your home with an electric fireplace is not realistic. At about 7,675 BTUs, it would take four or five electric fireplaces in your home to equal the heat output from one gas fireplace. Not surprisingly, even more than a larger wood-burning stove or fireplace. Heating a home is all about BTUs. Many modest size homes have forced air furnaces in the range of 75,000 to 120,000 BTUs. How many BTU's/hour do you need to sustain a comfortable temperature vs your heating home loss on any given day?
In comparing the BTU values between different fuel types, remember that:
- 1 kWh of Electricity = 5,118 BTU’s
- 1 Therm of Natural Gas = 100,000 BTU’s
- 1 Gallon of LP Gas = 91,500 BTU’s
- 1 Gallon #2 Fuel Oil = 139,000 BTU’s
- 1 Lb. Wood Pellets = 8,250 BTU’s
WILL MY ELECTRIC FIREPLACE HEAT AN ENTIRE ROOM, HOUSE, BASEMENT, OR GARAGE?
An electric fireplace could reasonably be expected to heat an insulated room up to a couple hundred square feet of space. Think of the heat from an electric fireplace as "supplemental" to your primary heat source.
Many homes have been designed and built to heat with electricity. However, heating with an electric fireplace should complement your primary heat source of gas or oil, not replace it.
Obviously, there are many variables, but with an electric fireplace in a larger room, or even a garage, one could expect to feel the heat within the unit's 6 to 12-foot radius. Again, think of an electric fireplace as supplemental heat . . . . it's just not realistic to think one is going to provide adequate heat for an entire home or basement. If more heat is what you want or need, your WE LOVE FIRE dealer has other worthwhile options for you to consider.
CAN YOU LEAVE AN ELECTRIC FIREPLACE ON ALL THE TIME?
The short answer to this question is: yes, you certainly can! And many people do just that! Much has been said about the spectacular effects of today's electric fireplaces.
The colors, media options, and the inexpensive costs to enjoy the light show are reasons enough to keep your fireplace stay on all the time! Some folks use electric fireplaces as subdued lighting, left on overnight. Many designs the media in an electric fireplace to complement their lifestyle! Some even use the fire and ice effects as a subliminal cooling effect in the summertime!
But one thing is for sure, everyone will have their favorite settings and effects and will find a way to enjoy the fireplace!
We've mentioned earlier that an electric fireplace left on with the lights only will cost only pennies a day to operate. With the heat on, it's a different story. The cost is considerably more per day. But, if you're looking for a unique feeling in your home and something the whole family will enjoy 24/7/365, consider visiting your WE LOVE FIRE expert and see the latest in electric fireplace technology. Prepare to be amazed!