Springtime Heating: Fireplace vs. Furnace?

Yellow flowers peaking up from the snow

The temperature outside is rising, and so is the cost of heating your home. It makes sense that you’d start thinking about ways to minimize the costs of heating your home this spring. To that end, you may be estimating the cost of running your gas fireplace vs. furnace. Unlike electric fireplaces, gas fireplaces can generate a ton of heat, so would using it help you save money this spring? 

Potentially, using your fireplace with or instead of your furnace may be a great idea. That depends on your lifestyle, what temperature you’re comfortable with, and how efficient your gas fireplace is. Here’s what you need to know to compare your fireplace vs. furnace. 

What is Zone Heating and How Can it Help? 

Zone heating is where you allow different “zones” of your home to be at different temperatures. This is most common when you’re using a smart thermostat, connected to a zone heating system. The thermostat knows where you are, and heats only the areas of the home you’re in. The other areas are colder, which saves energy and money. 

You can use your fireplace to do the same kind of zone heating. You turn on your fireplace but don’t expect it to heat your whole home. Instead, you stay in the fireplace’s sphere of warmth and let the rest of the home be cold. 

You could also use your fireplace with your furnace. Turn your furnace on, but to a low temperature. Use the fireplace to bring the zone you’re in up to a more comfortable temperature. When you’re ready to leave the zone, let’s say to go to sleep, you just turn up the furnace. It takes less time to heat up, as the bedroom is already moderately warm. 

Living room with fireplaceIs Your Fireplace Efficient Enough? 

Gas fireplaces are less efficient than modern furnaces. However, if your fireplace is sufficiently efficient, zone heating should still work. Compare the AFUE and BTU ratings of your fireplace and furnace to understand how they compare. 

The BTU is a measurement of how much heat the fireplace puts out. A typical gas fireplace might make 30,000 BTUs. A furnace could make more than double that amount of heat. But, you may only need 30,000 BTUs to heat the zone your fireplace is in. 

AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. It is a measurement of how much fuel the appliance turns into heat. The rest is wasted. Modern furnaces have very high AFUEs, while fireplaces will have lower AFUEs. 

What’s the Best Way to Heat Your Home? 

Spring is here, and it has brought some warmer weather, so take advantage of it. Contact the experts at RB Heating ClimateCare if you have any questions about keeping your home at the optimal temperature. 

Get in touch with a member of our team today