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Frequently Asked Questions on Electric Fireplaces

Frequently Asked Questions on Electric Fireplaces

Are you thinking of buying an electric fireplace to spruce up your home or outdoor space? Whether you're a seasoned user or a curious first-timer, we've curated essential answers to all your burning questions about electric fireplaces.

What is an electric fireplace?

An electric fireplace is a device that simulates the appearance and effects of a real fireplace, but without burning any fuel or producing any smoke. Instead, they use LED lights, mirrors, and fans to create realistic flames and heat.

Electric fireplaces are a good choice for most since they are easy to install, safe to use, and energy-efficient. They also come in different styles, sizes, and features, so you can find the one that suits your home and preferences.

White wall mounted 3-sided smart electric fireplace

In photo: Touchstone Chesmont 50-Inch Wall Mounted 3-Sided Smart Electric Fireplace

Do electric fireplaces give off heat?

Most electric fireplaces give off heat and have built in temperature controls so you can decide how much warmth you want. Another good thing is that you can have the fireplace show flames without turning on the heat function. This means in the summer, when it's already warm, you can enjoy the look of the flames without adding extra heat to the room.

Can an electric fireplace heat a room?

If you're looking for a cozy way to warm up your room, you might be wondering if an electric fireplace can do the trick. The short answer is yes. Depending on the size and power of the electric fireplace, it can heat up a small to medium-sized room pretty well.

However, some electric fireplaces are not very efficient when it comes to heating large spaces. They also consume electricity, which can add up to your energy bill. And they don't produce any real fire or smoke, which some people might miss. But if you're looking for a safe, easy and convenient way to add some warmth and ambiance to your room, electric fireplaces can be a great option.

36-inch recessed electric fireplace in a living room

In photo: Touchstone Sideline 36-Inch Recessed Electric Fireplace

Do electric fireplaces use a lot of electricity?

Electric fireplaces typically do not use a large amount of electricity compared to other heating methods. The amount of electricity they use can vary based on the model and how it's used. On average, electric fireplaces use about 1,500 watts of power with the heater on full blast. When you use the fireplace on low heat or just for the flame effect (without the heat), it uses much less electricity, about as much as a small household appliance.

To give you an idea, if you use an electric fireplace for a couple of hours each day for the flame effect and occasional heating, it might increase your electricity bill, but usually not by a huge amount. It's more energy-efficient than a traditional wood-burning or gas fireplace.

When you use an electric fireplace for zone heating you can even save some money by turning down your thermostat so that you only get the heat where you need it.

However, for significant heating over long periods, especially in larger rooms, it can consume more power and may have a more noticeable impact on your electricity bill.

Are electric fireplaces efficient?

Yes, electric fireplaces are 99% efficient and are considered more efficient than traditional wood-burning or gas fireplaces in severals ways:

Energy Efficiency: Electric fireplaces convert nearly 100% of all the electricity they use into heat. This means they have a high energy efficiency, with little waste. 

No Heating Loss: Since electric fireplaces don't require a vent or a chimney, there's no heat loss through these outlets, which is a common issue with traditional fireplaces.

Adjustable Heat Settings: Many electric fireplaces allow you to adjust the heat output. This means you can use less energy by setting it to a lower temperature, or even enjoy the ambiance of the flame without any heat at all, which uses very little electricity.

Zone Heating: They are great for "zone heating," where you only heat the room you're using. This can be more efficient than heating your entire house, especially if you spend most of your time in one or two rooms.

Low Operational Costs: The cost to operate an electric fireplace is generally lower than running a gas fireplace or central heating. The exact cost will depend on your local electricity rates and how often you use the fireplace.

While electric fireplaces are efficient in these ways, it's important to note that for heating larger areas or an entire home, central heating systems might be more effective. Electric fireplaces are best suited for supplemental heating in specific rooms.

Are electric fireplaces safe?

