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What Saves on My Energy Bill? A Natural Gas Fireplace vs MagikFlame

Electricity meters

In this post, you will learn how efficient a natural gas fireplace is compared to an electric fireplace:

  • The biggest impact on energy savings
  • How Americans heat their homes
  • How fuel efficient is gas heating?
  • Is natural gas environmentally friendly?
  • How fuel efficient is electricity?
  • Is electricity environmentally friendly?
  • Central heating versus zone heating
  • Options for energy-efficient room heaters
  • What is infrared heating?
  • What are MagikFlame’s other fuel-saving features?
  • Cost comparison calculator: natural gas vs electric fireplace
  • The MagikFlame story
  • How MagikFlame is built
  • MagikFlame reviews
  • MagikFlame electric fireplace buying guide
  • Financing and payment plans
  • Small changes that add up

What saves on my energy bill?

Saving on your energy bill is a conscious decision. Your whole family should be on board. It not only involves changing some daily habits but also involves lifestyle changes. The degree of difficulty ranges from simply opening or closing your curtains to researching the latest energy-saving appliances. Find out how you can cut down your energy bill without sacrificing the well-being of your family.

What makes the biggest impact on energy savings?

On average, Americans spend more than $200 per month on electricity and gas to power, heat, and cool their homes. That amounts to more than $2,400 per year and, depending on local pricing, can be much higher.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, over half that amount pays for heating and cooling in the typical household. Heating consumes about five times the energy of cooling.

The remainder pays for water heating, lights, and electronics combined. If you want to lower your energy bill significantly, it makes sense to address the biggest expense: climate control.

How Americans heat their Homes

The most popular residential heating fuels include, from most popular to less popular:

  • Natural gas – 49 percent
  • Electricity – 34 percent
  • Heating oil – 6 percent
  • Liquid propane – 5 percent
  • Other – 4 percent
  • Wood – 2 percent

A central, forced-air furnace is by far the most common heating appliance in contemporary homes. About 47 percent of homes in the U.S. have furnaces that run on gas. In contrast, about 36 percent have electric central heating.

How fuel efficient is natural gas?

Annual fuel utilization efficiency – AFUE – is a standard measure for central heating units. Manufacturers must post the AFUE on each heating appliance, so consumers can calculate their future fuel expense for any given furnace.

Over the decades, furnace makers have found ways to gradually improve the fuel efficiency of their products. Older gas furnaces had AFUEs, the measure of fuel consumed to the heat generated, as low as 56 percent. Gas furnaces’ AFUES currently range from about 80 percent to 98.5 percent.

Therefore, newer gas furnaces average less than 90 percent fuel efficiency. The other 10 percent is the heat lost through venting, chimneys, a flue, and ductwork. You could say that 10 percent of your fuel dollars go up the chimney.

Natural gas efficiency

Is natural gas environmentally friendly?

Natural gas is a fossil fuel that exists between layers of the earth. The extraction and combustion of this non-renewable resource is a leading cause of climate change.

Although, as a home heating fuel, this gas produces half the carbon emissions of burning coal. Due to the rapid growth of the industry, though, natural gas production has become more of a threat to the environment than the waning coal industry.

The process of accessing and producing natural gas releases methane into the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is about 90 percent more harmful than CO2 in terms of rising temperatures worldwide.

Almost a third of U.S. methane emissions come from abandoned production site leaks. Rather than being environmentally friendly, this fossil fuel poses one of its greatest threats as the industry continues to grow.

natural gas fireplace

How fuel efficient is electricity?

Electric heating is more fuel efficient than natural gas or propane. Electric-resistant heaters such as baseboard units convert 100 percent of the fuel they use into heat. Infrared heaters, like the kind used in deluxe modern electric fireplaces like MagikFlame, are also 100 percent fuel efficient.

Forced-air electric furnaces are not quite so efficient. Not all of the electricity they use goes directly into heating. Some power the electric fan that blows the heated air to the rooms in your home. This air loses some heat as it travels through the ductwork too.

Without regular maintenance, such as replacing dirty filters, electric furnaces are even less efficient. It takes more energy to blow warm air through a clogged filter. Other components do not work at top efficiency without regular cleaning.

