Fireplaces are often associated with warm cosy evenings with families or close friends. Ever since electric fireplaces appeared on the market, they have become very popular with a lot of people. But are electric fireplaces worth it? There has been a lot of controversy among people about whether electric fireplaces are any good. I will be impartial and will set out all the advantages and disadvantages of electric fireplaces and you will decide if you need one.
Electric Fireplaces Advantages:
- Electric fireplaces produce no smoke or ash. It is no surprise that electric fireplaces need a power outlet to operate. As soon as you connect it to electricity, you can see a rather realistic fire that is projected either in the picture or on artificial logs. Since electric fireplaces do not burn real fire, they do not have any ash or smoke. This is a big advantage for people who are very sensitive to smells. Accordingly, electric fireplaces do not need to be vented.
- Electric fireplaces do not need a chimney. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, you will definitely need a chimney as the smoke needs to leave the room through the pipe. Since electric fireplaces produce no smoke, you do not need a chimney. When burning wood, fumes are formed, which must necessarily leave the room through the pipe.
- Electric fireplaces are low-maintenance. Electric fireplaces do not need to be cleaned after each use. If we are speaking about wood-burning fireplaces, you will need to remove the ash every time before you want to kindle the fireplace. You also do not need to look after the chimney since you do not have one.
- Electric fireplaces look real. Electric fireplaces are very similar to wood-burning ones as they realistically imitate wood burning, sparks of coal and cracking sound. A lot of electric fireplaces come with a frame made of wood or plaster and look simply amazing. If you want, you can decorate your fireplace with natural stone or mosaics. It will all add charm to your fireplace and make the house even cosier. It is all up to you and your imagination.
Modern electric fireplaces have a liquid crystal display instead of fire. You get a very realistic picture with all these mirrors, LED backlighting and sound, which simulates the sound of crackling firewood.
- Electric fireplaces are inexpensive. Sometimes wood-burning fireplace can cost several thousand dollars. Thus, a lot of people cannot afford them even if they want to. Therefore, it is more convenient and more profitable for them to buy an electric fireplace.
It is, of course, a completely different question whether you want to use the fireplace to heat your house. In this case, an electric fireplace is not an option since it does not heat the room. But if you want to just decorate your house, then an electric fireplace is the right answer.
- Electric fireplaces are durable. How long do electric fireplaces last? On average, they can last from 10 to 25 years which is surprisingly long. Unlike other heaters and fireplaces, they do not have problems such as corrosion or rust. Even after many years of use, these devices may look and function like brand new.
- Electric fireplaces are easy to install. In order to install an electric fireplace at home, you do not need to knock out a wall, build a foundation, etc. Simply put the fireplace on the wall or in the corner of the room. Some electric fireplaces can be hung on the wall, like a TV, which will save you space in the house. The only thing you need to provide is that there is a nearby outlet for connecting the fireplace. It takes a lot of time to build a full-fledged fireplace, but you can enjoy the electric fireplace even on the day when you bought it.
- Electric fireplaces offer a variety of design solutions. Today you can choose an electric fireplace of almost any colour, size and shape. This is very convenient since you can choose a fireplace that matches the design of your room.
- Electric fireplaces are safe. Electric fireplaces have an automatic disconnect function which is very convenient. In addition, electric fireplaces rarely even get warm so your children and pets will never burn themselves. You can touch the fireplace at any time as it does not heat up and always remains cold, which means it is safe for both adults and children.
- Electric fireplaces can be used all year round. Not all fireplaces can work at any time of the year no matter whether it is winter or summer outside the window. Very few people will kindle a real fireplace on a hot summer day. But if you are a happy owner of an electric fireplace, you will enjoy it 365 days a year.
- Electric fireplaces do not use a lot of electricity. Electric fireplaces are not expensive to run but the power of each model depends on the number of functions in it, the presence of a heating mode and the principle of operation.
The most economical are electric fireplaces that work exclusively in the decorative mode when the energy consumption is from 60 to 150 watts.
This indicator depends on the type of lamps used in the electric centre:
|Electric Fireplace||Energy Consumption|
|Electric fireplaces with LED lamps||25-50 W / h|
|Electric fireplaces with incandescent lamps||100-150 W / h|
|Electric fireplaces with halogen lamps||150 W / h and more|
- On average, the thermal power of most electric fireplaces is 1-2 kW. You will need an electric fireplace with a power of 1 kW (1000 W) for a room of 8-10 square meters, accordingly, you will need a fireplace with a power of 2 kW (2000 W) for a room of 16-20 square meters, and so on. An electric fireplace consumes energy just like an electric kettle, so it can be plugged into an ordinary power outlet. Some models are equipped with special self-disconnecting thermostats which save electricity.
- You cannot get carbon monoxide poisoning from an electric fireplace as electric fireplace emits absolutely no combustion products, but at the same time, it imitates real fire just like a wood-burning fireplace.
- Transportability. Electric fireplaces are usually small and light. They are not mounted anywhere and most often do not to be built into the wall. Thanks to this, the electric fireplace can be easily moved to another room or even taken to the country with you. If you move somewhere, you will not have a headache over your favourite fireplace.
- Electric fireplaces have the economy mode. Electric fireplaces can work for heating( which obviously is not the main task of this type of a fireplace) or they can simply project the flame in the firebox consuming no more than 100W.
- No permissions or approvals are needed for electric fireplaces. If you decide to install an electric fireplace, you do not have to ask permission from anyone, and this is a big plus with our bureaucracy.
