Furnace vs Fireplace: Which One is More Efficient?

November 21, 2019

Gas and even electric fireplaces have become a popular heating alternative. At Comfort Masters Ltd. in Oshawa, we provide a full range of heating services, and homeowners often rely on us for consultations. Among the most common questions we get is “Is a fireplace or furnace more efficient?”

The Purpose of a Fireplace

Most homeowners do not consider a fireplace as a furnace replacement. Fireplaces are often considered a way to augment the heat in particular areas of the home. But that begs the question of whether this approach is actually more efficient and thus cheaper in the long run.


AFUE stands for annual fuel utilization efficiency, and it is a rating that indicates how efficient a furnace is. The rating is also used for fireplaces, and you should target products that have been rated. The best modern vented fireplaces and furnaces on the market are quite similar when it comes to AFUE.

Centralized vs. Localized

The biggest difference between these options is that a furnace is usually centralized, which means that the warmed air is carried through the home via ducts. A fireplace, on the other hand, emits heat directly into the room where it is located. Combining the two can be quite efficient since you can heat the entire home at a lower temperature while remaining comfortable in the rooms you use often.

Zoned Heating

Zoned heating is a modern alternative to central heating in which a variable-speed blower and one or more sophisticated thermostats are used to maintain zones within the home at different temperatures. Zoned heating does not necessarily eliminate the advantage of a local heat source like a fireplace. It can still provide savings when used in gathering spaces like living rooms and family rooms.

Your Local Heating Experts

If you want to stay warm this winter at the best possible prices, turn to locally owned and operated Comfort Masters Ltd. in Oshawa. Our services extend beyond furnaces, fireplaces, and boilers to air conditioners, air filtration, air exchanges, and tankless water heaters. We are rated A+ with the BBB and have been in business since 2005. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.