Despite the higher AFUEs of many electric heating appliances, you would still save on your energy bill with a gas-fueled central furnace with an exhaust flue. That’s because electricity costs more than gas or propane.

Sustainable home heating

Is electricity environmentally friendly?

Like fossil fuel production, the generation of electricity affects the environment. Currently, about 65 percent of the electricity in the U.S. is the result of fossil fuel combustion. Coal-burning and natural gas-burning power plants release greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

Nevertheless, the renewable energy industry is the fastest-growing source of electricity. In the last two decades, it has expanded by more than 100 percent.

In 2018, renewable resources such as solar, wind, and water power generated 17 percent of the electricity in the U.S. Experts predict that solar energy will account for 48 percent of electricity generation by 2050.

Renewables do not emit greenhouse gases. Therefore, electricity from renewable resources is environmentally friendly. More and more often, home builders are choosing an electric fireplace for a new home or a home improvement project, mainly due to their efficiency and environmental friendliness.

Central heating vs Zone heating

Central heating depends upon a primary heating appliance that converts energy to heat. A fan distributes the heated air into the ductwork. The heating ducts convey the heated air throughout the house through registers in each room.

HVAC systems designed for zone heating work with a series of dampers or baffles that allow you to shut off the forced air in unoccupied rooms while directing heat to those that are occupied. You can get the same effect by shutting the vents in the rooms you aren’t using.

However, even these zoned systems lose heat through the ductwork as it travels from the central furnace to specific rooms. These systems require electricity for the heat distribution fan, too.

A simpler zoned heating system that saves more energy dollars consists of a room-sized electric or natural gas fireplace. Each heater has its own thermostat, allowing you to customize your energy usage more closely.

You won’t be paying for heat lost through ductwork because an electric or gas fireplace delivers heat directly to the room around it. When you leave the room, you simply adjust the heater with your remote control for minimal energy waste.

Installation of an electric or gas stove is less expensive too. You won’t need to add any heating ducts. You don’t have to remodel to make space. An electric fireplace doesn’t even require a gas line. It just plugs into a standard electric outlet.

Options for energy-efficient room heaters

Room heater options include:

  • Baseboard heater
  • Wall-mounted heater
  • Wood-burning fireplaces
  • Vented gas, propane gas, or dual fuel heater
  • Natural gas fireplace
  • Ventless gas fireplace
  • Ventless electric fireplace

Electric baseboard heaters are 100 percent efficient. However, many homeowners dislike their mid-20th-century vibe. It clashes with contemporary home decor. It collects dust and dings because it is low to the ground. Electric baseboard heaters also pose a fire hazard if they come into contact with furnishings or draperies.

Wall-mounted electric heaters are typically industrial in appearance. Many use some of the electricity they draw to blow heated air into the room, so they do not convert 100 percent of it into heat. Also, they raise the same fire risks as baseboard heaters.

Wood-burning fireplaces are notoriously inefficient. They deliver all the sensory benefits of a traditional fireplace, but they expel most of the heat up the chimney.

A direct vent gas fireplace loses some heat up the chimney, too, along with byproducts of combustion. These include CO2, water vapor, and smoke. A vented propane, dual fuel, or natural gas fireplace is not 100 percent fuel efficient, so part of your energy expense is wasted.

An unvented natural gas fireplace comes in many styles from manufacturers such as Duluth Forge, Pleasant Hearth, and Monessen Hearth. The current gas fireplace market features contemporary designs that enhance rather than detract from many home décor schemes.

The most efficient room heaters are ductless and ventless. A gas fireplace can be nearly 100 percent fuel efficient. A ventless gas fireplace exhausts only a small percentage of the fuel it burns. Additionally, fuel is less expensive than electricity. An unvented gas fireplace, however, poses health risks that you should be aware of before purchasing.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy does not recommend a gas-burning vent-free fireplace for home use. An unvented gas log unit emits water vapor, nitrous oxide, and carbon monoxide that puts your family’s health at risk. An unvented gas fireplace also depletes the oxygen from your interior air.

The same office states that electric heaters are the only non-vented appliances that are safe for home heating. They do not affect your air quality like a natural gas fireplace does.

