# Cost effectiveness of fireplace with insert vs electric furnace

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

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. 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. Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 19:47