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Is Gas Electric Or Wood Fuel Source Cheaper For Fireplaces?

December 05, 2012

It is often difficult to work out what the cheapest fuel source will be for your fireplace. Nowadays there are several choices and it is often difficult to determine what the best option will be. There is a large increase in the popularity of wood burning stoves as the price of gas and electricity keeps rising.

This is a strange phenomenon as wood is a scarce resource and there is limited supply of timber/coal. However it could be argued natural gas and electricity is also an equally scarce resource.

How much does it really cost to use a fireplace?

1. The actual running cost of a fireplace is very ambiguous and will essentially depend on what you want to achieve. The majority of homeowners want to use a fire surround and fire as a focal point and have high efficient gas boilers with central heating already installed in their homes. In such a scenario Electric Fireplaces are the cheapest option as you have the option to use the flame effect independent of the heat source. This means you can have the look of a great fire without necessarily having to put the heater on. Some electric fires have very realistic flame effects and work using a series of LED bulbs which cost as little as £1 to run per month.

2. Some homes would like to have a backup source of heat and use the fire surround and fire to help heat the home. Gas fireplaces are extremely popular for homes that are looking for a higher heat output than can be achieved by the average electric fire (which is limited to 2kw). Gas fires have an average heat output of 3kw and can reach heat outputs in excess of 5kw depending on the model selected. Solid fuel wood burning fireplaces on the contrary have the highest heat outputs and depending on how much fuel is used, have the propensity to heat virtually your entire home.

Installation cost:

1. The main disadvantage of solid fuel fireplaces is the hidden high installation costs associated with them. Solid fuel fireplaces need to be installed by a HETAS qualified engineer and frequently wood burning stoves require a chimney or flue to be lined. Wood burning stove installations with a lined chimney can cost around £500 to £1750, depending on what is involved.

2. Gas fires are easier to install and cost on average £300 - £350 to install and have to be certified by a Gas Safe Engineer (formally Corgi).

3. Electric fireplaces simply plug into a standard 13amp socket and homeowners frequently install these fireplaces themselves. A professional fireplace fitter would typically charge between £200 to £250 to install a electric fire and fire surround (depending on scenario).