The latest vent-free electric fireplaces offer the ambiance of a traditional fireplace with real-looking flames and a realistic log set. They come with attractive, real wood surrounds. What’s more, heaters like MagikFlame, which uses infrared radiant technology, are 100 percent fuel efficient.

Room heater

What is infrared heating?

Radiant infrared heating is another technology that makes MagikFlame unique. Each fireplace features a 5,200 BTU heater that fills the space around it with a quick infusion of warmth.

This type of heating relies on electromagnetic radiation to transfer the radiant heat it produces to cooler objects in the room. Thus, furnishings, floor coverings, and even people benefit immediately from that heat. In turn, heat radiates slowly from these objects into the cooler air until the room itself is nice and warm.

Infrared heat technology is especially effective and energy efficient. It helps you save on your energy bills because it converts all the electricity it consumes into heat with zero waste.

What are MagikFlame’s other fuel-saving features?

The deluxe MagikFlame fireplace can operate independently of its infrared heater. That means you can enjoy the ambiance of a real fire in the viewing area even when you don’t need additional warmth. Running the HoloFlame fire takes only a minimum of energy.

Another way that MagikFlame products help you save energy is by using LED lighting. It saves money over halogen or incandescent light bulbs. LEDs last far longer too.

In addition, each MagikFlame electric fireplace has a unit-mounted touchscreen controller with LED backlighting. It makes regulating temperature to maximize energy savings quick and easy. You can use this control pad to program your fireplace for ultimate energy savings.

You can set it to fire up when you are due home from work and then shut it down at bedtime. It won’t waste electricity when nobody is at home.

The smartphone remote control app furthers your savings by allowing you to activate, deactivate or adjust your MagikFlame fireplace from anywhere you happen to be. Even if you realize you forgot to turn it off before you left for work, a few taps of your smartphone will take care of it.

The smartphone remote control is superior to the millivolt controller that typically comes with a gas log set. Although millivolt handheld units use very little electricity to activate the gas fireplace, they operate only in close proximity to the fireplace, up to about 20 feet or so.

Additionally, not all gas fireplaces are designed for use with a millivolt remote thermostat control. Some that have electronic ignition rather than a pilot flame use conventional controllers. An electronic ignition needs an electric connection to start the fireplace, and it won’t ignite a gas log in a power outage.

Cost comparison calculator: Gas vs Electric heating

If you’d like to see for yourself just how cost-effective a deluxe MagikFlame electric fireplace can be, try the cost calculator. It allows you to plug in your own data to personalize the results.

You select how often you use the appliance, with or without the heating element. You also choose the amount of time you keep the fireplace running. That way, you won’t end up with a cost calculation based on someone else’s lifestyle.

Don’t forget to compare the purchase price of a gas stove with that of an electric fireplace. Be sure to figure out the installation and the annual maintenance and repair costs.

You’ll see these costs are less for a freestanding MagikFlame because it doesn’t require a gas line hook-up or annual maintenance. A gas fireplace does.

With MagikFlame, you’ll have zero maintenance and repair costs for the life of your fireplace. You will receive free technology upgrades for as long as you own your MagikFlame. Your only ongoing expense will be electricity, which the product uses 100 percent efficiently. You won’t have to spend extra on fuel as you would with a gas fireplace.

Another consideration when you are comparing costs is whether the fireplace is sized correctly for the room you plan to put it in (for example – imagine your bedroom with an electric fireplace). Gas fireplace inserts such as Duluth Forge’s 32,000 BTU ventless unit produce too much heat for most average-sized spaces.

Some models from Pleasant Hearth or Monessen are sized too large as well. That causes you to spend more on fuel than you need to. Oversize heaters also waste energy and emit more byproducts than necessary.

MagikFlame’s 5,200 BTU fireplace heats up to 1,000 sq. ft with no wasted fuel. It is perfectly sized for zone heating and maintaining your family’s comfort level. Gas fireplace inserts with a lower BTU output would have to work too hard to heat an average room, while those with overly large BTU outputs waste fuel in smaller spaces.

The MagikFlame Story

Nashville-based MagikFlame manufactures electric fireplaces that are fuel efficient and economical. Howard Birnbaum established the company in 2015. His goal was to create the most realistic and efficient electric fireplace available.

