Winter. Snow and cold temperatures mean time for sledding, making snowmen, ice skating and other fun activities.

But it also means you might see your heating bill increase this time of year.

When it comes to keeping your home warm in the cold winter months, you have some options. Rustic cabins may be conducive to wood fireplaces, where you can hear the crackling of the wood on a chilly evening.

For your home, however, opting for a gas fireplace or gas furnace may help you keep the temperatures from falling.

But when it comes to choosing between a gas fireplace or a gas furnace, there are some important things to know. Especially when your monthly bills are on the line, you want to discover which option will fit your lifestyle – and your wallet – best.

Here, we share four things you should know about choosing between a fireplace or a furnace.

Know the Efficiency Levels

Before you’re able to determine whether a gas fireplace or gas furnace is best, you need to know some information about each appliance. Efficiency levels of a fireplace and furnace depend on the make, model, brand and other purchasing decisions.

An article from Evan Gillespie from Hunker.com notes that the differences come down to efficiency and heat output.

This measure of efficiency comes through a BTU measurement.

Understand Your BTUs

When figuring out which option is best for you, you want to know the BTUs of each appliance. A BTU consumption rating is a way to determine how much gas that appliance burns per hour, according to an article from Woodland Stoves.

BTU stands for British Thermal Units. According to Gillespie, one unit is measured by the amount of energy needed to raise one degree Fahrenheit of the temperature of one pound of water.

Gillespie also adds that the cost of gas, whether through a furnace or fireplace, is provided in a therm, which is 100,000 BTUs.

In determining the cost of operating a gas fireplace or furnace, you’ll need to know both the cost of gas per therm and the appliance’s fuel consumption.

An article from TemperaturePro DFW, a specialist in HVAC repair in Carrollton, TX, notes that your owner’s manual for your appliance may show two numbers. One consumption rate is for the highest setting, the other for the lowest setting.

Knowing these numbers, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on which appliance is best for you.

Benefits of a Gas Furnace

You may be tempted to simply choose whichever method uses the least amount of gas. However, there’s more to determine.

Both a gas fireplace and a gas furnace have certain things to consider.

For example,  Gillespie notes a drawback of a gas furnace is that they tend to use up more fuel. However, they do have great benefits. Compared to a gas fireplace, furnaces produce more heat. They also tend to be more efficient in converting energy to usable heat.

Because of this difference in efficiency,  Gillespie notes that gas furnaces may be a great option. While the cost-per-hour of using a gas furnace may be higher than a fireplace, a furnace can better heat up a larger area of your home.

Generally, if you’re wanting to heat up your entire house, a furnace is the more cost-effective and efficient way to do so.

But, it’s important to remember that each home is different. TemperaturePro DFW notes that with differences in room size and room size, efficiency levels may vary.

Benefits of a Fireplace

But let’s not forget about the benefits of a gas fireplace. While some fireplaces may have a lower efficiency rate than a furnace, they usually use less fuel. Therefore, if gas is more expensive in your area, a fireplace may be a more cost-effective option.

TemperaturePro DFW also says that a fireplace is great if you want your heat localized in one area. Unlike gas furnaces, gas fireplaces don’t transport heat through air ducts in your home. Therefore, heat is more efficiently brought to a particular area through a fireplace.

While each home is different, Woodland Stoves notes that the heat produced from a fireplace is different than through a furnace. They add that a lot of the heat from fireplaces comes from radiant heat. Radiant heat is absorbed directly by your body. You can get warm much faster this way compared to the convected heat from a furnace.

Such considerations are important to remember in determining which gas appliance is best for you.

When it comes to surviving a cold winter, you want to be sure that your heating appliance fits your home and lifestyle.

With these four tips, you can better determine which choice is better for you. While both a gas fireplace and a gas furnace bring heat to your home, they do so in different ways. Knowing which method is most effective for you will help you save money and stay warm with the temperatures drop.

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