Your Guide to the A to Z of Electric Fireplaces
You’ve decided to switch your traditional chimney into a modern electric fireplace. Great job! The problem is you have no idea if it can provide the same level of comfort as a traditional furnace.
Aside from this, there are many options available right now. It would be very challenging to find a small electric fireplace that would fit your preference.
If you want to know how electric fireplaces work and the health benefits that they offer, this guide will help you. You will also know if an electric fire is a good alternative for traditional fireplaces and how to use it properly. Let’s dive in!
Electric Fireplace: How Does it Work?
An electric fireplace, as the name implies, uses electricity to produce heat. It doesn’t need coal or firewood to create heat because the machine converts electricity to heat. So how does it work?
The electric fireplace has a metal heating coil. When the air from the room enters the fireplace, it will pass through the heating coil. While the coil is heating up, a blower or fan inside the fireplace will force the hot air out of the unit.
If you don’t want a unit that heats up the air, you can look for a fireplace using infrared technology. An infrared fireplace uses an LED bulb that would produce infrared light. There are coils surrounding the bub that will evenly distribute the heat. Instead of warming the air, a metal reflector inside the unit will send warm light rays to your room.
Why Choose a Wall Hung Fireplace?
It’s easy to say that you are switching to a modern heating system. But, do you have any idea why a lot of people are using electric fires? There are so many reasons why an electric fire is better than space heaters and traditional chimneys.
You’ve probably experienced a few mishaps when using traditional stoves. If you watch the news, there have been a few hundred fire cases in the past years related to space heaters and traditional stoves.
With electric fire, you won’t need to worry about your safety. You won’t need coal or firewood. It doesn’t release any flames or smoke that might be harmful to your family. The chance of fire is extremely low with electric fires as they only use electricity to heat your room.
Your electric fireplace will not take too much space from your house. The standard size of an electric fireplace is 20 to 24 inches tall and 28 to 36 inches wide. Wall-mounted models can go up to 144 inches wide.
They might look big, but they are installed on the wall. It means that they won’t take up any space on the floor. If you opt for a free-standing model, they are very small so they won’t eat too much space.
If you don’t have any fireplace yet, an electric model is the best when it comes to installation. For traditional fireplaces, you need to have a chimney in your house where the smoke would come out.
For an electric fire, you just need an electrical outlet and you can start using it. If you want to fix the fireplace into the wall, the installation is not too difficult as well. If you have the right tools, it is very easy to do.
One of the best reasons to use an electric fire is the amount of control you have over the heat. Unlike traditional models, you can increase and decrease the temperature of the room with a click of a button.
You can even zone-heat your home. More advanced units even have an auto temperature adjustment feature. You can set up the temperature that you want for the room and the fireplace will maintain that temperature.
Yes, traditional stoves look amazing, but electric heaters can offer the same aesthetics. Electric fireplaces can mimic the ambiance and beauty of a traditional chimney. If you want the sound of crackling wood and the look of the flames, electric heaters have them too.
They also come in different sizes and shapes that would complement your home. You can even put your electric fireplace under your TV set or install it on the wall.
Little to No Maintenance Needed
Space heaters and traditional fires require regular maintenance. You can’t leave the ashes inside the chimney so you need to clean it every day. Your space heaters have to be maintained at least a few times every month to make sure that it is working properly.
You do not need to maintain your electric fire regularly. You don’t need to clean anything and you can just use it as a normal electrical appliance.
The Cost of Running an Electric Fireplace
Before you switch to an LED electric fireplace, most of you would probably ask about the cost. Since this heater uses electricity to operate, you want to know if it is worth it.
Although we won’t know exactly how much your electricity bill would go up, there are a few ways to know the average consumption. Here are a few important factors that would affect the cost of running an electric fire.
- The wattage of your electric fire: You should check the wattage of your electric fire. The more electricity it consumes, the higher your electricity bill would be.
- Cost of electricity: The price of electricity differs from one area to another. There are states with a lower electricity cost, while some charge higher. Make sure that you check your electricity bill as it indicates the amount per kWh. This will help you determine the actual consumption cost of your electric fire.
- Duration of usage: How long do you use your electric fireplace each day? It is important to know the duration of usage since it will be the deciding factor of the total cost of running a fireplace. If you use the heater for long hours every day, you can expect a higher electricity bill.
