How Much Does An Electric Fire Cost To Run?

We often get asked this question, so we thought we’d clear it up once and for all. The answer is not as straightforward as you might think. This is because it depends on a few factors, like the wattage of the fire, and how much your utility company charges for electricity. Let’s look at the wattage first.

What Is The Wattage Of An Electric Fire?

This is how electrical power is quantified, the higher the wattage, the more power the fire will have and the faster it will reach the desired temperature. The higher the power, the more it costs to run as well but more on that later. Electric fires start at around 600 watts and rise to 3000 watts.

The average wattage for an electric fire is 1500 watts, but most have 2 heat settings, typically 600 and 1200, or 1000 and 2000. As we said earlier, the wattage rating determines how much power the fire is able to use.

How Do Utility Companies Charge For Electricity?

The rate electricity companies charge is by the kilowatts used per hour, this is signified by the following characters kW/h which represents kilowatts per hour. This gives us a slight problem, we know the wattage of the fire, but they charge in kilowatts not watts. To convert watts to kilowatts divide by 1000.

For instance 1500 watts divided by 1000 equals 1.5 kilowatts, and looks like this:

1500 ÷ 1000 = 1.5

Now we have our kilowatts, we need to look at our electricity bill and see how much they charge for a unit of electricity. It will be something like cost per unit is 18.54 pence kW/h. This means a 1 kW fire will cost 18.54 pence per hour of running time. 

Using our 1.5 kW fire and the average cost per unit or electricity at 18.54 pence we can see it would cost 27.81 pence to use that fire for 1 hour. The equation looks like this:

18.54 x 1.5 = 27.81

How Much Does It Cost To Run An Electric Fire?

We now have our cost per unit (in this case 18.54 pence per kW/h) so all we need is the actual wattage rating and the sums are easy to work out. 

Costings Per Hour For Power Ratings Per Hour At 18.54 Pence Per Unit

Wattage Cost Per Hour
500 watts (0.5 kW)9.27 pence
800 watts (0.8 kW)14.83 pence
1000 watts (1 kW)18.54 pence
1200 watts (1.2 kW)22.25 pence
1500 watts (1.5 kW)27.81 pence
2000 watts (2 kW)37.08 pence
2500 watts (2.5 kW)46.35 pence
3000 watts (3 kW)55.62 pence

This is based on maximum power for each wattage value, if you used the lower setting option it would naturally cost less. Just compare the 1 kW with the 2 kW to see the difference.

Electric Fires Compared With Other Types Of Fire

So we now know how much it costs to run an electric fire, but what about other types of fire?

Let’s compare the costs of each type of fire per kilowatt.

Type Of Fire (1 kW)Cost Per Hour (1 kW/h)
Electric 1kw18.54 pence
Gas Fire (Flueless) 1kW5 pence
Wood Burner Approx 1kW Bought wood23.5 pence
Open Wood Fire 1kW  Bought wood 80 pence
Gas Fire (open Flame) 1kW40 pence

As you can see electric is not the cheapest, but it’s not the dearest either. Electricity comes in second out of 5. But when judged by environmental damage, electricity produces no harmful greenhouse gases, no poisons and no smoke.

Energy-efficiency

When looking at the figures for energy-efficiency, electric fires are 100% energy-efficient because all of the energy they consume is converted to heat. Whereas open wood burning fires can be as low as 10% efficient, log burning stoves 75% efficient and gas fires 50% efficient.

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FlameKo Dilton 50"/127cm 3 in 1 Electric Fireplace, Freestanding, Wall Mounted, Recessed, 9 Colour Flame Effect, Media Wall Compatible, 900W - 1800W Heater, Remote Control
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SaleBestseller No. 2
Warmlite Whitby LED Electric Freestanding Fire with Remote Control, Adjustable Thermostat, 2000W, Brass Effect
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NETTA Stove Heater Electric Fireplace With Fire Flame Effect, Freestanding Portable Electric Log Wood Burner Effect - 1900W
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SaleBestseller No. 4
Zanussi 2 KW Stainless Steel Electric Inset Fire Stove with 2 Heat Settings, Timer and Remote Control, Independent LED Flame Effect, 20-30 m2 Room Size ZEFIST1001SS
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How To Save Money On Heating Bills

The most effective ways to save on heating bills is to exclude draughts. Consider:

  • Loft Insulation
    By insulating your loft with sufficient insulation, you can save up to 25% on your heating bill.
  • Cavity Wall Insulation
    Installing cavity wall insulation could save up to 35% of heat lost through external walls.
  • Heavy Curtains
    Windows and doors can be draughty especially in older properties, hanging curtains with thermal linings could prevent as much as 25% heat loss.
  • Draught Excluders
    By fitting draught excluders to your windows and doors you can save around 10% of heat loss.
  • Window Blinds
    Window blinds can prevent 10% of heat loss through double glazed windows.
  • Double Glazing
    Ill fitting or single glazed windows lose lots of energy. Having double glazing fitted can prevent as much as 50% of energy loss.

How Much Does An Electric Fire Cost To Buy?

Money

The price of electric fires varies from store to store, brand, model and type but just to give you an idea the average costs for an electric fire are:

  • £25 for a 1500 watt freestanding stove with realistic flames.
  • £100 for an inset 750/1500 watt with adjustable timer, remote control and choice of flame colours.
  • £130 for a wall mounted 1000/2000 watt with timer and remote control.
  • £200 for a free standing suite 1500 watts with 3 heat settings and a thermal safety cut out.
  • £200 for a basket fire 2000 watts 3D log effect, quiet fan and a thermal safety cut out.
  • £285 for a freestanding suite 1000/2000 watts, thermostat and safety cut out.
  • £380 for a wall mounted, 1000/2000 watts, 7-day programmable, and remote control.

Gas Fires Vs Electric Fires

Gas is cheaper to buy than electricity. Electricity costs on average 4 times as much as gas. So it is always cheaper to run gas heaters than electric heaters. That said, you lose around 50% of the heat generated by a gas heater directly up the chimney or flue.

Add to this the annual service charge, installation costs,  and any maintenance costs, and gas doesn’t work out much cheaper. Plus there’s no chance of carbon monoxide poisoning with electricity, and there’s not much chance of an explosion with an electric fire.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to run a 1kw electric fire?

How much it costs to run a 1 kW electric fire depends on how much your utility company charges you for electricity. If you are charged 18 pence per kW/h, then a 1 kW electric fire will cost 18 pence to run for 1 hour.

Are electric fires expensive to run?

Electric fires are not expensive to run, they are more expensive than gas but much cheaper than wood burners. A 1kW electric fire costs an average of 18 pence per hour to run.

What type of fire is the most energy-efficient, electric or gas?

The most energy-efficient type of fire to run is an electric fire. Electric fires are 100% energy-efficient because all of the power they use is used for heating.

Do electric fireplaces need to be vented?

Electric fireplaces do not need to be vented. They do not produce any emissions so they are completely safe to use.

How long does an electric fireplace last?

An electric fire should last 20 years, but the bulb will probably need replacing every 2 years.

Do electric fireplaces need maintenance?

Electric fireplaces do not need any maintenance apart from dusting and the light bulb replacing every 2 years or so.

Do all electric fireplaces have blowers?

All electric fireplaces have blowers apart from infrared electric fireplaces, they produce heat in a different way and don’t need a blower.

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