Yes, electric fireplaces are generally considered to be safe, especially when compared to traditional wood-burning or gas fireplaces. Here are some reasons why they are safer:

  1. No Real Flames: Electric fireplaces produce heat through electric coils and display flames via LED lights. This means there's no real fire, reducing the risk of burns or fire hazards.
  2. No Emissions: Since there's no real combustion happening, electric fireplaces don't produce harmful gases like carbon monoxide or smoke, which are common concerns with wood or gas fireplaces.
  3. Cool to the Touch: Many electric fireplace models are designed with exterior surfaces that remain cool to the touch, making them safer around children and pets.
  4. Automatic Shut-off: A lot of electric fireplaces come with built-in safety features like automatic shut-off timers or overheat protection, which turns the fireplace off if it gets too hot.

Easy Installation and Maintenance: Electric fireplaces don’t require a chimney or ventilation system, reducing the risks associated with chimney fires or gas leaks. They also don’t require the same level of maintenance as traditional fireplaces.

However, as with any electrical appliance, it's important to use them correctly to ensure safety:

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation and use.
  • Don’t leave an electric fireplace running unattended for an extended period.
  • Keep flammable materials, like curtains and furniture, at a safe distance.
  • Ensure your fireplace is properly maintained and inspected regularly.
  • By following these guidelines, you can safely enjoy the warmth and ambiance of an electric fireplace in your home.

Pros and Cons of Electric Fireplace

What are the benefits of electric fireplaces?

Electric fireplaces have surged in popularity as a compelling alternative to traditional wood-burning or gas fireplaces. This is because they boast several benefits over their counterparts, making them an attractive choice for modern homes.

1. Easy Installation and Use

No chimney, vent, or gas line is required for electric fireplaces. A simple plug into a standard outlet is all you need to start enjoying its warmth and ambiance. Some models also allow you to control them with a remote, allowing you to adjust temperature, brightness, and flame color effortlessly.

2. Safety and Eco-Friendliness

Electric fireplaces don't produce any smoke, ash, or emissions that can harm your health or the environment. They also don't pose any fire hazards, as they don't have real flames or hot surfaces.

Standard insert electric firebox

In photo: Dimplex 23-inch Standard Insert Electric Firebox

3. Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings

LED lights and fans create realistic flames and heat while consuming electricity instead of gas or wood. Compared to space heaters or furnaces, electric fireplaces are highly energy-efficient and using them to warm up specific rooms instead of heating the entire house can lead to substantial cost savings on heating bills.

4. Stylish

With various designs, sizes, and styles, electric fireplaces can complement any décor and space. You can choose from wall-mounted, freestanding, or built-in models, along with different finishes, colors, and features.

What are the drawbacks of electric fireplaces?

While electric fireplaces offer convenience and ease of use, they come with a few drawbacks that you should be aware of before making your purchase decision. Here are some of the disadvantages to consider:

1. Lack of Real Flames

Despite their visual appeal, electric fireplaces cannot fully replicate the authentic experience of a traditional fireplace. While they use LED lights and artificial logs to mimic flames, they miss out on the smell and tangible warmth of a genuine fire. The absence of these elements might diminish the overall ambiance you seek.

However, it's worth noting that electric fireplaces have come a long way in recent years. Some models now offer higher BTU ratings, providing more substantial warmth and comfort. So, while they may not recreate every aspect of a traditional fireplace, you can still find electric fireplaces that deliver impressive heat output and a cozy atmosphere for your home.

2. Limited Heating Capacity

Electric fireplaces are typically suited for providing supplemental heat to small areas, with a heating capacity ranging between 4,000 to 5,000 BTUs. If you require more substantial heat output or wish to warm a larger space, you may need to consider electric fireplace models that can provide up to 10,000 BTUs of heat..

3. Limited Mobility

Electric fireplaces’ reliance on electrical outlets may limit your options for placement and interior design. If you want the flexibility to change the fireplace's location or move it to different areas of your home, you can explore portable options for added convenience and versatility in your interior design. These portable units are not fixed to a specific location and can be moved around as needed. 

Elegant slim line built-in living room electric firebox

In photo: Dimplex 33-Inch Slim Line Built-In Electric Firebox

Are electric fireplace inserts worth it?

An electric fireplace insert are designed to be installed in an existing fireplace to create the illusion of a real fire. They are a convenient and eco-friendly alternative to traditional fireplaces since they do not require any venting, gas lines, or wood burning, which means they do not produce any smoke, ash, or emissions.