- Fire safety. A correctly installed and connected electric fireplace is as safe as any other electric device. The wood fire is more dangerous when it comes to fire safety which is not surprising, given the close proximity of open fire and a wooden floor or carpet. There are many cases when a fire started from a lump of coal emanating from a firebox.
- Electric fireplaces can do more than just creating a cosy atmosphere. There are electric fireplaces that have additional features. For example, electric fireplaces can humidify the air. There are fireplaces with a built-in filter that purify the air of dust, pollen, spores of fungi and harmful microorganisms.
- Electric fireplaces have a timer for those who like to take a nap watching the flames flickering in the fireplace. You can just set the time for the fireplace to automatically switch off so that you would not waste electricity when you are asleep. It is OK, though, to leave electric fireplace overnight but you will end up paying more money for electricity.
Electric Fireplaces Disadvantages:
- Electric fireplaces have an artificial fire. The main advantage of electric fireplaces apparently can be the main disadvantage. If you want to enjoy the real fire, then electric fireplaces are not for you.
- Electric fireplaces cannot heat up your house. Almost all electric fireplaces cannot act as the main source of heat in the house. Electric fireplaces emit as much heat as a small electric heater.
- No electricity — no heat. Since these fireplaces operate on electricity, they cannot be used during power outages. If you live in remote areas where the lights are often turned off due to rain, strong winds and other natural phenomena, then an electric fireplace is not an option. It simply will not become a reliable source of heat in cold days and nights for you.
- Safety. If you use an electric fireplace at the same time as other electric appliances, this can create a huge danger. Several electrical appliances can consume maximum power, which can lead to an explosion due to overloading the power cable. You might need another wiring system to avoid this. The safety paragraph was mentioned in electric fireplaces’ advantages. It is true, but you will need to make sure your wiring is in good condition, otherwise, your electric fireplace can cause a fire.
- An electric fireplace will raise your electricity bill. Modern electric fireplaces consume about 2 kW during operation. But in addition to this, you will also watch TV, do the washing-up, use your dishwasher and your refrigerator. Now imagine the electricity bill at the end of the month. Believe me, it will be impressive. But, if you choose the economical electric fireplace, you will be all fine.
- Electric fireplaces can be noisy. Some people compare the sound of electric fireplaces with the sound of a fan. It’s no secret that electric fireplaces work on the principle of a fan heater. Several spirals are heated in it, through which air is driven by a fan. That is why this sound might get annoying for some people.
- You need to ventilate your house. Electric fireplaces can cause a lack of oxygen. Like any other electrical appliance, the fireplace burns oxygen, so the room in which it is located must be regularly ventilated. It is very important for the well-being and overall human health.
- Electric fireplaces create a different atmosphere. An electric fireplace will never make a crackling sound of burning logs and will not fill the room with the sweet smell of wood. You can’t fry marshmallows or hot dogs over an open fire of your electric fireplace.
Artificial flame does not have that inexplicable magic that real fire has. In addition, very few models of electric fireplaces can please owners with the sound of crackling firewood. An artificial flame is the main reason for the disappointment of the owners of electric fireplaces.
But if you do not buy the cheapest electric fireplace that a shop has, you can find out that a lot of them will be very similar to a real wood-burning fireplace.
Where Do I Put My Electric Fireplace?
An electric fireplace can be put pretty much everywhere — in the living room, dining room, bedroom and even the hallway if it is big enough. It is recommended to leave more free space around the portal so that the hearth is clearly visible.
People usually choose a place for a fireplace so that they could see it directly from a couch or an armchair. You can decorate your electric fireplace with some special fireplace accessories such as candles in candlesticks, photo frames, small lamps and so on. Also, a nice mirror or a portrait could be a great option.
What Should I Look for in an Electric Fireplace? How to Choose an Electric Fireplace?
- Choose proper electric fireplace power capacity. If you are planning to use the electric fireplace to heat the room, pay attention to its power. On average, you will need 1 kW of power for 10 square meters of floor space for rooms with a standard ceiling level of 2.5-2.7 m
- Make sure your wiring is in good condition. When choosing a power, you need to objectively evaluate the possibilities of your wiring. If it is old, you must fix it otherwise you are putting yourself and your family at great risk.
- Choose a famous well-established brand of electric fireplaces. You need to make sure you buy a good quality product as it should last for at least 10 years. Go to the shop and ask shop assistants to help you to choose the best model for its money. Here is a list of some well-established electric fireplaces brands: Dimplex Fireplaces, ClassicFlame Fireplaces, Napoleon Fireplaces, Duraflame Fireplaces, Comfort Smart Fireplaces. Modern Flames Fireplaces, SimpliFire by Hearth & Home.
- Be sure to pay attention to the availability of a warranty for your electric fireplace. It is advisable to choose a model of such a manufacturer that has service centres in your area.
- Choose the right size. An electric fireplace should be proportionate to the dimensions of the room and furniture. If you install a small electric fireplace in a spacious living room, it will simply be “lost”, accordingly, if you buy a big fireplace for your tiny apartment, it will just take up a lot of space and your apartment will seem even smaller.
How to Choose a Home Fireplace Video Guide
All in all, an electric fireplace is an elegant solution to create a comfortable home environment and cosiness. It can become a real decoration of the house and at the same time heat the room just like a real fireplace.
The advantages of artificial fire include rather quick heating of the room, no need to spend time on kindling, as is the case with wood-burning fireplaces, a significantly larger number of functions (humidification, filtration mode, power selection, glow setting). You can choose an electric fireplace even for the tiniest room. You will never burn yourself and you do not need to clean your electric fireplace every time you want to kindle it.