Electric heaters are used in households as alternatives to LPG tanks and open wood fires or furnaces. In fact, they’re increasingly incorporated in contemporary spaces nowadays. If you’re planning to have an electric fireplace in your household, then the very first factor you’d want to consider is its overall cost. How much exactly will it cost you to maintain one?
In order to compare with other alternatives, here are the known advantages of using an electric fireplace:
- It doesn’t require a more wholistic setup such as a gas tank line, fume hood, chimney, or any vent system. The installation entails the availability of portable or built-in heaters.
- Electric setups are a cleaner alternative to those that involve wood burning as the latter can produce a fine black material underneath wares called soot.
- It doesn’t require much manual intervention, unlike wood-burning which needs tending, including the continuous supply of log and air.
- It comes with a readily available thermostat and a timer that control the temperature and cooking with ease.
- It’s advantageous to those whose spaces are limited. Since the setup is only simple, it can be integrated readily in condominiums, studio types, or apartments and can be transported effortlessly from one place to another.
- Cleaning and maintenance are needed only once in a year. This is contrary to LPG-operated fireplaces which require constant replenishment/refill of gas.
Electric Fireplace Unit Cost
Generally, electric units are cheaper than gas stoves. The electrical equipment itself costs around $120 to $2275 depending on its type and size. Free-standing types will range from $80 to $500 and increase in cost if you want to incorporate frames and mantels into it. If you prefer those with natural aesthetics such as wood, then it will cost you around $35 to $500.
Conversely, acquiring a corner electric fireplace would cost you $450 to $1600 with additional features such as mantels. Wall-mounted units for space savings entails costs ranging from $350 to $1800. An upgraded type of these is those with dual-sided features available at a higher price of $1500 to $1700 which requires arduous tasks in installing and drywall working.
The most expensive type are those models with exquisite finishes and air purifiers. These are available at $2000 to $2200 with additional features such as thermostats, glass doors, automatic flame color, and intensity adjustments.
Electric Fireplace Installation Cost
Labor costs should not be unaccounted in the calculations. Although some units can be managed readily by consumers by just plugging them into outlets, some will require professional help to secure overall safety. Hiring an electrician to help install your unit generally costs $30 to $100 per hour. If your space still needs electrical connections, you’ll have to spend an additional cost of around $75 to $250.
Electric Fireplace Operational Cost
Another favored attributed to the electric fireplace is its efficiency. It runs through a conversion to heat from fuel used to mobilize electricity. According to the National Public Radio (NPR), an electric fireplace operates better compared to other alternatives such as firewood and propane gas which only has an efficiency of 77% and 80%, respectively.
The electric cost per kilowatt-hour will heavily depend on the location. From NPR data, the electricity rate is usually around $0.12 per kilowatt-hour, translating to a total value of $26.10 per MBtu heating value. Its electric cost efficiency is more or less similar to that of natural gas. Meanwhile, propane gas is still costly, registering around $41.12 per MBtu. Conversely, firewood and coal are understandably cheaper at $16.23 and $10.00 per MBtu, respectively.
Computing the estimated annual fuel cost, electricity costs is around $1300 while firewood and coal are at only $811 and $500, respectively.
According to the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority (EECA) in New Zealand, the cost of heating a tiny 4 square meter space using 500W translates to 13 cents per hour. This computation is assumed on the basis that without inflation, electricity price is at 25 cents per kilowatt-hour.
A small 10-13 square meter room that needs 1500W expends 38 cents per hour while that of a 13-17 square meter space will cost around 50 cents per hour using a 2000W electric fireplace. For larger spaces, anywhere around 16 to 20 square meters, the cost will be at around 60 cents per hour.