Now that winter is here I have been using my fireplace (that has an insert) more and more instead of my furnace that has a electric heater. I was wondering which method of heating would be the most cost effective.

I pay $0.10/KWH for power and $5.00 for 0.60 cubic feet of wood.

The fireplace insert has a 80 watt motor that blows air.

There are a lot of articles about a fireplace is very inefficient since most of the air that your are heating is going up the chimney but there is little documentation on how a fireplace insert would change that. My assumption is that it would more efficient since the fire is in a chamber that is (more) sealed and the heat is being absorbed by the metal. There is also a small fan that blows the heat to the room.

Thanks for the help!

  • What's your budget? Let me rephrase, how much money are you using up every winter? Also does your power company have any special electric rates? Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 22:50

1 Answer 1


electricity, hands down.

electricity at $0.10 = $330 / cord. (using estimate from link)

your wood is $1,065 / cord. ( 128cuft/cord * (1/0.6) * $5 ). that's high btw...

the electricity is 100% efficient, inserts are roughly 50%. checkout http://extension2.missouri.edu/g5450 for more info and comparisons.

  • At that rate the op needs to go around the neighborhood looking for downed trees that they can cut up for firewood - then it is probably cheaper.
    – Ken
    Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 9:52
  • So you are saying that if I can get wood at $150/cord (instead of $300 since wood burning is 50% efficient) or less: It will break even cost/efficiency-wise? I agree the wood cost is high.
    – Denis W
    Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 19:25
  • yes, that's what the numbers show at least. your results may somewhat vary depending on a million things. you could find a time when you have two days with equal hi/lo temps, and use one fuel exclusively each day, measuring and summing up the fuel used, to calculate an actual cost/day on your house of each fuel.
    – dandavis
    Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 19:47

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