Electric fireplace inserts are gaining in popularity. They have a number of advantages over the traditional built-in fireplaces of the past. Many homeowners want a fireplace that is both aesthetically pleasing and energy-efficient as well. There are a few things to consider before purchasing electric fireplace inserts. Many potential buyers want to know about their energy efficiency. Can a fireplace that runs on electricity be more efficient than a wood-burning one?
Electric Heat is More Efficient
This type of fireplace uses a heating component. It can convert electricity to warm air at a rate of 99 percent. How is that possible? With traditional electric fireplace inserts, there are many places where heat can be lost. A chimney flue or vents are perfect examples of where a home's heat can escape. An electric unit does not have that issue. The unit is self-contained and the heat is expelled into the room. There is also no wasted energy on heat production. It is simply a matter of flipping a switch for instant heat.
Does Energy Efficient Mean an Energy Star Rating?
Buyers often look for the Energy Star rating on many products. A fireplace insert will not have an Energy Star rating. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) operates the Energy Star program. It helps consumers pick a product that will be energy efficient and save money. A product gets an Energy Star rating when it meets certain requirements set by the EPA. All portable fireplace inserts meet and exceed these standards. So why is there no rating? Products are rated based on categories.
Energy Efficient Fireplaces are Not Designed to Heat a Whole Home
Electric fireplace inserts are extremely efficient for a single room. They are not meant to be a primary source of heat during the winter. Think of the fireplace as a supplement source of heat. It needs to work in conjunction with the central heat of the residence. This product is great for getting rid of a little winter chill without turning up the thermostat. A fireplace insert also excels at zone heating.
Increasing an Electric Fireplace Insert’s Efficiency
It costs a lot of money to heat a house. There have been studies that show approximately 45 percent of a household's energy cost is due to heating. Homeowners that are looking to save money should consider lowering the thermostat. Each degree lowered in temperature can save 1 percent on the energy bill.
This is where having an electric fireplace inserts is a good idea. Central heating is made to warm up a whole house. There may be rooms in a house that remain empty. It is a waste of money and energy to keep them warm. A fireplace insert can help keep certain rooms warm without adding to the overall heating bill. Some units are even portable enough to just pick up and plug in from room to room.
How to Increase Energy Efficiency Inside the Home
Even though electric units are energy efficient, there may be areas where the heat is escaping inside the home. Doors, windows, and cracks should always be checked to see if there are leaks. Some caulk and weather stripping can improve the energy efficiency in many rooms. Some communities even have local energy companies that come out for a free inspection. They will complete a thorough walk-through of the home.
Keep Costs Down with an Electric Fireplace Inserts
These fireplaces can run in two different modes. The units can operate with or without heat. Since they are energy efficient, there is a slight difference in price to run them. The full heat mode can cost a few dollars more on an electric bill. This is only because more energy is used to run the unit. Electric costs due vary according to the region of the country. If the unit was running on a full heat mode for over 8 hours a day, an electric bill cost would be around $10 more per month. It is unlikely it would run that long since the electric model is used as a supplemental source of heat. The” flame only” mode would see a slight increase on the electric bill. In this mode, heating costs would rise to a mere $1 more per month.
There are ways to calculate the precise cost to operate electric fireplace inserts. Some websites provide energy cost calculators for free. Buyers can simply enter in their states’ kilowatt cost along with the fireplace's hours of use. It can give a close estimate of what someone would expect to pay for the operating costs of an electric model.
Electric inserts are relatively inexpensive to run. They are saving homeowners quite a few dollars during the winter months. Zone heating is proving to be the most efficient way to utilize electric fireplace inserts. Their energy efficiency is an added benefit to having an electric model installed. It can save money on the bills and help to limit energy consumption in the home.