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Do Electric Fires Use A Lot Of Electricity? [Running Costs 2023]

electric fires use a lot of electricity

Do electric fires use a lot of electricity? Are they expensive to run?

I’ve been wondering this recently after realising my gas fire is very expensive to run!

Electric fireplaces are convenient, safe and efficient alternatives to traditional fireplaces.

I’ve used them previously, as well as seen them at friends homes, and they’re very good. In recent years they’ve become more advanced with new technologies, such as realistic flames and crackling sounds.

Let’s take a look at how much electricity an electric fire use, plus some FAQs.

Are electric fires expensive to run?

The quick answer is this: electric fires are not expensive to run.

Of course, everything is relative but electric fires are one of the cheapest heating appliances you can use.

This might seem contradictory as most electric heaters are known to be expensive to operate.

However, this isn’t the case with electrical fireplaces because they run on low power wattage. This makes them cheaper run over the long term.

This is a similar story to other electrical heating appliances, such as smart electric radiators and electric radiant heaters, which can range from 200W to 2,500W.

It’s thought that electric fires are cheaper to run than gas fire and wood burning stoves.

Not only that, but they also provide more efficient heating, so it’s potentially a win-win!

How efficient are electric fireplaces?

electric fire under media wall

The answer is – very efficient!

You might be surprised to know that electric heat is much more efficient than traditional heat.

In fact, electric fireplaces are almost 100% efficient, while gas fireplaces are around 80% or so. Efficient varieties of burning stoves such as, small wood burners and multi-fuel stoves are also around 80% efficient. You can have a closer read here on are log burners cheap to run.

The reason electric fires are so efficient is because all the energy gets converted into heat energy. No energy or heat is lost in the process, unlike traditional fires which lose energy and heat up the chimney. This is one reason why electric fireplaces don’t require any sort of ventilation.

Even more, some modern electric fireplaces are very smart, meaning you can control the precise warmth according to what you like. Although you can adjust the temperature with gas fire, this isn’t as accurate.

So, electric fireplaces are not only cheaper, but they’re also more functional.

What factors determine the cost of running an electric fireplace?

The cost of running an electric fireplace depends on three factors. Let’s talk about each one.

1. The wattage of your electric fireplace

Just like any electronic device, your electric fireplace has a specific wattage. You can find the wattage number in the instruction manual of your fireplace.

Generally, most electric fireplaces are powered between 0.7 kilowatts (kW) and 2kW. Let’s compare this to some other common household appliances.

Most kitchen kettles are 3.3kW (but are not switched on for long) whereas microwaves range from 0.6-1.2 kW.

Higher wattage appliances include dishwashers and not-so energy efficient tumble dryers.

2. The price of electricity

The price of electricity varies from country to country. In the US, it varies from state to state.

Currently, the price per unit of electricity is very high so it will cost you more to run an electric fire.

3. Your Usage

Using the electric fireplace just for ambiance, or without turning on the heater, doesn’t consume a lot of electricity. However, it’s fair to say most people will be using them for heat, especially during the colder weather.

Modern electric fireplaces feature different heating settings.

Simply put, the higher the temperature setting you choose, the more electricity it’ll consume.

How to calculate the cost of running an electric fireplace?

Firstly, figure out the cost per kilowatt of electricity that you pay. With the energy price cap, most people will be paying 34p per kWh, which is what I’m paying.

Next, you need is the power output of your electric fireplace.

Lastly, to work out how much your electric fire costs you run you need an estimate of how long you use it for.

So, cost per kWh of electricity + power of fireplace + use in hours = cost to run.

For example, if you have a 1.5 kW electric fire, use it for one hour and are paying 34p per kWh, it will cost you 51p in total.

How to reduce the electricity consumption of an electric fireplace?

electric fireplace

Here are a few tips that can help you reduce the cost of running an electric fireplace even further.

1.    Fix drafty doors and windows

Sealing drafts and insulating your home can significantly reduce your electric fireplace usage.

While you’ll have to pay a hefty sum upfront, you’ll be able to save more money in the long term.

2.    Turn off unnecessary features

Some modern electrical fireplaces contain LED lights, artificial flames and even speakers.

You can turn off any of these unnecessary features to reduce power usage and save a lot of electricity consumption.

3.    Use a lower wattage option

Some modern fireplaces come with an eco friendly or low-consumption mode designed to use less power.

If your fireplace doesn’t have this option, you can just use the fireplace at a lower temperature setting.

4.    Consider upgrading your fireplace

Is your electric fire consuming too much electricity? You might consider upgrading it to a more efficient one.

Just like modern fridge freezers, most modern electric fireplaces are efficient and consume less electricity than older models.

5.    Don’t preheat the room

The first thing you want to do after a long day at work is probably relax in a warm, cozy room.

With this mind, many people preheat the fireplace or set it at high temperatures to heat the room faster. Unfortunately, this consumes a lot of energy and drives up your electricity bills.

You’ll soon warm up by putting the fire on when you’re sat in the room.

Wrap up on energy efficient electric fires

So, do electric fires use a lot of electricity? The great news is no, they don’t!

Even better is that they’re cheaper than gas and traditional fireplaces. They’re also 100% efficient with all energy being converted to heat.

On top of that, modern electric fires have smart technology to allow you to control the heat precisely. In the long run, this will help you reduce your electricity consumption.

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Ben & Murphy Peaks Mam Tor

Ben is the Creator and Editor of Tiny Eco Home Life. I write and publish information about more sustainable, environmentally friendly living in and around the home.

Alongside this website, I love spending time in the natural world, living a simple life and spending time with my young family (Murphy the dog!) I round up my thoughts and recent blogs on the Eco Life Newsletter.