Thinking about an electric fireplace or stove? For many years, there was no comparison between electric and gas fireplaces. Both were possible substitutes for wood burning fireplaces and stoves, but gas was considered superior for one reason: designers did not make electric fireplaces look as realistic as gas. Gas fireplaces were originally created to circumvent all the negative attributes of wood burning fireplaces without sacrificing the benefits.
Tip: A natural gas furnace typically costs about $.17 to $.23 per hour. Thats about $4 a day or $120 a month. Electric heaters and electric fireplaces usually cost about $.09 per hour. That’s about $2 a day or $60 a month. Keep in mind that you are not comparing whole house heating systems here: you are comparing a furnace with an electric heater. A furnace will generate about 80,000 BTU’s of heat to warm your entire house. An electric heater only 5,000 BTU’s. You would need 16 electric heaters to generate as much heat as one furnace.
The technology for electric fireplaces has improved a great deal in recent years and does produce a very realistic flame. Installation for the fireplace is so simple it can be done in five minutes. Just unpack the unit and plug it in. To use it, you simply flip a switch or press the button on a remote.
I still think that gas fireplaces produce a flame that looks more realistic, since there is something actually burning in a gas fireplace. I have had wood, gas and electric fireplaces and would not go back to wood at all. Its just a pain to build a decent fire. With the new electric units available, with better heat and efficiency, they are becoming more and more popular. Electric fireplaces provide heat and light, just like traditional fires, but do not produce by-products like smoke and ash, avoid the need for major structural changes such as a chimney and flue, and can be used in almost any room.
There are definite pros and cons to both.
- Pros: Much cheaper. Prices start at under $100 and go to around $800. With most models, you can have the ‘fire look’ on without having the heating system turned on. And the look of the flame has improved much in the last few years.
- Cons: You lose some of the ‘feel’ of a fireplace. Since an electric fireplace is an electric appliance, when the power goes out, you have no heat.
- Usually ready to go right out of the box with little or no assembly.
- Heats small to medium size rooms. Generally heats about 400 square feet of living space.
- Pros: A real fireplace. Puts out serious heat and gives you that warm and cozy feeling.
- Cons: Much more expensive. Units start out around $200 and can go to $2000.
- Requires licensed installation and sometimes changes to your walls or adding gas lines and connections.
- Can heat several rooms or an entire house. Generally heats about 1200 square feet of living space.
Natural Gas Cost
Natural gas typically costs about $.17 to $.23 per hour when putting out 20,000 BTU. About $4 a day or $120 a month.
Electricity is cheaper than natural gas. Electric fireplaces usually cost about $.09 per hour at 5,000 BTU’s. That’s about $2 a day or $60 a month. However, it’s only 5,000 BTU’s.
The new electric products provide warmth and light, but not nearly as much heat as gas. For comparison, your whole house furnace is generally around 60,000 to 80,000 BTU’s. A gas fireplace will produce 10,000 to 40,000 BTU’s. A typical electric fireplace will only produce about 5,000 BTU’s. Keep in mind that you are not comparing whole house heating systems here: you are comparing a furnace with an electric heater. You would need 16 electric heaters to generate as much heat as one furnace.
Electric is still easier to install than gas or wood burning counterparts, and do not contaminate the air in a home. The biggest concern you may have with electric fireplaces is that they can look too fake. The artificial flames in electric fireplaces sometimes just didn’t look like the real flames of a gas or wood burning unit.
The Duraflame electric stoves and fireplaces require no extra hookups and are easy to install. Simply plug in, turn on, and enjoy. The stove features realistic and dimmable flame technology and glowing, lifelike logs and an ember bed which adds warmth and elegance to any area.Duraflame is one of the most respected names in the hearth industry. The company has recently introduced a small selection of discount electric fireplaces that offer terrific value. Each of these small electric fireplaces has a realistic flame effect including glowing logs and ember bed. Adds supplemental heat up to 400 square feet with most Duraflame units rated at 4600 BTUs.
Dimplex offers a wide variety of top-quality electric fireplace designs, from complete fireplace mantel packages and media consoles, to wall mount fireplaces and even free standing electric stoves. The Dimplex electric fireplaces continue to lead the industry with the most extensive line of electric fireplaces, with designs to suit every home. All Dimplex fireplaces feature lifelike, patented flame effect which remains the benchmark in the industry. Ideal for zone heating – warm a 20′ x 20′ room and lower the central thermostat.
By Victoria Stone