Nothing beats curling up in front of a cozy fire on a cold winter night. If you are considering adding a fireplace to your home, the first thing to decide is whether to go with a gas or electric model. Here is our breakdown of how the types compare.
Gas: Requires a gas line to the house and must have room to cut a vent to the outside of the home (usually means being located on an exterior wall).
Electric: Simply plugs into an electrical outlet like any other appliance. These can be wall mounted or housed in display units.
Cost to Install and Operate
Gas: The price with standard installation ranges from $2,750 to $5,000. The cost to run is about 20 cents to 40 cents per hour, depending on the size of the unit.
Electric: These start around $500, and go as high as $1,200 for higher end models. Operation costs roughly 0.3 to 3 cents per hour, without heat, and about 16 cents per hour with heat on 100% of the time.
Value to Your Home
Gas: According to surveys, 40% of homebuyers say they would pay more for a home with a gas fireplace, and home’s value could increase by about 12% for each fireplace.
Electric: With little to no investment in installation, an electric fireplace will not add much value to your home. However, if you move you can take it with you to your new home.
Gas: Can provide 25,000 – 30,000 BTUs of heat. Great for heating larger areas or even a whole home, up to 2,000 square feet.
Electric: Can provide 3,000 – 9,000 BTUs. This will effectively heat one room, up to 400 square feet. The artificial flame can also run when the heater is turned off, lending ambiance even when you do not wish for heat.
Gas: Only 70% to 80% efficient due to heat lost through venting.
Electric: 100% efficient.
Gas: Glass pane and housing may get hot enough to burn skin if touched during operation.
Electric: Glass pane temperature will not get warm enough to burn.
What It All Adds Up To:
Gas fireplaces are good for those willing to spend more for a bigger return – in heating ability and home value.
Electric fireplaces will do the trick nicely for smaller spaces or when heating is less important than style, and will save you plenty in upfront and operation costs.