As a former special effects creator for the Hollywood film industry, Birnbaum has a solid background in pyrotechnics. That knowledge, along with the help of some of the world’s top engineers, enabled him to bring his original MagikFlame concept to fruition.

Not one to rest on his laurels, however, Howard continued to innovate. Inspired by a ride through Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, he set out to adapt realistic holographic technology to the MagikFlame product line.

The result, HoloFlame, is a patented technology unique to MagikFlame fireplaces. Videos of real fire arise in three-dimensional detail from the log set in the firebox of each fireplace. Crackling log sounds and optional pine scents add to the ambiance.

One of the best things about the MagikFlame experience is fuel efficiency. Unlike the gas fireplaces from Duluth Forge, Monessen Hearth, or Pleasant Hearth, MagikFlame is 100 percent fuel efficient. It converts virtually all the energy it consumes into heating the room.

Another very important benefit MagikFlame provides to your family is zero emissions. Vent-free products from Duluth Forge, Pleasant Hearth, and Monessen emit small amounts of toxins from the combustion process. In the case of MagikFlame, no combustion takes place, so there are no emissions. It poses zero health risks to your family.

Additionally, it does not deplete the oxygen supply in your home spaces. Oxygen is essential to combustion in Duluth Forge, Pleasant Hearth, and Monessen gas-burning fireplaces. MagikFlame does not actually burn anything, so there is no need to take oxygen from the air your family is breathing.

How MagikFlame is built

MagikFlame fireplaces are built in the USA. Technicians in the metal shop fabricate stainless steel panels for the firebox with the help of CAD blueprints.

The company’s CNC – computer numerical control – digital laser cutter ensures the dimensions and profile of each panel are precise. Accurate to a tiny fraction of an inch, each component is a perfect fit, so exceptional quality control is a given.

Once the cutting is complete, techs apply a powder coating to each section. Then, they cure it with heat to ensure durability. This type of coating is extremely hard and damage resistant. It protects the stainless-steel components from rust and fingerprints too.

After the curing takes place, assemblers begin putting together each firebox with a keen focus on detail. Because it will be located at the heart of the MagikFlame appliance, precision and accuracy are key.

Next, techs assemble the mechanical components. These consist of circuit boards bearing proprietary microcontrollers. These tiny circuits work together to make the magic in MagikFlame.

Each product receives a log set made of ceramic fiber. Each log looks as real as freshly chopped firewood. It would look as natural in an outdoor fire pit as it does in the MagikFlame fireplace. As they do in a fire pit, these logs provide the backdrop for the flames.

Once this part of the assembly is complete, it’s time for senior technicians to scrutinize the results. The company ships the fire glass separately for home installation. Techs go through a 12-point assessment of each unit. It must perform perfectly to pass muster.

The completed units are then ready for a fireplace surround and mantel. MagikFlame surrounds are real, furniture-quality wood in classic styles that even the most exclusive architect or interior designer would approve of.

Each surround features unique interior design elements that work together beautifully. Crown molding, fluted side posts, and carved corbels integrate for an elegant, sophisticated result. Decorative touches such as artisan appliques that grace the corners of the Artemis model produce a custom result.

natural gas fireplace

MagikFlame reviews

Reviews of MagikFlame from actual purchasers are distinctively glowing. In fact, ever since the initial release of the company’s first electric fireplace in 2015, the main question people ask is, “Where can I buy one?”

Some of the MagikFlame features that garner kudos in the company’s numerous positive reviews include:

  • Realistic flames
  • Beautiful mantels
  • Excellent customer service
  • Ease of assembly
  • Choice of 30 realistic flames
  • Glowing embers
  • Crackling sounds
  • Touch screen panel
  • Smartphone control
  • Great value for the cost
  • High quality overall

MagikFlame electric fireplace buying guide

Currently, the MagikFlame electric fireplace product line includes five free-standing fireplaces. The company also sells a fireplace insert. All models offer 30 distinct flame patterns, real fire sounds, a backlit touchscreen control on the fireplace, plus remote smartphone control app. All models except the insert have real wood surrounds.

Living room with a MagikFlame fireplace

Trinity is one of two larger models, measuring 55 inches in width, 48 inches in height, and 18 inches in depth. It features a bright white wood surround. Fluting reminiscent of Roman columns frames the sides of the fireplace. Decorative corbels add distinctive detail. The elevated mantelpiece provides four extra inches of height.

