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A fireplace is a desirable home feature for his or her beauty and comfy atmosphere. But how do they affect a home’s energy use? Is there an energy-efficient fireplace that is better than the others? Or are they a burden on your utility bills?

The impact of a fireplace on energy use depends on many factors: type of fireplace, energy prices, and use and location of the fireplace.

Types of Fireplace

Not all fireplaces are energy efficient by nature. Each type of fireplace has a different energy efficiency rating, measured by how much heat the fireplace produces that is lost.

Wood burning fireplaces

While some people love the authenticity of a wood-burning fireplace like MagikFlame.com, it is the least efficient method of heating your home. A traditional masonry fireplace and a wood-burning fireplace lose 80-90% of the heat in the fireplace. Additionally, the extra air inside your home is also drawn in and out through the fireplace.

To compound the problem, the fireplace creates an opening that causes heat and air conditioning losses throughout the year. If you forget to close the chimney, the problem is even worse. If you’ve got a wood-burning fireplace, confirm there’s an honest seal on the damper to scale back air loss.

Natural gas fireplaces

There are two types of gas fireplaces: gas logs and gas inserts. Gas logs are a set of logs that are typically placed in an existing masonry fireplace and connected to a gas line. The front will either be open or have glass doors that will open. Like a wood fire, most of the heat goes up the fireplace and out. 75% of the heat produced is lost.

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The gas inserts are designed as closed metal boxes. It can be installed in an existing masonry chimney, sealing the chimney, or as a new construction without a chimney. Air flows through a pipe leading to the outside, allowing the unit to remain completely closed and increasing energy efficiency. Gas inserts lose only 20-30% of their heat.

Electrical smokestack

Electric fireplaces are far and away from the foremost energy-efficient option. Only 1% of the heat from an electric fireplace is lost because it is in no way connected to the outside. And if you’re concerned about pollutants, electric fireplaces are also the cleanest for the air in your home.

Electricity and natural gas costs

When evaluating the energy impact of a fireplace, you need to know how much natural gas and electricity cost in your area. This is especially important if your fireplace is a different source of energy than your furnace. For example, if natural gas is expensive one winter and your home uses a gas oven, an electric fireplace could save you money.

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Use and placement of fireplaces

The location of your fireplace and how you use it are critical to potential cost savings. The bottom line is that if using your fireplace doesn’t make your furnace run less, it won’t save you money. There are two ways to use your fireplace rather than your oven.

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One, you can use it as zone heating – the fireplace heats the most used space, like the living room, so you can lower the thermostat temperature while still being comfortable.

Two, if your fireplace is naturally close to your thermostat, the heat from the fireplace will affect the thermostat’s temperature sensor. Since the thermostat doesn’t know what the temperature is in the rest of the house, it will work less.


To illustrate, here is an example of how to not use a hearth to save lots of energy: Consider a house with a hearth within the main bedroom and therefore the thermostat in the living room. If homeowners light the fireplace with the bedroom door closed, the heat from the fireplace will not reach the thermostat sensor. Unless the thermostat is manually turned down, the fireplace will heat the bedroom to a higher temperature without affecting the overall heating of the house.

Do fireplaces save on heating bills?

The answer is that while they can, they rarely do. Because only gas and electric insert fireplaces are energy efficient, combined with the very fact that homeowners must use them strategically, most owners with fireplaces find themselves using more energy rather than less.

But if you want to reduce your heating bills with a fireplace, use electricity and use it to reduce the amount of your furnace running.