A fireplace is a welcome addition to any home. It offers comfort and warmth and creates a welcoming place to relax. If you’re thinking of installing a gas fireplace, you have many options to consider. In addition to styles and aesthetics, fuel efficiency is probably the biggest factor in your decision. One of the biggest things you’ll want to know is how much operating this fireplace will cost. And to know that, you have to ask yourself: how much gas does a fireplace use?
How Much does a Gas Fireplace Cost to Run – Measuring Fireplace Heat
To understand how much gas a fireplace uses, you have to know how a fireplace’s heat output is measured. In the United States, this is measured with BTUs, an abbreviation that stands for British Thermal Unit.
A BTU is defined as the amount of heat needed to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. That’s the scientific definition, and it can be hard to visualize what that means exactly. But think about how much heat one single kitchen match generates when struck and you’ll have a good idea of the energy produced by one BTU.
How Much Gas does a Gas Fireplace Use – What Affects Gas Usage?
Calculating the annual cost of using your gas fireplace requires you to think about a few different factors, each of which has its own set of variables. These include:
Type of fireplace
Many manufacturers offer many different fireplace sizes and designs. Style and appearance are important, but so is efficiency. An efficient fireplace uses less gas, but how much less can vary depending on the size, design, and mechanisms powering the fireplace.
Size of the room
Every fireplace is rated to heat a certain square footage. The larger the room, the more BTUs your fireplace will use to keep the space warm. If the fireplace will be used to heat an entire home, the BTU use will be significantly greater.
Style of home
In addition to room size and the number of rooms, the age of your home can contribute to how much gas your fireplace uses. Older homes and homes that aren’t well-insulated may result in your fireplace using more gas than a more recently constructed or properly insulated home.
Type of gas
When it comes to gas fireplaces, you have two options: natural gas and propane gas. Natural gas is usually less expensive than propane, which is sometimes called LP (liquid petroleum) gas. But natural gas also burns twice as fast as propane. This means your fireplace will use more natural gas than propane when heating a similar-sized space.
While a fireplace is often used year-round to add atmosphere to a room, it will probably see more use in the winter. And if the fireplace is the only source of heat, it will use a lot more BTUs than if it’s used to supplement a room’s heat.
To Log or Not to Log
When choosing a gas fireplace, one of the biggest factors to consider is that of design. Broadly speaking, you have two choices: gas log sets and gas fireplace inserts.
This version is the traditional “fake log” design that’s meant to sit inside a traditional fireplace. These sets can be quite inefficient as much of the heat they generate is lost through the chimney. For gas logs, the standard BTU range is around 60,000 to 90,000 per hour.
These are typically self-contained units and burn fuel more efficiently than gas logs. They can be placed inside a traditional fireplace, but they’re also available as stand-alone components. They offer a broader BTU output, ranging from between 10,000 and 70,000 hourly.
The answer to how much gas a fireplace uses isn’t an easy one to answer. Many factors come into play when making these calculations. In general, a gas fireplace will use between 10,000 and 90,000 BTUs per hour. And once you establish how many BTUs your gas fireplace will use, you can make a rough estimate of how much the fireplace will cost to operate depending on the price of natural or propane gas in your area.
If you have any questions about gas fireplaces and how many BTUs they use, please post in the comments. And if you found this article interesting, please share it on your social media channels.