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Learning Center - Get The Best Electric Fireplaces for Warmth and Ambience

People may scoff at electric fireplaces, but they provide just as much warmth, a cozy atmosphere, and much more versatility.

 

In many households, the fireplace serves as a gathering place and centerpiece in one’s communal living space. Traditional fireplaces usually require firewood or gas lines to operate, which come with their mutual pros & cons. While these common styles provide additional warmth to your home, they also have negative side effects that may turn away homeowners. For example, traditional fireplaces require safe handling and vigilance if flames grow out of control or small children are present. Besides obvious fire hazards, tending to a fire in your living space results in smoke, emissions, and other hazardous byproducts from whatever materials you are burning.

Choosing the Best Electric Fireplace

The rising popularity of electric fireplaces is a result of homeowners searching for safer options for warming up their homes. These installations create adequate amounts of heat in the home but at a cost-effective price. Forget the days of sourcing firewood or paying increased gas bills in the colder months and enjoy the safety and efficiency of an electric fireplace. Here is a list of the many benefits you can take advantage of by installing your electric fireplace today:

Benefits of Opting for Electric Fireplaces:

  • Cost-effective alternative to traditional fireplaces
  • Energy-efficient option for homeowners looking to save money on utilities
  • Low-maintenance fireplace due to no soot or residue clean-up
  • Minimal clearance requirements
  • Zero installation restrictions for homeowners
  • No risk for respiratory infections due to zero smoke, emissions, or harmful byproducts
  • Resistant to corrosion due to minimal high-heat exposure, unlike gas or wood fireplaces
  • Easy installation that only requires an electrical source
  • A safer option for households with small children, pets, or elderly family members
  • A wide variety of styles to choose from, including traditional facades, linear fireplaces,  wall-mounted fireplaces, inserts, stoves, and built-in units
  • Flames and heat work separately. Homeowners can use their electric fireplaces for ambiance, even in the warmer months, without overheating their living space

How do Modern Electric Fireplaces Work?

Although electric fireplaces look and work like the traditional ones found in many of our homes, they operate just like any other electronic appliance. This modern heat source only requires a wall socket and electrical current to operate, making it as simple to install as your television or toaster. Its specialized technology uses the electrical current in our homes to generate heat and realistic flames for optimal ambiance and comfort.

Electronic fireplace

The specifics regarding how each modern electric fireplace works depend on its manufacturer or model. One of the most common methods used in electric fireplaces is the exchange of cool and warm air. The appliance pulls in cold air from your living space, which then heats up with an internal heating coil and ejects as warmth.

Infrared technology is another common method used in electric fireplaces on the market today. This system converts electrical currents into radiant heat, which is the same heat emitted by our bodies, the sun, or burning coals.

The flickering flames seen on electric fireplaces are a visual illusion that is often produced using mirrored panels or metallic strips. Light is refracted off these materials in such a way that it creates the illusion of flickering flames. This is the most basic level of visuals that some models include, but other manufacturers go the extra mile to create an ultra-realistic experience.

The Opti-Myst Electric Fireplace, manufactured by Dimplex, implements water vapor to create the illusion of smoke as well. The experience is made even more immersive with the use of audio and video loops to add the impression of real wood burning.

The high-quality LED light bulbs used in electric fireplaces offer a lifespan of nearly 50,000 hours while producing 90% less heat and requiring only a sixth of the energy that incandescent bulbs do. Not only does this add excellent longevity to your appliance, but it also reduces the risk of burn injuries by minimizing external surface temperatures. This minimal amount of heat emissions also allows for zero-clearance installations and peace of mind when young children are present. For those who are environmentally conscious,  LED bulbs' lack of mercury makes them safe to dispose of and produces minimal greenhouse emissions as well.

Guide To Buying A Good Electric Fireplace

Homeowners interested in traditional-looking flames can opt for realistic red & orange colors while using their electric fireplace. However, the options can be limitless with some appliances coming with full-spectrum LED lighting. This option allows you to customize all aspects of your experience, such as changing color and the lengths of flames. You can now use your fireplace to create a wide range of ambiances that cater to the season or occasion. Because fire and heat output usually operate separately with these devices, electric fireplaces can still be enjoyed in the warmer months. Owners can control their appliances by either using their hand-held remote or the buttons found on the unit itself.

What is the Heat Output?

