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Keeping Cozy During the Holidays: Furnace or Fireplace?

Keeping Cozy During the WinterIt costs money to stay warm during winter. So, if you’ve got a fireplace and a furnace, you’re probably wondering, is it cheaper to run one over the other? The answer to this question is usually yes, but you also have your comfort to think about. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to using both.

A furnace is obviously very convenient for the fact that it distributes heat evenly throughout your entire home, and you get to pick the temperature setting. If you’re in the kitchen and your kids are in their bedrooms, you’ll all benefit from the warmth. Use the furnace when you need several rooms heated at once.

A disadvantage to the furnace is the cost on your utility bill. When you heat the entire house, you pay for the entire house. Most furnaces run off gas, so expect your gas bill to be higher during the winter months.

Here are some energy saving tips when using your furnace. For every degree you lower your thermostat, you save up to 5% on heating costs, as long as it’s between 60-70-degrees*. So wear a sweater and set the temperature a couple degrees lower. During the overnight hours or when leaving the house for awhile, lower the temperature even more to about 60-degrees. This is where programmable thermostats come in handy.

Avoid changing the temperature setting too much. Only adjust the setting if you’ll keep it that way for at least four hours. It costs more to re-heat a home than to keep it at a consistent temperature.

That brings us to the obvious first advantage of using a fireplace – a lower utility bill. In fact, a wood-burning fireplace is virtually independent of the utility company. All you pay for are wood and matches.

A fireplace is perfect when you only need to heat the immediate space. If your family all gathers in the main living area during the evening you might consider lowering the furnace and starting a fire.

A fireplace is the epitome of coziness. Use it to create a homey setting when you have guests over.

Another great time to use your fireplace is during a storm. If the power goes out you’ll still have heat and light. The fireplace can also double as a stove. Place a pan of soup or water over the flames and you’ll still have hot meals until power is restored.

One disadvantage to using a fireplace is this: the fire sucks air from your house to feed the flames and fills the empty space with outside air. This is why the rest of your house feels colder when burning a fire. You can help prevent this by cracking open a window in the same room as the fireplace. This will provide air for the fire without pulling it from the rest of the house.

If there is a ceiling fan in the same room as the fireplace, turn it on to blow air from the ceiling to the floor. This pushes the warmer air down and evens out the temperature in the room.

Switch it Up

Ultimately, this doesn’t have to be an either or situation. Choose the best heating method for the situation and then be sure you keep in mind these tips for reducing your heating bill. The results? A warm, cozy Holiday Season.


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