Gas Fireplace vs Furnace: Which Best Fits Your Home?

With the mercury dropping sharply, you feel the chilly air biting your skin. It feels amazing to pamper yourself around your gas furnace or fireplace. Well, when it comes to installing one, you land up in a dilemma thinking about which of these appliances would be a better buy.

At Hurliman Heating, we find pleasure in helping our clients choose the right household system for their needs. When it comes to narrowing down your options, a professional opinion does matter. In this article, we will discuss whether a gas furnace or a fireplace would be apt for your home.

Which is more efficient: a gas furnace or a fireplace?

When you compare these two appliances comprehensively, a gas furnace appears to be a better pick in terms of efficiency. Furnaces can distribute indoor heat more evenly through the ducts in your home. However, when you factor in other aspects like installation and maintenance, gas fireplaces turn out to be the better choice.

Gas fireplaces take more time to heat the home uniformly. So, it would be a logical decision to have a gas fireplace along with a furnace for your home.

You need to make a call prioritizing your budget and the size of your indoor space. Fireplaces are good at heating a single room. However, houses with multiple rooms would need a gas furnace.

In the end, you need to consider specific cases and determine which of these two appliances you would need.

Comparing gas fireplace and furnace under prime parameters

The prime difference between a gas fireplace and a furnace lies in the mechanism by which they generate and distribute the heat. Typically, furnaces work on an oven that distributes the heat when you heat it with gas. On the other hand, fireplaces use gas as the heat source, but you can lose the heat through the chimney. At most, you can heat a single room adequately using a gas fireplace.

We have compared gas fireplaces and furnaces under some crucial parameters.

     1. Installation cost

If you are in the quest for a budget solution, we would recommend you a gas fireplace. Based on the type of fireplace, you need to fork out $1000 to $4000 as the installation charge. However, you might have to make additional expenses for the associated renovations.

For instance, installing an electric fireplace would be much more affordable than a masonry fireplace. Moreover, you need to consider whether or not the installation process requires a gas line, ventilation, or any kind of structural change.

The cost of installing a gas furnace would be around $7000 on average. On the higher end, you might need as much as $40,000 to install a furnace, depending on the type. Geothermal furnaces, for instance, are the most expensive.

You can reach out to us for the installation and maintenance of any type of gas furnace or fireplace.

     2. Monthly cost

Given that you would be using gas as the source of heat for both types of heating systems, the monthly expense would be similar. For fireplaces, the monthly fuel cost ranges between $8.40 and $19.00. This is higher in the case of a gas furnace, ranging between $12.10 and $45.07. We have calculated this based on the assumption of 1 million BTU as the monthly burn rate. However, the operational cost can significantly vary depending on certain factors. These include:

  • The market price of the fuel

  • The external temperature

  • The duration when you need to run the appliance

  • How efficient is the appliance considering heat loss

     3. Safety

Gas leaks can affect both fireplaces and furnaces if the appliance has faulty exhaust systems, valves, or vents. This is why some people consider electric systems safer than gas appliances. However, considering affordability, it would be wise to settle with gas appliances.

Furnaces fare better in terms of safety compared to fireplaces. Fireplaces tend to have loose embers, leading to more frequent chimney fires. From this perspective, furnaces are better when it comes to containing fire. For furnaces, the number of regulations is more compared to that for fireplaces.

     4. Heat Output

Furnaces easily outperform fireplaces in terms of heat output. They don’t tend to lose heat like fireplaces. Besides, you would enjoy better heat circulation indoors with a gas furnace.

When you install a gas fireplace to beat the colder months, it will increase the temperature indoors by just 15 to 25 degrees F. During extreme winters, this might turn out to be inadequate for your home. This explains why we recommend installing gas fireplaces to supplement your furnaces. Under this mechanism, the immediate area surrounding the fireplace gets heated. The ductwork around your home is responsible for circulating this heat uniformly.

So, when you have adverse winter conditions knocking at the door, a gas fireplace alone wouldn’t be sufficient.

     5. Durability

With routine maintenance from established HVAC experts at Hurliman Heating, you can make your gas fireplace last up to 30 years. On the other hand, furnaces come with a life of up to 20 years. In both cases, the appliance’s life largely depends on the frequency at which you use them and the construction. Compared to prefabricated fireplaces, the masonry ones last longer. With professional installation, you can make them last for generations.


While it’s easy to install electric fireplaces that are pre-fabricated, you need a professional hand to install gas fireplaces and furnaces. When it comes to a gas fireplace, you need to be accurate with the size of the gas pipe. So, count on us when you plan to install one of these appliances. Moreover, you need proper ventilation for these gas appliances, and we can specifically help install the vents before you go for the gas lines.

Even installing a gas furnace isn’t a layman’s task. Hiring trained HVAC specialists like those at Hurliman can help you complete the installation in a few hours. You need proper clearance and venting for a gas furnace as well. Reach out to us and we’d be glad to recommend the best heating option for your home.

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