Is an Electric Fireplace Energy-Efficient?


When it comes to heating your home, the advantages of an electric fireplace are varied. It is one of the safer options overall and is easier to use. One of the factors that make the electric fireplace so useful is its energy efficiency.

An electric fireplace is 99% energy efficient. Nearly all of the electricity used in this fireplace is converted to heat. Additionally, none of the heat escapes through vents or chimneys like in traditional fireplaces. So there is no waste of the heat produced either.

In this article, I’ll explain how an electric fireplace is energy efficient. I’ll also compare its efficiency with a gas fireplace and look into the other advantages that make an electric fireplace a good investment. Then I’ll tell you what to look for when you’re buying an energy-efficient fireplace. 

The Efficiency of an Electric Fireplace

Before we begin, we need to get into what energy efficiency is and how it is calculated. Only then can we assess the efficiency of an electric fireplace and gain some perspective on what that percentage means. 

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency refers to the amount of energy saved when converting one type of energy to another. For example, in an electric fireplace, one type of energy, such as electricity, is converted to heat, which is another type of energy. 

During the process of converting from one type of energy to another, there is always some loss. 

So energy efficiency is calculated by dividing the amount of energy produced by the amount of energy initially converted. For an electric fireplace, this means that the amount of heat produced divided by the amount of electricity used will tell you how energy efficient it is. 

No machine can have over 100% efficiency because energy cannot be created. 

How Energy Efficient Is an Electric Fireplace?

When it comes to traditional fireplaces, a lot of the energy produced is wasted in gases or escapes through vents. This waste means that not only are there by-products, some of the actual heat energy produced is also wasted.

Electric fireplaces are 99% energy efficient. Nearly all of the electricity is converted to heat, with no by-products like gas or smoke. They heat rooms faster, and there is no heat loss as electric fireplaces don’t need ventilation. They also have a much longer lifespan, so the energy savings add up. 

A critical rubric to consider when looking at the energy efficiency of fireplaces is how energy efficient home appliances are. Knowing the efficiency of other appliances gives us a little more context on the efficiency of electric fireplaces. 

To put the 99% energy efficiency tag into perspective, let’s talk about other items in your home and their efficiency ratings: 

  • Refrigerators have about 20% – 50% efficiency. 
  • Incandescent bulbs have about 5% efficiency. 
  • LEDs have about 40% – 50% efficiency. 

So with this context, we can gauge that 99% energy efficiency is a great percentage.

What Is More Efficient, Gas or Electric Fireplace?

When considering the difference between gas and electric fireplaces, there are four main factors to consider. These are how much power is used, the costs involved, lifespan, and the waste of power. 

Electric fireplaces are more efficient than gas fireplaces in terms of direct measurements of efficiency. Gas fireplaces have 90% efficiency, which is good, but still falls short of the 99% efficiency of electric fireplaces. Unfortunately, gas fireplaces have some energy loss.

When it comes to the factors of comparison, here is how gas fireplaces stack up when compared to electric fireplaces. 

Power Consumption

You need less gas than electricity to produce the same amount of power. However, the operational realities get in the way. 

Even if gas fireplaces consume less power than electric fireplaces do, they do not have similar outputs. Electric fireplaces can convert nearly all the electricity they use (1500W at 12.5 amps) to heat, whereas gas fireplaces lose some heat in the process of conversion. 

Costs Involved

Upfront, gas fireplaces are more expensive to install. The installation is doubly expensive if you do not have a pre-existing gas line attached to your property. 

Simply getting the line installed will take up a significant chunk of money. 

Electricity itself may be more expensive than gas, but that is balanced out by the overall installation costs of electric fireplaces being lower. Electric fireplaces also need far less maintenance than gas fireplaces which keeps the overall costs down. 

Lifespan

The factor of lifespan is pretty straightforward because gas fireplaces have a shorter lifespan than electric fireplaces do. They break down over a period of time due to rust and corrosion. 

Additionally, electric fireplaces are easily transportable while gas fireplaces are not, which gives the electric fireplace a distinct advantage. 

