How Much Propane Does a Fireplace Use?


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While fireplaces have been the traditional type of heating source for homes in the United States since its inception, wood fireplaces specifically have been quickly falling out of fashion as many people are turning towards safer alternatives that are more efficient sources of heating and take less work to maintain. One of the most popular alternatives homeowners turn too has been the utilization of propane fireplaces as their primary heating source for their homes due to their reliability and ease of use. For these homeowners and those debating about converting their wood-burning fireplace over to a propane fireplace, a primary concern comes down to how much fuel these propane fireplaces utilize and if it makes sense for them to lean more on them to save money. In this article, we will be covering how much propane the average propane fireplace utilizes, and various other factors that go into efficiency rates so you can be prepared and plan ahead for costs

How Much Propane Does a Fireplace Use In An Hour?

While a propane-fueled fireplace generally is the most efficient method of heating a home fuel-wise, there are various factors in play that determine how much propane any given propane fireplace utilizes. As a general rule of thumb, an average propane fireplace output can output up to 91,000 BTU’s for every one gallon of propane burned. While this is the average BTU output of a standard propane fireplace, the exact output and fuel usage per hour of your own propane fireplace is dependent upon its fuel efficiency rating so be sure to check the model and brand of your own fireplace to determine its actual fuel usage amount.

For how much output the average propane fireplace burns per hour, this can vary between 20,000 to 35,000 BTU’s per hour depending on the type of fireplace and its manufacturer. Taking the average BTU output of a gallon of propane, this would equate to a propane fireplace burning between .22 to .38 gallons of propane per hour while being operated.

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How Much Propane Does a Fireplace Use In A Day?

The standard run time of a propane fireplace for heating a home equates to around 8 hours of operation time every 24 hours, meaning that for the average propane fireplace in the United States, you can expect to burn between 1.76 to 3.04 gallons of propane per day depending on the efficiency of your own propane fireplace. On average that’s a lot less compared to a propane furnace.

Is It Cheaper To Run A Propane Fireplace or An Electric Fireplace?

While the convenience of having an electric fireplace means not needing to source any type of additional source of fuel to heat your home, in most parts of the United States it is generally not suggested to run an electric fireplace to heat a room when compared to a propane fireplace, as an electric fireplace outputs a fraction of the BTU’s when compared to a propane fireplace. We have a similar scenario when propane water heating is compared to an electric water heating.

The average BTU output of an electric fireplace ranges between 1,000 BTUs to 7,000 BTUs per hour depending on the type of electric fireplace you have installed in your home, drawing about 1,500 watts at 12.5 amps. The current average cost of electricity in the United States equates to around 12 cents per kilowatt hour, meaning that it will cost roughly $.15 cents per hour to run. While this pricing figure may seem persuasive, it is important to keep in mind how much heat is actually being output by the fireplace when compared to a propane fireplace.

The average propane fireplace can output between 20,000 to 35,000 BTUs per hour costing roughly $.58 to $.93 per hour to run based on the national average of propane at this time. The average propane fireplace will output a much higher amount of BTUs than a standard electric fireplace, meaning that you would need to run an electric fireplace for much longer durations to match the BTU output of a propane fireplace, making it less ideal as a heating solution for your home and can end up costing you more in the long run due to needing to keep an electric fireplace running for much longer.

Is It Cheaper To Run A Propane Fireplace or A Wood Burning Fireplace?

While equating the price of running and maintaining a wood-burning fireplace when compared to a propane fireplace can be a bit tricky due to the nature of how a traditional wood fireplace operates, generally a propane fireplace is more cost-efficient when compared to a wood fireplace, as well as being a much safer source of heating for your home with much less work involved.

The average 36-inch fireplace found in many American homes can consume up to four 16-inch pieces of wood per hour, meaning that you could theoretically consume an entire cord of wood in a matter of 7 days if you were to keep a fire continuously burning at this rate. While the price of a cord of wood can vary depending on where you are in the country, the national average of a cord of wood is around $300 and requires a large amount of space to store. Also, a wood-burning fireplace requires the user to manually tend and feed the fire in order to keep it going, as opposed to a propane fireplace that has a continuous feed of propane from its fuel tanks that can store a higher quantity of potential fuel in a fraction of the space, as well as not requiring the user to constantly tend to this fire to ensure it is burning safely and correctly.

Benefits Of Installing a Propane Fireplace

When compared to a traditional wood-burning fireplace as touched on in the previous section, a propane fireplace’s primary benefit comes down to cost and efficiency. On average, a propane fireplace can continuously burn up to forty times as long on average as a conventional wood-burning fireplace before requiring the user to provide more fuel or perform any type of maintenance or cooldown, making it ideal for users who do not wish to perform the labor of feeding a traditional wood fire. As well as being more reliable, a propane fireplace requires minimal maintenance and can be turned on and off as easily as flipping a switch or pressing a button. For these reasons, many people decide to switch their traditional wood fireplace over to propane to save time, effort, and costs overall while maintaining the traditional style of a fireplace.

Final Thoughts

While there are many different variations of propane fireplaces available for you to install in your home, as well as various options for converting your existing natural gas fireplace or wood fireplace over to a propane fireplace, these units will typically consume .22 to .38 gallons of propane per hour or 1.76 to 3.04 gallons of propane per day depending on the efficiency of your own propane fireplace. Total consumption for the year will depend heavily on where you are located in the United States as the local climate plays a heavy role in how much heat needs to be produced to live comfortably in your home.

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Ryan McCabe

Ryan McCabe

Ryan is a home and small business energy expert, having overseen retail propane, heating oil, and HVAC services companies. On ComparePropane, Ryan writes about things that people should know when shopping for or using propane in their homes and businesses. 

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