Types of Electric Fireplace
After knowing why electric heaters are the best alternative, it’s time to buy your own electric fire. Don’t be surprised if you found different types of electric heaters. You have so many options to choose from so you can pick a unit that would fit your preference.
Choosing an electric fire is not as complicated as you think. In this guide, you will understand how each of them works.
Plug-in and Built-in Inserts
Both of these units are made to cover up your existing fireplace. If you decided not to use your traditional fire, you can get a plug-in or built-in insert to cover it.
Plug-in inserts are used to temporarily cover the fireplace. If you don’t have enough budget to totally close up the firebox, you can just get a plug-in insert and place it on the opening.
Built-in inserts are considered a permanent solution. You can install the insert directly on the firebox just like a wall-mounted fireplace.
Wall-Mounted Electric Fire
A wall-mounted electric fire, as the name implies, can be installed on the wall. You just need to set up a bracket on your wall and you can mount the electric fireplace.
This unit is a good choice if you want to save space. It doesn’t take up any floor space and you can put it anywhere as long as there is a standard outlet.
Electric Fire Logs
If you tried using a traditional fire before, you are already aware of the appearance of fire logs. This is where the design of electric fire logs came from.
This type of heater is often placed on old chimneys. But, instead of covering it like inserts, you are only putting the fire logs inside. You get the traditional look of the fireplace without putting any firewood inside it.
Electric Fireplace for TV Stands
Some models are made specifically for TV stands. This type of fireplace is perfectly safe so you can put it on your TV stand even if it’s made from wood.
If you want an electric fireplace that would improve or complement the design of your house, this is a perfect choice.
Electric Fireplace Mantels
Mantels are quite similar to fireplaces that can be placed on TV stands. But, instead of putting it on an entertainment stand, you add a surround on your fireplace.
Electric fire and surround are extremely popular because you can customize the design. You can choose different types of materials depending on your preference.
Electric stoves came from the traditional wood-burning stoves. This type of fireplace is very portable because it is very small.
The electric stove fire is a good alternative if you don’t want to do any installation in your house. You can just move it around and place it near a standard outlet.
Installing a Wall-Mounted Electric Fireplace
If you plan to get a wall-mounted fireplace, you need to learn how to install it. You can let a professional install the fireplace for you. But, if you have the tools, you can do it without outside help. You can check this simple step-by-step guide to help you.
- Prepare the tools needed for the installation. To be more specific, you need an electric drill, stud finder, and a Philips head screwdriver. You should also bring out your Carpenter’s level and a tape measure or yardstick.
- The next step is to find a place to install your fireplace. It should always be near a standard outlet because it is not a good idea to use an extension cord.
- Using the stud finder, find all of the studs on the location that you selected. Check the measurement of the studs and compare it to the holes on your bracket. It has to match perfectly.
- After locating the studs, the next thing to do is to install the bracket on the wall. With the use of your screwdriver, secure the bracket on the studs.
- Once the bracket is set, you can now hang the firebox on the mounting bracket.
- The last step is to place the screen on the firebox. Make sure that the bracket is perfectly secure before putting the screen and the firebox.
- Plug the fireplace into the outlet and enjoy.
Installing a Recessed Electric Fire
Recessed electric fires are different from wall-mounted models. You need to place the electric fire directly on the wall. This is a permanent installation and it doesn’t require any wall brackets. This guide will help you install your electric fireplace properly.
- Choose the wall where you will install the fireplace. The wall should not be load-bearing because the whole area might collapse if you cut an opening.
- You need to start cutting the area. The frame should be at least 0.25 inches larger than the actual size of your fireplace.
- The reason why you need a wall that is not load-bearing is that you need to cut the studs. The studs should be removed if you want the electric fireplace to fit perfectly.
- After cutting the studs, you need to add stud fillers. They would serve as additional support after you remove the studs.
- Attach the electric fireplace to the hole in the wall. The electric fireplace already has holes to help you install it on the wall. Attach the firebox first before you proceed with the glass panel.
How Do You Save Energy when Using Portable Electric Fires?
Your electric bill is probably your biggest concern. But, you don’t need to worry because there are ways to save energy. You just need to make sure that your electric fire is running efficiently to maximize its heating capacity. We listed down some of the simple ways to help you cut down on the cost of running electric fires.
Look for the Thermostat Feature
Some electric furnaces come with a thermostat feature. It enables you to set the temperature of the room. The fireplace will maintain the temperature that you set for the room.
