If you haven’t got an existing traditional fireplace built into your home but you still want to create that cozy aesthetic of having a real fire in your living room, then buying an electric fireplace could be a great alternative for you.
In the following article, we’ll be explaining exactly what an electric fireplace is and how it works, the benefits and the drawbacks of having one in your home, and also what types of electric fireplaces you can get.
What is an electric fireplace and how do they work?
An electric fireplace is similar to a conventional fireplace like coal, gas, or wood burner, however, they are plugged into the wall and do not require any fuel to work. Most electric fireplaces come with both a flame-only setting and a heater setting, so you choose to use it with or without the heat to create a cozy atmosphere in your living space.
The heat which is powered by electricity from the plug outlet is distributed through the room by a fan built into the fireplace. However, the heat distributed by electric fireplaces may vary across different models and brands, although normally they are 100% efficient and push out all of the heat into the room so no heat is wasted.
Electric fireplaces project ‘flames’ with LED lights onto the screen in random patterns to mimic the real flames from a traditional fireplace.
What are the benefits of an electric fireplace?
Low Costs & Easy Installation
Electric fireplaces are a lot more affordable to buy and install compared to more traditional fireplaces. As you don’t need a chimney or a vent for an electric heater, you can simply plug it into an outlet to get it working straight out of the box. You can get some that are built into the wall which will require higher installation costs but all will work properly when plugged into an outlet.
Some areas require you to obtain a permit to install wood-burning fireplaces, but you won’t need to do anything like that with an electric fireplace.
Electric fireplaces can produce both light and heat at the same time but do not lose any of the produced heat through a vent or chimney as wood-burning fireplaces do. This makes them highly efficient energy wise.
Traditional fireplaces like wood burners or coal fireplaces can get messy very quickly and can sometimes be a pain to maintain. An electric fireplace allows you to have the ambiance of a more traditional fireplace but without all the mess as the flames are not real so there is not any fuel being burned and nothing to clean up afterward.
Once you’ve installed your electric fireplace you won’t have to do anything else but dust it every once in a while. Whereas a more traditional fireplace will require inspections and a chimney sweep to clean it now and again. As it’s powered by electricity, you won’t have to continuously buy fuel like wood or coal for the fire either.
Safe & Clean Air
As electric burners don’t burn anything, they won’t release emissions into your home like other fireplaces do where they can release harmful carbon monoxide into the living space due to incomplete combustion. This means electric burners are one of the safest options all around and especially for people with respiratory problems.
Safe For Children & Pets
The glass surface on electric fireplaces is cool to the touch as the heat source comes out of the surrounding fan area instead. This makes it one of the safest options to have around children or pets in your home.
A positive of an electric fireplace is that you can uninstall it and take it with you when you decide to move house so you won’t have wasted your money. A wood-burning or gas fireplace does not have the flexibility to do this and it can sometimes be impossible without making structural changes to your home.
What are the disadvantages of electric fireplaces?
One of the main downsides of an electric fireplace is that they don’t often look very realistic compared to fuel fireplaces which can sometimes alter the ambiance you’re trying to create in a room. They also don’t produce that wood-burning smell that normal fireplaces do which can be a deal-breaker for some people.
Electric fireplaces are often best for heating one room at a time whereas wood-burning fireplaces are great for heating entire floor levels in your home.
As electric fireplaces are powered by electricity they won’t work in a power outage whereas a traditional fireplace would keep burning to supply heat and light to your home in these circumstances.
Do you need a vent for an electric fireplace?
No, as there are no gas emissions released from using an electric fireplace they do not require a vent or a chimney to be installed with one which reduces the costs of the installation process.
How well do electric fireplaces heat a room?
Electric fireplaces are effective at heating rooms, but how large a room it can heat will depend upon what brand or model of fireplace you have. Some can heat rooms of up to 1,000 square feet whereas some may only heat a room of up to 400 square feet.
When your electric fireplace is on, you’ll be able to notice it when you step inside the room where it’s placed, however, if you want to make the most of your electric fireplace then you should strategically place furniture like couches or chairs near the fireplace to feel the most heat.
An electric fireplace should not be used as the primary heating source in your home as it will only be able to heat 1 or 2 rooms in your home when it’s turned on. This is great if you are the only person in your home who is feeling the cold that day and you don’t want to turn the heating up.