Are Electric Fires Expensive to Run?

Date: 9 February 2023

When the cold weather hits it is the heating we turn to in order to provide us with some warmth. However, since energy costs have risen to uncomfortable levels many are reluctant to embrace the benefit a good fire or heating system brings them.

It is understandable, and having to weigh up the options of whether it is affordable to turn on the heating or not is a cause for concern for many families.

One particular form of heating that raises a lot of questions is the electric fire. Customers are frequently concerned about how expensive it is to run one and whether they should be considering an alternative fuel source to warm their home.

At Ignition, we understand this and that is why we will always endeavour to provide customers with a fully transparent service by supplying a variety of heating appliances for the home.  In this week’s blog, we decided to delve into the costs of electric fires to help reassure those you of that are considering the investment.

Do electric fires cost a lot to run?

It may come as a surprise, but electric fires are in fact cheaper to run than you might think. We believe many people confuse this cliché with electric heaters which do eat a lot of electricity and send bills skyrocketing.

As an example. if you own an electric fire that shows a 1.2kW level of power and you are currently charged 25p per unit of electricity, by multiplying the unit cost by the energy level of the fireplace, you will see that for an hour of use, your electric fire will cost you 30p. Switch it to the low power setting and you will see this cost drop further.

When compared to other fuel sources used for fireplaces, electricity fairs relatively well. Based on a 1kW fire, it ranks second only to a flueless gas fire for cost per kilowatt hour.

An electric fire can be a smart investment for warming your home if you shop around. In most cases and depending on the type, you will find them costing less to run than gas fires or wood burners. In addition to the running costs being lower, you will also benefit from the efficiency an electric fire can bring.

How energy efficient are electric fires?

Electric fires are extremely efficient, more efficient than any other fuel source. So electric heat is more efficient than traditional heat. Why? You may ask, it is because all the energy converts into heat energy rather than being wasted. No energy gets lost in the process of generating heat with an electric fire whereas, with more traditional fires, you can lose both energy and heat up a chimney, out of vents and so on.

This puts electric fires at an almost 100% efficiency rating. This shouldn’t deter you from other heating types though as the best multi-fuel stoves also operate with high levels of efficiency although not quite as high as 100%.

Furthermore, by being able to control the level of heat you can determine how much energy you need to be using and as a result control your costs better.

Electric fire running costs

We have already shown that you may be spending less by using an electric fire but what is it that makes the cost up and how could you save even more with your electric fire?

  • Look at the wattage of your electric fire, many are powered at 0.7kW and 2kW. Much higher than this could see you spending more than necessary to get the same results.
  • What do you use your electric fire for? With the pleasing aesthetic you can turn it on with the heat function turned off and instead create an ambient glow and see very little electricity used. Once the heat is turned on, obviously the costs will rise but having this control allows you to monitor your usage
  • Electricity itself is now costing more than ever before so with that in mind it stands to reason that an electric fire will accumulate costs when it is in use whereas a wood burner will not. As a result, optimize the times you use your fire and ensure it is turned off when you don’t need it. Even if this means turning it off at the mains too!

Can I reduce the energy costs of an electric fire?

Whilst electric fires do provide a great level of warmth and comfort and are among the more economical heating options, there are always ways that you can optimize your opportunities to save money.

  • Insulating wherever possible is always a good start but can be expensive, long term the savings will benefit you but should the initial cost seem a little high, look at fixing any drafty doors and windows to help keep the heat in and not out!
  • As we mentioned earlier, even turning off at the mains can help save money but also consider the features of your fire. Some have additional lighting, effects and in some instances, sound. Using these will increase the amount of electricity needed. Simply turn them off but still benefit from the warmth generated.
  • Look for the low-power function and see how much you can save. Many modern electric fires have an economy or low-power setting which allows for decent cost savings but a good level of heat output.
  • Don’t set timers to preheat the room, this causes unnecessary use of electricity that will cost you more than you need to spend.  Turn it on only when in the room and you’ll be surprised by how quickly the whole area is heated and how much you could be saving.

At Ignition Fires, we are delighted to be able to offer a wide range of stunning electric fireplaces in our fireplace showrooms. With locations in both Cranleigh and Holmwood, yet serving the areas of Redhill, Reigate, Dorking and even London, our team can help deliver and install high-quality and economical electric fireplaces in Surrey and beyond. Get in touch today to discover what we can do for you or visit our Cranleigh fireplaces showroom to see our stock up close!