Electric Fireplace Efficiency & Cost to Run in 2023

Written by: Paul Cathro

Updated on: January 4, 2023

If you’re considering purchasing an electric fireplace, you’ll probably want to know how efficient the most up to date models are and what the average cost to run one is in 2023. 

electric fireplace

When you’re considering making an investment like this for your home, you don’t just need to know the electric fireplace cost to purchase in the first place but also the running cost over the course of its life.

Read on to discover everything you need to know to choose the most energy-efficient electric fireplace on the market today.

How Much Does it Cost to Run an Electric Fireplace?

When buying an electric fireplace, a common question is how much will an electric fireplace raise my electric bill?

Compared to gas and wood-burning fires, electric fireplaces are typically cheaper and easier to install and they’re also more eco-friendly. 

The installation is often simply just a case of plugging into the mains power outlet, while they don't produce any emissions as they are smoke-free.

As an added advantage, they are also often an economical way of providing extra heat to your home.

A lot of electric fireplaces are capable of heating between 400 and 1000 square feet and, if your family usually stays in a single room like the family room, adding zone heating to that space is a more cost-effective option than paying to warm the whole house.

Recommended: Don't miss our guide to the most authentic looking electric fireplaces.

electric fireplace

When asking “how much does it cost to run an electric fireplace?” the answer really depends on your area’s utility rates, the kind of fireplace you’ve chosen and how much power you use yourself.

Electric fireplaces don’t produce as much heat per unit as other types of stove, so, are electric fireplaces efficient?

The answer to this is surprisingly, yes, since almost no heat will be lost to the chimney and this makes the warmth they produce more efficient and usable.

Typically, an electric heater will cost between 8 and 23 cents an hour, and if you choose to operate your electric fireplace with only flames and no heat, the operating costs reduce to just 1 or 2 cents an hour.

You can work the math out using this formula:

Hours per day x watts x kWh rate

The formula is used like this:

Take a typical electric fireplace that produces 5,112 BTUs and operates at a wattage of 1500. 

It is capable of heating a space of around 400 square feet.

Check your utility bills to find out your local kWh rate (in this case we’ll use 0.15) and work out how many hours per day you’re likely to use your fireplace (in this case, we’ll say 5).

So, the formula with figures looks like this:

5 hours x 1500W x 0.15 kWh = $1.125 per day or 23 cents an hour.

Recommended: Discover which compact fireplaces we recommend in our new guide.

Electric Fireplaces are Awesome for Zone Heating

If you and your family are constantly scattered around your home in different rooms, central heating is a great idea.

If you’re always in the kitchen, your partner is in the living area, and the kids are always upstairs in their bedrooms, you’ll need a heating solution that can warm the entire property at once so everyone can be comfortable.

On the other hand, if all of you usually spend a lot of time in the same room, usually the family room, zone heating could be the best option for you.

electric fireplace

 Zone heating involves the use of a single heating appliance in that one space that warms only that area without having to pay to heat up the rest of the house when nobody is using the other rooms.

In the old days before central heating systems, all houses relied on fires for zone heating. Today, you can still experience these benefits by investing in an energy-efficient electric fireplace.

By installing one in the room in which the household spends the most time together, you can slash your energy bills by only running this single heating appliance without needing to turn your central heating on for hours at a time.

Recommended: Wondering how electric fireplaces work? Then check out our latest guide.

Ways Electric Fireplace Can Save You Money

While we’re determining an answer to the question “how much electricity does an electric fireplace use” we need to look at how investing in an electric fireplace can save you money.

A major source of wasted energy these days is HVAC systems that account for around 50% - 60% of the energy usage in your home.

An electric fireplace, meanwhile, is a much more energy-efficient option which sacrifices neither style nor comfort and helps you to save on your energy bills in the long run.

electric fireplace

An electric fireplace will convert all the energy it produces into heat so this means that it is completely energy efficient.

Wood and gas fireplaces, on the other hand, can lose as much as 60% of the energy they produce to the atmosphere.

Also, both gas and wood fireplaces are dependent on natural resources to produce heat while an electric fireplace just needs a regular power outlet.

Thanks to the energy efficiency of electric fireplaces, you will be enjoying more heat for your money.

You can also implement zone heating that allows you to switch off or turn down the central heating so your electricity bills can be lower during the winter months.

An electric fireplace will cost you only about 8 to 12 cents per hour to operate, and this totals only around $25 per year.

Recommended: Don't miss out troubleshooting guide for electric fireplaces that turn themselves off.


If you compare this with the cost of running a gas heater which usually costs between 17 and 19 cents per hour to operate, you’ll be saving around $40 per year.

Also, with a gas heater, up to 60% of the heat that is produced will be lost to the chimney, so you won’t even be getting what you’re paying for.

A wood-burning fire is also an expensive option, costing around $190 per year to produce exactly the same amount of heat. 

Then you need to figure in the extra cost of installing the chimney, mantel and flue which also adds up to a costly investment – none of that is necessary for an electric fireplace.

Recommended: Got a faulty flame on your fireplace? Don't miss our troubleshooting guide.


Tips for Saving Money When Using an Electric Fireplace

Electric fireplaces can save you money over the cost of using a gas or wood-burning fireplace as we’ve already established in this article.

However, there are even more ways that you can save money if you opt for an electric fireplace by simply trying a few easy things to reduce your bills.

One of the best things you can do to save even more money when using your electric fireplace is to only use your fire outside of peak hours since this can reduce the cost of using your fire by half.

If you require no extra heat, but you’re enjoying the flickering flames of your electric fire, you can switch over to the flame-only mode.

This will give you the authentic appearance of beautiful flames but at a significantly lower cost per hour.

Also, it’s best to locate your electric fireplace in a room that doesn’t have a vaulted ceiling. Since heat rises, you will lose a lot of heat if the room you choose has a very high ceiling.

electric fireplace and wood logs

Benefits of Electric Fireplaces Over other Types of Fireplace

More people these days than ever before are worried about their impact on the planet and the environment.

They have concerns that if they choose a heating appliance that uses excessive amounts of energy they will be harming the world around them.

Reducing waste of energy is imperative these days, but the good news is that an electric fireplace is actually an eco-friendly choice when compared with other sources of heat in your home.

Not only that, but it can also save you money as well so it’s a win-win situation for you and the environment.

electric fireplace

As an added benefit, your electric fireplace uses no natural resources such as wood, and no unwanted combustible byproducts will be released to the atmosphere, so you won’t be contributing to air pollution.

You also won’t be putting yourself and your family at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Your home will also look beautiful and cozy, without any unwanted smoke being released into the room.

Wood burning stoves are attractive, but they can be smoky – you can enjoy the benefits of the flickering flames with no smoke when you choose an electric fireplace.

Electric fireplaces are also very low maintenance when compared with a wood-burning stove. There is no ash to remove, no black smoke residue to clean off the doors, and no chimneys to sweep out.

You can also benefit from a long lifespan from your electric fireplace, especially if yours is an LED model, since LEDs last an extremely long time before they wear out.

Since electric fires aren’t prone to corrosion or rust, you won’t need to replace your fireplace sooner than you would like to, meaning you can maximize your investment.

About the Author Paul Cathro

Paul is an ex-HVAC engineer with 5 years 'in the trade'.

He acquired tinyhousehugeideas.com in 2022 and aims to make it the internet's most comprehensive HVAC resource for small homes in the next few years.

You can learn more about Paul's story here.

Browse his published work on the website here.

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