Gas fireplace vs. central gas heat? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 12-04-2009, 02:32 AM - Thread Starter
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First of all, thanks to all of you who post here. I've been reading this board for over a year and have learned so much. Here's my situation: We have a gas fireplace (probably 10-20 years old, with glass doors and blower) in our main living area. The room heats up nicely with it on. Our furnace is also natural gas (about 45 years old). Do you think it's cheaper to run the gas fireplace to heat the main living area rather than using the furnace to heat the whole house? I normally keep the thermostat at 64 during the day, but am thinking I could set it lower and use the fireplace when we are feeling cold. Our house is well-insulated and the programmable thermostat is located near enough to the fireplace that it is affected by the heat produced there. Does anyone have experience using their gas fireplace as a main source of heat?
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#2 of 4 Old 12-04-2009, 02:52 AM
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I've been wondering the same thing. We recently moved into a house with a new (1-2 year old) gas insert and a new (1-2 year old) medium-high efficiency gas furnace. The therostat for our furnace is in the same room as the fire place, so if we run the fireplace, it kicks off the furnace. We've been running the furnace for the morning to early afternoon when we're getting up and ready and until our little one goes down for her nap. After that we turn the fire on and off as needed. Aside from using our fireplace exclusively for a month and then using the furnace exclusively for a month, I'm not sure how to tell which is more cost-effective.
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#3 of 4 Old 12-04-2009, 11:36 AM
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We have modern houses in our subdivision with fireplaces/blowers that can either burn gas or wood.

Anyone using the fireplace to help heat their first floor has switched to exclusively burning wood. Furnaces are specifically designed to capture and spread the heat from their burning of gas, fireplaces are not. My neighbors have told me their gas bills were $100-150 over typical winter month usage from furnace alone when using gas in their fireplaces. Getting a few cords of wood for the winter around here is cheaper.

(My fireplace has been on once in 6 years, so it's not something I've personally experimented with.)
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#4 of 4 Old 12-05-2009, 03:57 AM
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When we were running just the gas insert fireplace (20 years old, maybe) for heat our bill was about $85, whereas the furnace (new in 2004) costs us about $120 month for a 3600 square foot house. The fireplace is in our dining area and does a good job heating the kitchen and living room. The bedrooms and basement are freezing, however. I hate running the central heat (it's too drying) so we avoid it as long as possible. It got down to 10 degrees last night and we're still holding out.

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