Artemis electric fireplace - MagikFlame

Artemis is somewhat smaller than Trinity but still 52 inches wide and 43 inches tall. With a shallower depth of 15 inches, Artemis fits in a smaller space yet still manages to be the focal point of any room. Its lovely classic design features crown molding and geometric details.

Morpheus is the most compact freestanding MagikFlame fireplace. It measures 45 inches wide by 42 inches in height. It is 15 inches deep. Designed for condominium or apartment use, its smaller stature does not detract from a commanding presence. Fluted side posts and custom-look accents add a simple yet elegant style.

Churchill electric fireplace

Churchill brings British gravitas to your living room or game room. This corner-style fireplace stands 52 inches tall and 52 inches wide. It is 40.5 inches deep with a triangular cavity. It features a roomy mantel that is ideal for displaying your keepsakes or designer holiday decorations.

MagikFlame Athena

Athena is 55 inches in height, 48 inches in width, and 18 inches in depth. Decorative appliques accent the fluted side panels for a handcrafted appearance.

The insert - MagikFlame

The Insert, measuring 28 inches tall by 32 inches wide by 12 inches deep, fits inside an existing fireplace for a clean-burning, energy-efficient makeover of a wood or gas fireplace. Although the insert does not have the wood surround typical of MagikFlame, it does have 30 fire options and audio and smartphone control.

Payment plans and financing

Like any premium product, MagikFlame is not the lowest-priced electric fireplace on the block. It is equipped with the latest technology, the appearance and sound of a real fire, and a finely crafted, furniture-quality surround. The company doesn’t cut corners.

MagikFlame fireplaces are built to last. You won’t find yourself paying for upgrades, repairs, or maintenance over the years. You will find that the enjoyment your MagikFlame provides to you and your family is priceless.

The company has partnered with Bread, a contemporary online financing firm, to put the ownership of MagikFlame within reach of most homeowners. Its buy now, pay later program divides the purchase price into easy monthly payments.

Qualifying for the program is easy too. Simply see if you prequalify during checkout on the MagikFlame website. You will receive a qualifying decision within a few moments without any harm to your credit score.

Small changes that add up

You can get even more for your energy dollars with several simple strategies:

  • Access passive solar heat by opening curtains on south-facing windows during daylight – People have relied on sunlight to help heat homes since ancient times. Contemporary home design techniques amplify the benefits of passive solar heating.
  • Close curtains at night to help retain heat – insulated curtains that completely cover the window work best to prevent all your heat from escaping.
  • Cut down on electric appliance use – for example, line-dry clothes after washing, let your hair air-dry, or turn off your television when no one is watching.
  • Buy Energy Star appliances – on average, Energy Star appliances use between 10 and 50 percent less power than their non-Energy Star counterparts.
  • Turn off electronics when not in use – even if you switch them off, many electronics continue using power for things like “ready” lights and sleep modes. In fact, these phantom energy uses account for about 4 percent of the country’s total annual energy usage. That costs Americans around $3 billion each year.
  • Seal your home’s exterior envelope to prevent heat from escaping – a tube of caulk and a flashlight go a long way toward keeping your heated air inside. Some of the biggest problem areas are windows and door frames.
  • Cook outdoors in summer to keep the kitchen cooler – don’t work at cross purposes with your air conditioner by turning on the range oven. Use your outdoor grill when the weather gets hot.
  • Take shorter showers – water heating is a big expense in most households. Every minute you cut from your shower time is a minute of savings.
  • Turn down the temperature on your water heater and home thermostat.
  • Add more insulation – Adding insulation to your home is like putting on an extra blanket when winter nights get colder. It helps keep the heat right where you need it. If you are building, ask your home builder about insulation values.

Enjoy your energy savings

When you adopt these saving strategies along with the smart savings that MagikFlame provides, you’ll see the benefits each month on your energy bill. MagikFlame adds value and beauty to your home with safe, zero-emissions zone heating. You’ll also save each month on your fuel bills because MagikFlame is 100 percent efficient. When you complete your purchase, simply select the buy now, pay later option, and you’re on your way. What could be simpler?

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