Gas fireplaces are beautiful and elegant. They make a home look cozy and comforting, much like a wood-burning fireplace does, but without any of the mess of ashes, sawdust, and bits of bark. It’s easy to start a fire: just flip a switch, no need for crumpling newspaper and carefully crafting a pyramid of twigs. Perhaps best of all, they are highly efficient.
How is heating efficiency measured? How efficient is a gas fireplace compared to a wood-burning one? How much money can you save? Here are the details.
What Does Heating Efficiency Mean?
At its most basic, heating efficiency is a way to express how much of the energy a heating appliance consumes is actually turned into heat. For example, some electric heaters are nearly 100% efficient because virtually every bit of power they draw becomes heat. Heating efficiency is generally calculated by dividing the amount of heat something produces by the amount of energy it consumes.
How Efficient Is a Wood-Burning Fireplace?
The short answer is that wood-burning fireplaces are extremely inefficient. You might think of these very traditional heat sources as being able to keep whole medieval castles warm, but the truth is, those castles went through tons of wood and were probably still freezing! The exact efficiency of a wood-burning fireplace depends on the fireplace itself and the insulation in the home, but is generally between 10 and 25%.
How Efficient Is a Gas Fireplace?
Again, this varies with the model of the fireplace and with how well the home is weatherized, but the very lowest estimates in less-than-ideal situations are 50-60%. With good insulation and a well-chosen fireplace that was professionally installed, the efficiency can be upwards of 90%.
Why Are Gas Fireplaces So Efficient?
Wood-burning fireplaces allow a great deal of heat to escape from the chimney. As they draw cold air (and oxygen) down to the fire, hot air rises above it. This ancient system does allow carbon monoxide and dioxide to safely escape while keeping some heat in the home. But modern gas fireplaces use cutting-edge technology for safe venting without the massive heat loss.
How Much Money Can Be Saved with a Gas Fireplace?
Wood prices vary widely, depending on location and on the type of wood. Gas, on the other hand, is a very affordable heating fuel. Estimates suggest that the average amount of money spent on wood for a fireplace is around $350 annually, whereas the average amount spent on gas for a fireplace is closer to $100.
Your exact costs will, of course, depend entirely on how much the fireplace is used, and also on how well-insulated your home is. But in general, you can run a gas fireplace for a fraction of the operating cost of a wood fireplace.
If you’d like to find out about the wide array of gas fireplaces available, and what options for gas fireplace installation in Milton, FL would best suit your home, we’d love to hear from you.
Contact the team at Commander Air Inc. Your hometown heating and cooling specialist for three generations.