Whether you think ‘eco’ is short for ecology or economy, electric fireplaces have lots of advantages. In fact, the features that make electric fireplaces environmentally friendly, also make them economically friendly. As another Earth Day approaches, it’s a good time to review the many advantages of electric fireplaces.
Why should we care about which fireplace we choose?
When it comes to the environment, and global warming, your choice of fireplace matters. Gas fireplaces are burning a fossil fuel, which produces carbon emissions. Excessive carbon emissions are raising Earth’s temperature, which is creating adverse climate events to occur more frequently. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change) released a report in March, 2023, that pulls together the latest science on climate change. Following is an excerpt from IPCC Press Release March 20, 2023:
In 2018, IPCC highlighted the unprecedented scale of the challenge required to keep warming to 1.5°C. Five years later, that challenge has become even greater due to a continued increase in greenhouse gas emissions. The pace and scale of what has been done so far, and current plans, are insufficient to tackle climate change.
More than a century of burning fossil fuels as well as unequal and unsustainable energy and land use has led to global warming of 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels. This has resulted in more frequent and more intense extreme weather events that have caused increasingly dangerous impacts on nature and people in every region of the world.
In this decade, accelerated action to adapt to climate change is essential to close the gap between existing adaptation and what is needed. Meanwhile, keeping warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels requires deep, rapid and sustained greenhouse gas emissions reductions in all sectors. Emissions should be decreasing by now and will need to be cut by almost half by 2030, if warming is to be limited to 1.5°C.
Visit the IPCC website for the full report.
Electric Fireplaces have zero carbon emissions
If you are looking for a way to reduce your carbon footprint, this is a no-brainer. Most of our clients are installing or upgrading a fireplace for aesthetic reasons – they want that warm, inviting feeling they get from having a fireplace. The fireplace is no longer a primary source of heat, nor is it a necessity. Switching to an electric fireplace is an easy way to eliminate a source of carbon emissions without sacrificing anything.
Zero Carbon emissions = no venting (and less expensive installation)
As an added bonus, what’s good for the environment is also good for your wallet. Because there is nothing burning inside an electric fireplace, there is no need for venting to the outside. There is also no need for a gas hook-up. This makes it far less expensive to install electric fireplaces vs. gas fireplaces. All you need is a dedicated electrical hook-up, either 120 or 240 volts (depending on the model), and you’re good to go.
Because there is no venting, you can install an electric fireplace anywhere in your home, and you are not limited to exterior walls. Electric fireplaces are also zero-clearance, which means that building materials for the feature wall do not need to be non-combustible. And that means that you have a lot more design flexibility. It’s much easier to stay on budget when you have more options available to you.
Electric Fireplaces improve energy efficiency
Because electric fireplaces do not require venting, no heat is lost to the outside, and no cold air can enter the inside. Any heat that is generated by an electric fireplace remains in the room, and is pushed out by an integrated blower. Depending on the electrical connection, an electric fireplace can warm up a 400 to 800 square foot area. They produce the right amount of heat for most rooms in our homes. By contrast, a gas fireplace produces far more heat than is comfortable for most rooms in our homes. This means that the gas fireplace needs to be turned off when the room gets too warm.
Zone heating = less fossil fuel for furnace (and lower heating bills)
Electric fireplaces are perfect for zone heating, where they can take the chill off the room you are actually using, while leaving the furnace at a lower setting for the unused parts of the house. By having the furnace set lower, your heating bills become lower. Because the heat output is more controlled with an electric fireplace, you also don’t have to worry about the fireplace heat signalling the main thermostat to turn off the heat completely.
Electric Fireplaces cost less to operate than gas fireplaces
When it comes to heating our homes, the accepted wisdom is that a natural gas furnace is more energy-efficient and less costly than heating with electricity. However, the opposite is true when it comes to fireplaces. As we noted at the top of this article, most of us are installing fireplaces for the look. The best-looking gas fireplaces need to produce big, yellow flames. An efficient burner, like the one on your furnace, produces a blue flame. In order to make fireplace flames look better, the fireplace is made to burn less efficiently. If you operate a 30,000 BTU gas fireplace for 6 months a year, and 4 hours per day, the cost in our part of the country is $460. A gas fireplace is too hot to use for the other 6 months.
Electricity instead of gas = lower cost to operate
By contrast, electric fireplaces create flames with LED lights. The cost to operate flames-only, for an entire year, is well under $5.00 here in Southern Ontario. With the heater running for 6 months of the year, and flames without heat for the other 6 months, the cost to operate an electric fireplace for the entire year is $120 to $235, depending on the voltage.
Here in Ontario, electricity prices have been coming down, while gas prices go up. However, even if the trend is reversed, it will take much higher electricity prices for the operating costs to even out between gas and electric fireplaces.
Bottom Line: Win Win
You don’t have to be a UN scientist to understand that carbon emissions are driving catastrophic climate change. Switching your fireplace choice from gas to electric is a simple way to help save the planet while also saving money. It’s a win-win for you and the planet.
Stylish Fireplaces knows that adding a fireplace to your home can be challenging. With an electric fireplace and their NFI Certified Hearth Design Specialists, it’s easy to create a space you’ll love to share with family and friends. Check out all the options and connect with their experts for help to find the perfect electric fireplace for you. You’ll live stylishly ever after.