What You Need to Know about Electric Fireplaces

Electric fireplaces offer an innovative and convenient heating option for homeowners. Available in a wide variety of designs, sizes and appearances, an electric fireplace can work in almost any installation depending on your needs. If it's heat and energy efficiency you’re after, here are the factors you need to consider when selecting an electric fireplace.

Do Electric Fireplaces Really Heat a Room?

Electric fireplaces can be a great option for heating a room. However, there are numerous makes and models of electric fireplaces, and not all fireplaces will heat a room the same way. You’ll need to pay attention to manufacturer specifications regarding BTU to determine if a fireplace will meet your heating needs.

Some electric fireplaces are solely for decorative purposes and offer no heat output, but most feature an integrated heater of some kind. Most electric fireplaces operate on a standard household outlet (120 volts) and provide between 4,500 and 5,000 BTU, roughly the same output as a small electric space heater. This means an electric fireplace like this Dimplex XLF can comfortably heat an area approximately 450 square feet in size.

Dimplex XLF Wall Mount/Built-In Series Electric Fireplace

Dimplex BLF Wall Mount/Built-In Series Electric Fireplace

If you’re looking for maximum heat output from an electric fireplace, consider a fireplace model designed to operate on 240 volts. Most 240-volt fireplace units provide a heat output in the neighborhood of 8,500 BTU, enough heat to comfortably warm approximately 1,000 square feet of space. If your electrical setup is designed for this kind of draw, a 240-volt electric fireplace like the Napoleon Alluravision can offer an impressive heating option.

NEFL Alluravision Deep Depth Linear Electric Fireplace Insert

NEFL Alluravision Deep Depth Linear Electric Fireplace Insert

Do Electric Fireplaces Use a Lot of Electricity?

Electric fireplaces use approximately the same amount of electricity as the average space heater. Since most fireplaces operate on a standard household outlet, they use 120 volts to power the internal heater and draw about 1,500 watts at 12.5 amps.

A fireplace can be an even more efficient option when you consider potential energy savings. By operating an electric fireplace in a living space, the need for heat from other sources is diminished. By allowing an efficient electric fireplace to take over some of the heating responsibilities, the total energy used can be lower than with the home’s primary heating source alone.

How Much Does it Cost to Run an Electric Fireplace?

The total cost of running an electric fireplace depends on three main factors: power consumption of the unit itself, operating time and the cost of electricity in your area. Using the general specifications we mentioned earlier (120 volts, 1,500 watts, and 12.5 amps), we can provide a reasonable estimate of the cost to operate an electric fireplace. Currently, the average cost of electricity in the United States is approximately 12 cents per kilowatt-hour. This means it will cost you approximately 15 cents per hour to operate an electric fireplace.

If we extrapolate this number, we can provide several other cost estimates:

  • 2 hours/day: $0.36/day or $10.95/month
  • 6 hours/day: $1.08/day or $32.87/month
  • 12 hours/day: $2.16/day or $65.64/month

Is an Electric Fireplace More Expensive than a Gas Fireplace?

Electric fireplaces are cheaper to operate than gas fireplaces by most cost estimates. Using similar estimations to the above numbers, gas fireplaces cost approximately $0.70/hour to operate. However, this will ultimately depend on other factors such as the efficiency of the gas fireplace. Either way, an electric fireplace is not expensive to operate in your home and can certainly provide a cost-effective way to supplement your home’s heating requirements during peak use times like winter.

Are You Ready to Add an Electric Fireplace to Your Home or Business?

We can help you find the right fireplace for your installation based on heat, size or appearance. Contact us today and let a member of our team show you different options to best meet your needs. We’re available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST to answer your calls and emails.