Loss Of Power

The real factor that determines efficiency is power loss in the process of converting one form of energy to another. Gas fireplaces are only 90% efficient because there is some waste of the heat produced via gas because of the by-products and ventilation required. Heat rises, so some percentage of the heat produced escapes via the flue of the gas fireplace. 

In contrast, almost all of the electricity used by electric fireplaces is converted to heat energy. 

Are Electric Fireplaces a Good Investment?

Electric fireplaces have several advantages over other kinds of fireplaces like gas or wood-burning fireplaces. 

Overall, electric fireplaces are a great investment. They are energy-efficient, cost-effective, safe, and easily portable. They can be used to heat rooms up to 400 sq. ft. (37.16 sq. m.) easily, and the amount of heat can also be controlled. 

With electric fireplaces, you also have the option of creating a cozy ambiance without any heat at all. Since the flames aren’t real, you can choose to turn the heat off entirely and use the images alone for mood lighting. 

Electric fireplaces are the cheapest fireplaces to install, and running an electric fireplace will cost you approximately $0.15 per hour. Of course, this depends on how electricity is priced where you live and the output of your fireplace. 

They are also portable, so you can take your fireplace with you if you ever decide to move. 

Since the maintenance is pretty much non-existent, there are no recurring costs of an electric fireplace. At most, the LED bulbs will need to be replaced, but those are both cheap and easy to find. 

As there’s no fuel apart from electricity involved, the electric fireplaces will last a long time. 

The primary factor that makes electric fireplaces a good investment apart from their energy efficiency is safety. 

Electric fireplaces are plugged into a regular household outlet (120V) and can be controlled remotely depending on the features. On the other hand, gas and wood fireplaces need regular maintenance to correct usage to be safe, and inattention can be dangerous. 

When considering all these factors, it is clear that electric fireplaces are a great investment. 

Choosing the Right Electric Fireplace

When you’re deciding on the kind of electric fireplace you’d want for your home, consider the following:

  • Room size and wattage
  • Features

Room Size and Wattage

Depending on the size of your room, you’ll have to decide if you need an electric fireplace with a higher or lower wattage. 

For a room-sized about 200 – 300 sq. ft. (18.58 – 27.87 sq. m.), you’ll want to get a fireplace with a wattage of 1500-2500W. If your room is bigger, you’ll need to look into fireplaces with wattage over 3000W. 

An important thing to remember is that electric fireplaces aren’t a great option for heating very large rooms or entire houses. They’re great options for zone heating and can get a room toasty warm really quickly. 

Features

The features of an electric fireplace are important because this is where you get to pick what kind of convenience you would like in your home. 

A remote control is a great feature that makes sure that you can control the fireplace from just about anywhere, which makes the fireplace extra safe. It also means that you don’t need to get up from your comfortable couch to switch it off. 

Another feature that guarantees safety is the timer. 

You can set your fireplace to heat between the specified time frame, after which it will switch off on its own. This means that you can leave the heat on while you’re out and come back to a perfectly warm room. You can also leave your electric fireplace on overnight. 

Finally, the feature that offers a great deal of convenience is heat adjustment, for all those days when it gets a bit nippy, but you don’t need the full heating capacity of your fireplace. 

Final Thoughts

Electric fireplaces are the most energy and cost-efficient fireplaces available. 

They offer a great deal of convenience for a smaller budget than traditional fireplaces. It also helps that they are environment friendly and much easier to maintain than gas or wood-burning fireplaces. They’re a great investment for people who’re looking for a convenient option to heat their rooms.

Looking For Electric Fireplaces?

Are you looking for the best electric fireplace? We’ve got you covered. Check out our article on the top 5 best electric fireplaces on the market and find your perfect fit today! The Fireplace Lifestyle team has done all of the research so that you don’t have to. You can just sit back, relax, and enjoy reading about these incredible fireplaces. Our goal is to help people like yourself find their dream fireplace with ease. So take a look at what we have to offer – we know it will be worth your time!

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