Electric fireplaces are manufactured to generate heat that will not escape your immediate living space. This makes them great options for living rooms, kitchens, office spaces, and even bedrooms. They typically warm-up areas that are 400-1,000 square feet, with the exact amount varying between models and manufacturers. It is recommended that potential buyers accurately measure the size of the intended space before purchasing a specific electric fireplace. Each model’s owner manual or product page listing will display the number of watts and BTUs it can effectively produce. This may not matter to certain homeowners who are solely interested in the aesthetic qualities of an electric fireplace, but those who require additional heating should confirm their appliance’s heat output before purchasing. Lastly, most electric fireplaces come with a built-in thermostat to control the heat output and the temperature of your home.

What is Zone Heating?

Utilities can be expensive, especially during times of extreme weather where homeowners need to constantly heat or cool their living spaces. Gas fireplaces, although effective, generally rank up gas bills during the winter and prove to be a less cost-effective option for indoor heating. Zone heating is a commonly used method to warm your home while cutting back on high utility costs. Homeowners can replace traditional heating methods, like furnaces, with electric fireplaces in the most occupied rooms in the home to reduce heating costs. This creates a more energy-efficient way to warm your home by taking the strain off your installed furnace and using readily accessible electricity to do the work for you.

What do I need to Install an Electric Fireplace?

One of the biggest selling points of electric fireplaces is that they are as easy to install, as most common appliances. Most electric fireplaces on the market today require a standard 120-volt wall socket, making it simple to unplug your appliance whenever necessary. People with older homes or outdated electrical systems should ensure that their household can support an additional appliance. Failure to do so can result in a blown fuse or heightened fire risks unless you choose to install surge protectors or fire-safe sockets.

In the case that your electric fireplace requires a higher voltage, you’ll be required to hire a professional electrician to wire the socket. It’s not recommended that you attempt this yourself due to personal safety and fire risks associated with electrical wiring.

Where do I Install my Best Electric Fireplace?

Since most electric fireplaces, whether free-standing or wall-mounted, require zero-clearance for installation, they can virtually go anywhere in your home. This includes any spaces that have combustible materials in the vicinity. The possibilities become limitless, with electric fireplaces becoming fixtures in bathrooms, attics, mobile homes, basements, bedrooms, and countless other spaces. However, electric fireplaces are intended for indoor use only. Outdoor spaces, due to their increased exposure to moisture and water, require gas or wood-burning fireplaces.

Homeowners can also request electricians to hardwire their fireplace into their home’s electrical systems to make it a permanent fixture. This option will most likely require some inspection or face certain restrictions. Once it’s cleared that heat can emit effectively from your appliance and not build up in your home’s walls, you should have no issue installing your electric fireplace. While most appliances require zero clearance, restrictions are still specific to each brand and manufacturer. Check your owner’s manual prior to purchasing your electric fireplace for more information.

Are Electric Fireplaces a Safe Option for my Home?

Safety is a common theme when discussing fireplaces in a home. Traditional gas or wood-burning fireplaces pose a variety of risks, but electric fireplaces are by far the safest option for internal heating. This is due to the fact electric fireplaces rely on electricity to function and do not produce smoke, combustion byproducts, hazardous emissions, or flames. These appliances' low external surface temperature makes them a safe addition to any home with small children, elderly relatives, or pets.

How Much will an Electric Fireplace Cost Me?

Electric fireplaces are as cost-effective as they are simple to install. For starters, these appliances do not require the inspections, fuel, proper venting, or yearly maintenance that comes with traditional gas or wood-burning fireplaces. This will ultimately save you large quantities of money both upfront and over time, as well as the hassle of installing or moving fireplaces during renovations or new builds.

Regarding installation costs, this largely depends on whether you’re interested in a built-in fireplace or if your appliance requires higher-voltage sockets. These scenarios will require a licensed electrician or contractor to professionally install your electric fireplace. Although the cost of utilities varies from state to state, using electricity to heat your space instead of gas is usually the more cost-effective option.

Homeowners can use this equation to calculate how much an electric fireplace will cost them  by the hour: (Watts/ 1,000) x kw/hr = total cost per hour

The maximum number of watts that an electric fireplace consumes can be found on the device itself or either its owner’s manual or product page listing. The kilowatt-hour rate depends on your exact place of residence and can be found in your monthly utility statement.

Meanwhile, you can check out our inventory of great electric fireplaces by clicking here!

Purchasing a fireplace is a fantastic way to bring a beautiful focal point to almost any room. And there are plenty of reasons to choose an electric model. As with any new appliance, it is important to review all your options and make sure you choose the right fireplace for your family. Our experts are here to help! Send us an email or call 866-848-3473 with any questions or schedule an appointment today.

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