We hpoe you enjoy our article on electric fireplace efficiency and cost of operation. Electric fireplaces are becoming more and more popular because of a number of advantages over more traditional fireplaces. One big area in which they excel is in energy efficiency.
Spoiler Alert: Electric fireplaces are about 99% efficient, beating out all other fireplaces’ efficiency ratings.
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Electric Fireplace Efficiency
The electric heat component converts electricity directly to heat at an efficiency rate of about 99%, (it would take a physicist to explain the missing 1%). Since there is no need for a chimney flue or venting, the heat is all expelled in the room with no heat loss outside. They are instantaneous in their heat production, flip a switch and heat is produced instantly.
Efficient Doesn’t Mean Great Heat for Your Whole House
Just because electric fireplace heaters are extremely efficient does not mean they are the ultimate heating solution for your home. With very few exceptions, they should be thought of as supplemental heat sources, not as your homes’ primary heat source. They are not designed to be the primary heat source workhorse in your home.
Electric fireplaces can, however, do their part in preventing you from having to dress in layers and walk around all bundled up because you can’t afford to keep the central heat at a comfortable level.
Electric Fireplaces Can Be Great Zone Heaters
What is zone heating? The simplest and clearest definition is “Putting heat where you need and want it”. Electric fireplaces can do that. Turn your central heating thermostat down and use supplemental heat sources in rooms you frequent most.
The United States energy information administration estimates that approximately 45% of the average household’s energy cost is spent on heat. Running your furnace costs a lot of money. It’s estimated that for each degree you can lower your thermostat you’ll save 1% of your energy bill.
It doesn’t make sense to heat rooms you are not using. Central heating is designed to heat your whole home. If you are just using a couple of rooms you are wasting a lot of energy and money by keeping the entire house warm.
Electric fireplaces and portable fireplaces allow you put the heat where you actually need it. Flip on the electric fireplace and boost the warmth in a particular area up a few degrees saving money on your overall heating bill. An example of a portable electric fireplace is the Regal 22”.
Check the Efficiency of Your Home
It’s a little bit crazy spending a lot of money heating your home if the warm air is escaping through windows, doors, and cracks. To really simple ways to boost your home’s energy efficiency are caulking and weather stripping. These are really simple to do it yourself home repairs.
While it is on your mind, it might be a great idea to have your local energy company come out and do a free home audit. In almost all areas, your electric company will provide a free inspection of your home. They will check things such as your level of insulation in attics and crawl spaces, filter replacement, and even do a duct work audit.
So, now that you have made sure your house is energy efficient with no leaks in good airflow, you are ready to take a look at how to best strategically use your electric fireplace.
Electric Fireplace Cost of Operation
Electric fireplaces can run in one of two modes, with heat or without heat. The cost of operation is significantly different for each mode. The good news is that even when you are running the unit with both the flame effect and heat, it is relatively inexpensive to run.
Spoiler Alert: Running an electric fireplace in flame effect only mode will cost about $.02/ hour. A typical 1500 Watt unit running on high heat and flame effect will cost about $.18 /hour.
The cost of operation is affected by the cost of electricity in your area. A good average for cost of electricity is about $.12 per Kw and a standard electric fireplace will use 1.5 KW/ hour, so 1.5Kw x $.12 = $.18/ hour.
What does that mean? If you use your unit in high heat mode for 2 hours a day for a month it will bump up your electric bill by about $10.80. In flame effect only mode, same conditions your bill would go up by $1.20.
If you live in Alaska, Hawaii, New York, California or the New England states The costs will be higher because your cost of electricity is much higher than the national average.
To calculate a more precise operating cost you can follow this simple 2 step process:
1. Look at your energy bill and find out the cost of electricity per Kw (kilo watt).
Or, go to the site below and determine your states energy cost per Kw; or you can get it off of your electric bill (use residential column). For examples above, I used the US average of $.12/Kwh.
Click Here to determine: Your states energy cost.
2. Use the calculator at this site to determine your cost. Then fill in the energy values, amount of time you will use your fireplace:
Click Here for the Cost Calculator
Sample Values= 1500 watts high heat + flame, 750 watts for low heat and flame. Fill in your states KWH cost, the hours you think you will use it per month and generate results.
Electric Fireplace Efficiency and Cost of Operation
Whether it is a free standing portable electric fireplace, a wall mount fireplace or electric fireplace insert, they are relatively inexpensive to operate. Use as zone heaters they can save a lot of money on central heating costs.
And the best part is that they are a beautiful, restful, and cozy room focal point. We hope you enjoyed our look at electric fireplace efficiency and cost of operation.