Why Electric Fireplaces & Inserts Shouldn’t Be Overlooked as Home Heating Options
What’s more energy-efficient – a gas or electric fireplace? Electric fireplaces may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of energy-efficient home heating. After all, electric baseboard heating is one of the most expensive home heating options during our deep freezes in winter.
But when it comes to zone heating with fireplaces, electric fireplaces and inserts are an excellent option. They produce heat quickly, and this heat stays in the room. So if you are enjoying time by the fireplace, you can turn your heating down for the rest of your home.
When shopping for home heating options for the winter, consider the advantages of heating your rooms with electric fireplaces and electric fireplace inserts.
Busting the Fireplace Efficiency Myth
Myth: Gas is the Most Efficient Fireplace Option
Truth: Gas furnaces are a more efficient home heating source than electric baseboard heating. But gas furnaces are also more efficient than gas fireplaces. Gas fireplaces lose heat through their vents or chimneys, making these a less efficient fireplace option.
Electric Fireplace Efficiency
Electric fireplaces convert electricity directly into heat, giving electric fireplaces a 99% efficiency rate. And since these fireplaces don’t use chimneys or vents, all the heat stays in the home, instead of being lost outside through the venting.
Electric fireplaces also heat a room quickly, making them ideal for zone heating. But since they cannot heat a whole house effectively, they are best used as a supplemental heating source to heat the rooms you’re using.
Electric fireplaces can effectively heat about 400-square feet. And when the ideal temperature has been reached in a room, the heater will turn off while leaving the flames on. So you can still enjoy the look and heat of a fireplace without wasting energy.
Electric Vs. Gas Vs. Wood: How Do They Compare?
Electric fireplaces may not have the same heat output or real flames of gas and wood-burning fireplaces, but they do have plenty of other advantages. Here’s a quick comparison of electric, gas, and wood-burning fireplaces to see some of these advantages.
Electric fireplaces heat rooms much faster and more consistently than wood fireplaces. And LED fireplaces use much less energy with their LED light bulbs.
Due to the control over temperatures, electric fireplaces are ideal for zone heating—heating a room or area in a home, allowing you to turn down your heat elsewhere in the home. This means saving more on your total home heating costs instead of wasting energy to heat rooms you’re not using.
Electric fireplaces don’t have vents, so no heat from the fireplace or indoor air is lost through vents or chimneys, nor will cold drafts come in through vents.
Since electric fireplaces don’t burn fuel, they do not emit combustion emissions, like smoke, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. Reduced emissions benefit both the environment and the indoor air quality of homes.
Unlike wood-burning fireplaces, you don’t need to stock up on firewood and build fires with electric fireplaces. You can turn on your fireplace from the comfort of your couch with a remote control.
There is no ash or soot to clean up after every use. You also don’t need to hire a chimney sweep for an annual inspection and cleaning. Gas fireplaces also require annual service checks to ensure they’re working properly.
And since electric fireplaces don’t burn or use combustible fuel, they don’t corrode or wear out as quickly as other fireplaces.
Electric fireplaces are typically the least expensive and least complex fireplace option in terms of installation, fuel, and maintenance costs. They just need an electrical outlet to plug into.
For a wall-mount fireplace, you just need to hang it on the wall. Or you can place it on the floor if it is a standalone unit or a furniture unit (such as an entertainment stand). And if you have an existing fireplace, you can install an electric fireplace insert in the opening.
Wood-burning fireplaces are the most complex fireplaces to install since they require a hearth and chimney. And gas fireplaces require a gas line hook-up and a vent installation.
You can use an electric fireplace in any room in your home and in any type of home. Since you don’t need to install a vent or chimney, you can enjoy an electric fireplace in condos, apartments, dorm rooms, and RVs. And you can bring your electric fireplace with you when you move.
Many electric fireplaces come with an automatic shut-off timer. This can give you peace of mind knowing that your fireplace will shut off after a specified period of time.
And since electric fireplaces have cool surfaces, you don’t have to worry about burns from touching the fireplace, especially if pets and children are nearby.
There are so many styles of electric fireplaces to choose from, you can easily find one to suit your home décor. You can choose between traditional, contemporary, or modern designs, and wall-mounted, corner, and compact models. These fireplaces also have a variety of functions and flame settings.
What to Look for In Fireplace Efficiency
To find the most energy-efficient electric fireplaces, look for those with:
- Timers—so you can control how long the heat stays on;
- LED light bulbs—these are more energy-efficient than other types of lights;
- Adequate size—make sure the fireplace is the appropriate size for the room. You don’t want it to be too big and overheat the room, nor do you want it to be too small and work harder to heat the room.
Lastly, to ensure you don’t lose any heat from your fireplace, make sure your home is well insulated for the winter. This includes adding insulation to your attic, cleaning your ducts, servicing your furnace, adding caulking and weatherstripping to windows and doors, and sealing any other cracks where cold air can leak in.
Other Electric Fireplace Benefits
Electric fireplaces can be enjoyed year-round, turning the heat function on only when you need to. For the warmer part of the year, you can turn on the flames without the heat and still enjoy the relaxing ambiance of a fireplace.
No matter how you chose to heat your home this winter, don’t overlook the advantages of electric fireplaces. These work as an easy, cost-effective, and low-maintenance option for supplemental heating in your home. Plus they have the look of a real fireplace so you can cozy up and enjoy your fireplace all winter long.