Improve the Insulation of the Room
To make sure that your fireplace is working efficiently, you need to keep your room insulated. This will guarantee that the hot air will stay inside your room. You can check for possible leaks on the windows and doors.
Always use the Timer
Always use the timer of your electric fireplace. You can set the timer for a couple of hours and it will shut down once the time is up. There are instances when you forget to turn the electric fire off. This feature will make sure that the electric fire will not stay on for a long time.
Keep the Windows and Doors Closed
You should always keep your doors and windows closed while the electric fire is running. If you need to get out of the room, make sure that you close the door immediately. This is done to prevent the hot air from going out.
Simple Tips in Using an Electric Fireplace
Electric furnaces are perfectly safe to use, but you need to know how to use them properly. You can maximize the efficiency of your fireplace if you know the dos and don’ts of using it.
Unplug your Fireplace If You’re Not Using It
You should always unplug your fireplace if you are not using it to save energy. Although it is turned off, it will still consume electricity.
Another benefit of unplugging your fireplace is protected from a power surge. It doesn’t happen regularly, but your fireplace will be damaged when it hits.
Never Plug It in Extension Cord
This is the most important safety concern when it comes to fireplaces. Extension cords are only meant for electrical devices that don’t use a large amount of energy. This is a big fire risk since the cord is not capable of carrying high wattage. For safety reasons, it is better to plug your fireplace in a standard electrical outlet.
Never Modify the Unit
You should never modify your electric fireplace if you are not an expert. If you’ve seen videos and articles about modifying an electric fireplace, don’t do it unless you know what you are doing.
You can just read the instructions manual on how to use it. By putting too many accessories or changing some of the circuits inside the fireplace can cause electric shocks and more.
Always Clean your Electric Fire
You should always keep your corner electric fireplace clean at all times. Even if you can’t clean the inside, you should remove the dust from the unit from time to time.
Dirt and dust may affect its efficiency. If you have some spare time, get a wet and dry towel and wipe your electric fireplace.
Remove Flammable Things Near your Fireplace
Yes, electric fire is very safe to use, but you still need to be extra careful. Your electric fireplace can heat the air in your room so if there are flammable things around it, they might burn as well.
For safety precautions, remove all of the paper, towels, clothes, and other flammable things away from your fireplace.
Don’t Let the Kids and Pets Near the Electric Fire
Electric fires don’t get hot like traditional fireplaces. But, it will not be a good idea to let your kids or pets play around the fireplace.
If they accidentally tip it over or they bumped on the electric fireplace installed on the wall, they might get hurt. There is also a chance that the electric fireplace would be damaged.
Don’t Leave it Unattended
If you are going out of your house, you need to turn the electric fireplace off. You should never leave it unattended, especially if your unit doesn’t have any timer.
If you need to go out and no one will stay in the room, turn the fireplace off and remove it from the outlet.
Effects of Electric Fireplaces on your Health
If you’ve been using traditional fireplaces for a long time, you already know its effects on your health. It is the top reason why most people decided to switch to electric fires. They are more convenient to use and they offer a few health benefits as well.
Calm your Nerves
An electric fireplace is extremely soothing, especially if you spent most of your time outside in the cold. You can relax in your house while enjoying the warm temperature without worrying about anything.
Since electric fires can heat your room without any firewood, you can just lie down and take a nap. The auto shut-off feature will allow you to relax and not worry about your safety.
Most people are allergic to the ashes from a traditional fireplace. The smoke and fumes might cause allergies and asthma. Since you are not using gas or wood, allergies won’t be an issue. Electric heaters use a heating coil to produce heat so there are no allergens on the hot air that they release.
Some units actually have air purifiers. If they take in the air from your room, the fireplace will purify it before releasing it as warm air inside your room. More expensive models have this kind of feature.
No Toxic Gases
One of the best things about electric fires is they don’t produce gas. These toxic gases usually come from coal and gas. Since this type of heater only uses a metal heating coil, you don’t need to worry about toxic fumes. You won’t need to install vents since there is no smoke produced.
Electric Fireplace: Is it Worth It?
Traditional fireplaces are very dangerous so getting a safer alternative is the best option. Electric fireplaces are the best choice right now as it gives you a sense of safety while providing a comfortable temperature to your family.
As long as you know how to use it properly and you know how to choose the right one, you won’t have issues using it. Do you think that an electric fireplace will work for you? You can check all of the options available for you and enjoy a warm and risk-free environment.