Electric fireplaces draw in cool air, heat that air using heating coils, and then gently push the warm air back into the room using a blower or fan. LED light bulbs and a refractor create the illusion of flickering flames. Some, like this Amantii 26-inch fireplace, also include a speaker so you don’t miss the crackling sound of a fire!
These options work well as a supplemental heat source. Electric fireplace heaters allow you to lower the temperature on your thermostat to help save on overall heating costs. Often, they allow you to adjust the temperature on the fireplace itself and may include low and high heat settings. Many options also include a way to turn the heater off while the flame stays on.
Electric fireplaces offer an easy to use alternative to traditional wood burning fireplaces and don’t require the same safety precautions. Unlike both wood and gas fireplaces, electric units don’t run the risk of a carbon monoxide leak in your home.
They offer more benefits, too, including:
No mess - wood-burning fireplaces give off smoke and ash which require a lot of cleaning. They also require you to haul in wood from the outdoors which can track dirt, bugs, and other debris into your home. With an electric fireplace, you can forget all about the mess!
Little maintenance - these units require very little maintenance in comparison to a wood-burning fireplace. Wood options need ashes and soot swept after every use, routine chimney cleaning, and firewood stored in a dry place. Electric fireplaces only need the glass wiped down occasionally, and sometimes changing out a light bulb in the unit.
Cost-effective - they typically cost less than new gas or wood-burning installations. Natural gas fireplaces require a gas hookup and wood-burning fireplaces require masonry and major construction. And that doesn’t include the cost of the fireplace itself. An electric unit costs less and requires far less to install. Many options, like wall mount or freestanding, can simply plug into an appropriate outlet. Some options may require a hardwire installation.
Realistic flame effect - electric units provide the appearance of a real flame without the smoke or carbon monoxide risk. You can even find options that allow you to change the color of the flame to match the ambience of your space.
Use it year-round - most electric fireplace options allow you to turn the heat aspect of the unit off while keeping the flame going. That way, you can still enjoy the comfort of the flames without the warmth.
Easy placement - since they don’t require a chimney or flue, they can work almost anywhere! They work well in living rooms, bedrooms, apartments, and other areas where installing a chimney or flue is impractical.
Electric fireplaces give off heat using a heating element, typically located at the top of the unit. Many electric units run off 120 volts, though certain fireplaces can connect to 240 volts to generate more heat. They can often warm an area around 400 square feet, though some may heat smaller or larger spaces.
Though electric fireplaces provide less heat than a gas or wood-burning option, they offer a more efficient heating solution. Electric fireplaces convert around 99% of their electricity into heat. Gas and wood-burning units lose heat through the flue or chimney while electric units distribute most of their heat back into the room.
Many electric fireplaces install built-in, but you can also find freestanding and wall mounted electric fireplace options. Each offer their own benefits, such as:
Wall mounted fireplaces mount directly on the wall. They require no recess or built-in mounting. Instead, they hang on the wall using brackets. They typically include the required mounting hardware.
Built-in offer a more expensive option since they recess, or build into, the wall. However, built-in electric fireplace units provide a finished, clean appearance instead of sticking out from the wall, like a wall mount unit.
Freestanding requires no need to build into or onto the wall like traditional fireplaces. They stand freely and plug into a nearby outlet.
Additionally, you can find electric fireplaces available in a wide variety of decorative designs. They can vary from a simple firebox to options like this Napoleon Taylor mantel and fireplace. The Taylor mantel features a white color finish and dentil style molding to provide a decorative finish. You can also find their Franklin media console which comes equipped with their Cineview electric firebox. This unit features a mid-century modern design that resembles traditional TV stands and features a weathered oak finish and soft-closing doors.
If your home or business already includes a wood-burning fireplace but you don’t want to deal with the hassle of taking care of it, then a fireplace insert might work for you! Fireplace inserts install into an existing masonry fireplace to convert it to either gas or electric while still providing the comfort of a fireplace.
Inserts install into the existing fireplace opening and use a surround to cover any gaps. Often, they only need to slide into the opening and plug in to start. Electric inserts consist of a metal box and may come as hardwired or plug-in options. Depending on their construction, they may require space near the back of the insert to allow for air circulation but not all of them require this. Once you install the insert, you cannot use the original fireplace.
Because they do not produce a real flame, electric fireplaces do not emit any emissions. Therefore, they do not require venting through a vent, flue or chimney.
Unlike gas and wood-burning units, they do not burn any fuel to produce heat. In typical combustion, the fire consumes fuel, like wood or gas, emitting smoke and other chemicals in the process. These can produce carbon monoxide, which is why venting is so important with wood-burning and gas units. You avoid this with an electric fireplace.