Furnace vs Fireplace: Which One is More Efficient?

People in Missouri have all sorts of options when it comes to heating their homes, but the most common debate is probably furnace versus fireplace. Both options offer advantages, and the choice of whether you should go with a gas furnace or a gas fireplace may come down to personal preference and the design and size of your house. Among the factors you should consider are BTU ratings, efficiency and reliability.

What Is a British Thermal Unit?

Heating power is measured in British Thermal Units, or BTUs. One unit is equivalent to the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of a pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. BTU ratings give you as the homeowner an idea of how powerful a furnace or fireplace is. It should be noted, however, that the BTU rating of a particular furnace may not be directly comparable to that of a fireplace because of differences in their operation.

Judging the Efficiency of a Furnace Versus a Fireplace

For furnaces, the manufacturer will usually list the unit’s extraction efficiency in the manual. Extraction efficiency is about how much of the fuel is turned into heat. The problem with a furnace is that some of the heat is lost in the ductwork. For a fireplace, the amount of heat generated can be felt more directly since it does not have to travel through ducts. Since you won’t be able to measure the heat-loss ratio of your gas furnace, you’ll find it difficult to make a direct comparison to your gas fireplace, but the efficiency of the fireplace will certainly be comparable.

Differences in Reliability

Today’s highest-quality furnaces are more reliable than ever before, but you still can’t beat the reliability of a fireplace. With a fireplace, there is very little risk that the unit will fail to operate or require repairs. You simply burn fuel to produce heat. A properly maintained furnace can also be expected to last for many years, especially with periodic tune-ups from the professionals at Hoff Heating & AC.

The people in the O’Fallon area know they can rely on Hoff Heating & AC for any assistance they need with heating or cooling installation, maintenance or repair. Call us today to schedule an energy audit of your home so we can show you how to save money on your winter heating bills.