How Much Does it Cost to Run an Electric Fireplace?

Paramount Electric Fireplace Insert in Living Room

Compared to wood-burning and gas fireplaces, the electric version is typically much easier and cheaper to install, it’s eco friendly and it can also be an economical way to provide supplemental heating in your home.

Many electric fireplace inserts and stoves can heat up to 400 square feet, with some infrared models heating up to 1,000 square feet. If you find that your family spends a majority of the time in one area of the house, like the living room or family room, if can make sense to add supplemental or zone heating to those areas instead of paying to heat the entire house.

So, How Much Does it Cost to Run an Electric Fireplace?

The cost, of course, will depend on the utility rates in your area, the type of electric fireplace or stove that you get and, of course, your own power usage.

Here’s the short answer:

According to, even though electric fireplaces produce less heat per unit, virtually no heat is lost up the chimney – making the warmth that they do produce, more usable and efficient.

On average, electric heaters cost 8-23 cents per hour.

I know, I know, that’s a wide range, but stick with me here.

Something else to consider is the fact that you can operate an electric model with flames only (no heat) anytime you don’t need additional heat but simply want to enjoy flickering flames. Operating costs in no-heat mode end up running 1-2 cents per hour due to the energy efficient LED lights.

Here is a simple way to figure out the math:

Watts x Hours Per Day x kWh Rate

Let’s take, for example, the Paramount electric fireplace insert, which operates at 1500 watts and produces 5,112 BTUs. (This is fairly standard, as most units are designed to use only about 1,500 watts and put out 5,000 BTUs.) It can heat up to 400 square feet (units with hight BTUs typically heat a greater amount of space but will also cost more to run).

We know that the watts = 1,500. If we plan to use the electric fireplace 5 hours per day, we multiply 1,500 x 5.

Next we need to check our utility bill to see the kWh rate that we are charged in our area. (Keep in mind that this can also vary by time of day.) We’ll use 0.15 in this example. You can use this simple calculator here.

1,500 Watts x 5 Hours/Day x 0.15 kWh Rate = $1.125 cost per day

This translates to about 23 cents per hour. Not bad for no chimney cleaning, no ash removing, no gas fumes and an easy automatic remote-controlled fire. Plus, you may be able to lower the thermostat on your whole house heating unit. The fireplace essentially pays for itself!

Gas VS Electric Fireplace Costs

Red Electric Portable Fireplace from Plow & Hearth
courtesy of Plow & Hearth

You may find in your city that the cost to heat your home with an electric vs a gas fireplace are very similar. If you still can’t decide, compare these three things:

  • The cost of the unit itself plus installation costs
  • The features of both units
  • And whether or not you think you will want to use the fireplace in the “no heat mode”.

Portable fireplace heaters usually have the same efficiency as other space heaters. However, they have the extra advantage of looking cool. You can also use them in flame-only mode.

How Much Does it Cost to Run an Electric Fireplace…

Tips for Saving Money:

  • Switch to “flame-only” mode when you don’t need additional heat. This only costs pennies per hour to operate.
  • If you are on a tiered rate system, avoid peak hours. They can sometimes double the cost of use.
  • If possible, use heaters in rooms that do not have vaulted ceilings because heat rises.