How Much Will Your Stove or Fire Cost?
The general rule is that is 1Kw of Heat output will heat up to the average temperature, (23 °C /73 °F) and maintain it in :
- A 10 Cubic Meter poorly insulated room
- A 15 Cubic Meter partly insulated room
- A 20 Cubic Meter well-insulated room
Some fires give heat output in BTU (British Thermal Units) to convert between BTU and kWh use this calculator
How Much Bang For Your Buck
Comparative fuel heating costs per kWh
kWh Heat output per unit
Average Cost per kWh (Oct 2018)
|Electricity||1kW||1||16.3p( inc VAT & standing charge)|
||10.55||6p (inc VAT & standing charge)|
|Butane (Calor gas blue bottle)
||20p (based on 15kg bottle)|
|Propane (Calor Gas red or green bottles)
||17p (based on a 13kg bottle)|
|Domestic Heating oil (kerosene / Paraffin oil)
|Kiln-dried hardwood (oak) <20% moisture
Wood Burning Stove Heating Costs
Energy Unit Costs
High-quality kiln-dried hardwood costs about £195 for just over 1m3 (about 100 Kilograms), inclusive of delivery & VAT.
Heat output per Kg is 4.5kW - 5kW or about 2.5p per KWh. Running a 5 Kilowatt stove this way costs about 10p an hour.
Source your own wood for free and the costs drop significantly, cutting heating bills by up to 90%
Wood burning stoves without back boilers.
5.5 kW from £180, up to £1000 for 20kW
You can pay over £3000 for Scandinavian high-efficiency designer models
Models with boilers vary on design & quality from around £600 to £3000
A wood-burning stove should be fitted by a HETAS engineer who will give you a certificate of compliance to meet building regulations.
Costs can start from £450.
You must get an estimate before you buying as unexpected issues can boost the installation costs to over £1000
Mains (Natural) Gas Heating Costs
Energy Unit Costs
Mains gas costs about 6p per kWh, including standing charges and VAT, depending on the supplier (Oct 2018).
Running a 2 Kilowatt mains gas fire costs about 12p an hour.
Mains gas fires cost from about £130 for a basic model to £3000+ for a high spec unit.
Main gas is used to power most central heating systems, some fires have back boilers, these are not as efficient as modern boilers and are being phased out.
A new Baxi Bermuda BBU HE back boiler will cost about £800 inc VAT excluding fitting costs.
A mains gas heater must be fitted by a gas registered engineer!
Quotes will vary depending on the type of heater and whether it is a new or replacement installation.
For more information on installing & using mains gas fires please visit The Home Fire Shop.
Fixed instillation Calor Gas (LPG) Heating Costs
Energy Unit Costs
Bulk buying LPG depends upon supplier and can range from 40p to 70p+ per litre
Our advice is to call around suppliers to get the best price and get it fixed.
Propane has a heat output of approx 7.1 kW per litre.
Running a 2 Kilowatt LPG heater will average about 12p an hour.
As many mains gas fires can be adapted to burn LPG the costs are similar. If you see one you like ask if it comes with an LPG option.
High quality dedicated LPG Fires can cost £350+
A fitted LPG fire is directly comparable with a mains gas fire, many can be adapted to burn either fuel. For installation & usage information on fitted LPG fires please visit Our Gas Fire Buying Guide.
If you wish to install an LPG bulk tank system in your home call a specialist company such as Calor Gas or Flogas and compare quotes.
Electricity Heating Costs
Energy Unit Costs
Electricity averages about 16p per kWh including standing charges and VAT (Oct 2018). This depends on your supplier and the tariff you are on.
Running a 1-kilowatt electric fire (any type) costs about 16p per hour, a 2Kw 32p, a 3Kw 48p and so on. To compare tariffs visit Energy Helpline.
Freestanding and wall mounted electric fires can cost from £100 to over £1000.
See our Electric Fires Reviews for a selection
Electric fires are plug-in free standing or wall hung models which do not require any special installation.
Some more advanced electric heaters may require professional fitting, have look at our Electric Fire Buying Guide for more info.
A Wood burning stove can be the cheapest heating solution, up to 90% cheaper than gas if you have access to a free or cheap supply of suitable wood.
We recommend sourcing your own wood supply as buying in top-quality kiln-dried wood can be more expensive than using mains gas or LPG. Using cheap moisture-laden wood will reduce the heating efficiency of your stove dramatically.
A Multi-fuel stove is a cheap option as you can switch between wood and other solid fuels taking advantage of lower prices,
Of the other fuels, mains Gas is the cheapest – it always cheaper to heat your home with gas if you are connected to the mains. LPG is next best, then electricity with portable (Calor) gas being the most expensive.
Catalytic gas fires burn gas differently to traditional gas fires converting nearly 100% gas energy to heat and are more efficient and cheaper to run. They are usually described as 'Flueless' gas fires as they do not produce waste gases so do not need flues.
Installing Gas/LPG fires, and Wood / Multi-fuel stoves can be expensive as they need to be fitted by qualified professionals. They are fixed in place and cannot be moved around. If you need occasional heat in another room you will need a portable heater.
While fitted electric heaters are more expensive to run, they can be moved around quite easily and used anywhere there is an electricity supply.
Portable Calor Gas heaters are essential in areas prone to power cuts or as an emergency heat source if your heating system breaks down. Despite the cost of fuel, they are normally the first choice when looking for a portable space heating solution as they offer a completely self-contained portable heating solution.
Please visit The Home Heating Shop for advice on Calor gas and other types of portable space heaters.
What is a Kilowatt hour?
The Simple answer:
The amount of heat 13200 candles can put out is one Kilowatt, leave them burning for an hour they have produced 1-kilowatt hours (KWh) worth of energy!
The technical answer:
A kilowatt-hour is how many thousand (Kilo) watts of power you use in one hour and is used to calculate energy usage.
A watt is the basic unit of power calculated as 1 Ampere (the unit of the rate of electrical flow) flowing at 1 Volt (the unit of pressure driving electrical flow).
To get Watts you multiply Volts by Amperes, a 240-volt electric heater draws about 8.33 Amperes will be rated as using just under 2000 watts of power (240 X 8.33 = 1999.2)
You divide the wattage by 1000 to convert to kW, our 2000 watt heater would be rated at 2Kw.
You then multiply the Kilowatt rating by the number of hours the heater is in use.
If you leave our 2 Kilowatt heater on for an hour it would be would be using 2 KWh, if your electric costs 15p per kWh it would cost you 30p.
Heater Efficiency Ratings
You pay for the energy you use, not the heat energy the fire gives out.
The efficiency rating is how much energy used compared to how much is converted to heat.
An electric fire converts nearly 100% electrical energy to heat, for every pound you spend on energy you get back about 99.9% back in heat energy
Traditional gas/LPG fires convert between 50% & 80% gas energy to heat, for every £1 you spend on gas between 20p & 50p is wasted.
A catalytic gas fire is nearly 100% efficient so is more cost-effective than traditional fires.
Wood burning stoves can be anything from 10% to 80% efficient depending on the wood used and design of the stove. Using high-quality kiln-dried wood and a well-designed stove can give you 80%+ efficiency.