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Furnace vs Fireplace: Which One is More Efficient?

Fire & Ice Heating and Air in Youngwood, PA, services fireplaces as well as furnaces. A common question we receive is whether a fireplace is more efficient than a furnace and thus cheaper to run. The answer depends on how you are using the equipment and what your goal is.

Fireplace vs. Furnace: Is It Either-Or?

No. Most homeowners do not choose between a furnace and a fireplace. Homeowners who have the option or are considering adding the option often want to know if it is more efficient to run the furnace or the fireplace. Well, this is where the “it depends” answer comes in.

Localized vs. Centralized Home Heating

A fireplace is similar to a space heater in that it provides heat to the room in which it is located. Heat will travel beyond that immediate area but will become less and less effective as it does. Furnaces are generally centralized in that the heated air is distributed throughout the home via ducts.

Zoned Heating

Using a fireplace to augment heat in a primary living space is an example of zoned heating. The term “zoned heating” also refers to a modern alternative to centralized systems. These systems have variable-speed blowers and multiple thermostats and can thus heat distinct zones at different levels.

And the Answer Is…

Whether a particular fireplace is more efficient than a particular furnace depends on their BTU ratings. Generally, the most efficient way to heat your home is to maintain the entire residence at a reasonable temperature and use your fireplace and other localized heating options to make the areas you use comfortably. As for a fireplace versus zoned heating, the fireplace will usually win since the heat is direct and does not have to travel through ducts.

Stay Warm with Fire & Ice

Fire & Ice Heating and Air is proud to serve Youngwood, PA, and the surrounding areas. We would love to consult with you on furnaces, fireplaces and other heating equipment. We also offer cooling, water heater, and indoor air quality services. Contact us at your convenience to schedule an appointment.