They are also safer than real fireplaces, as they do not pose any fire hazards or risks of carbon monoxide poisoning. Electric fireplace inserts are easy to operate, as they can be controlled by a remote or a thermostat. They also have various settings and features, such as flame brightness, color, speed, and sound effects.

So if you’re wondering whether you should invest in an electric fireplace insert or not, we’re here to assure you that they are a great way to add ambiance, warmth, and comfort to any home.

Traditional Modern Flames Redstone 30-inch built-in electric fireplace insert

In photo: Modern Flames Redstone 30-Inch Built-In Electric Fireplace Insert

Are electric fireplaces tacky?

Are electric fireplaces tacky? Well, that depends on who you ask. Some people might think they are a cheap and fake way to create a cozy atmosphere, while others might appreciate their versatility, convenience and safety. But ultimately, it's your home and your choice, so don't let anyone else's opinion stop you from enjoying your electric fireplace.

Choosing the Best Electric Fireplace

What are the different types and features of electric fireplaces?

How do you choose the right electric fireplace for your needs? Here are some of the different types of electric fireplaces and their features.

1. Wall and flush mounted electric fireplaces

Wall-mounted fireplaces include those that can be mounted on any wall, either recessed or surface-mounted. They are ideal for small spaces or modern décor, as they have a sleek and minimalist design.

Built-in/wall mounted electric fireplace in bedroom

In photo: Napoleon Alluravision Deep Built-In/Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace

2. Freestanding electric fireplaces

These are electric fireplaces that can stand on their own, either on the floor or on a mantel. Freestanding electric fireplaces are more traditional and realistic-looking, as they often have a wood or stone finish and a glass front.

Image of Touchstone Sideline Elite 50-Inch Freestanding Electric Fireplace with White Mantel (#90001-80036)

In photo: Touchstone Sideline Elite 50-Inch Freestanding Electric Fireplace with White Mantel

3. Electric fireplace inserts

As mentioned above, electric fireplace inserts can fit into an existing fireplace opening or a custom-built enclosure. They are perfect for converting a wood-burning or gas fireplace into an electric one, without any hassle or mess. 

Simplifire Traditional Built-in Electric Fireplace Insert

In photo: Simplifire Traditional Built-in Electric Fireplace Insert

4. TV stands with electric fireplace

As it’s name suggests, TV stands with electric fireplace are integrated into a TV stand or an entertainment center. They are convenient and functional, as they provide both heat and storage for your media devices. They can also have different styles and colors to match your décor, and some models have adjustable shelves and drawers.

Electric fireplace with cabinets

In photo: HearthPro Davis Media Console with Electric Fireplace for 47-inch TV

5. Electric Fireplace Mantel Packages

For those seeking a complete fireplace package with a traditional appearance, electric fireplace mantel packages are an excellent choice. These packages include a mantelpiece, electric fireplace insert, and sometimes even a USB charging port.

Wall-mounted electric fireplace with USB charging port

In photo: Napoleon Stylus 59-Inch Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace with USB Charging Port

6. Tabletop Electric Fireplaces

Tabletop electric fireplaces are compact and portable units designed to be placed on any flat surface like a table or a counter. They are perfect for smaller spaces, such as offices or bedrooms, and offer the charm of a fireplace without taking up much room.

Black tabletop electric fireplace

In photo: Dimplex Winslow Curved Wall Mounted/Tabletop Electric Fireplace

What are the best electric fireplaces on the market?

When searching for the best electric fireplaces on the market, several factors come into play. The top contenders typically offer a combination of realistic flame effects, efficient heating capabilities, user-friendly controls, and aesthetically pleasing designs. 

But ultimately, the best electric fireplace for you will depend on your specific needs, space requirements, and budget. Take the time to compare different models, read customer reviews, and consider expert recommendations to make an informed decision that suits your home and preferences.

To help you on your quest to find the best electric fireplaces, we’ve rounded out our recommendations in our 2023 guide and included our picks below.

Black vertical wall mounted electric fireplace

In photo: Napoleon Allure Vertical Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace

Electric fireplace costs

How much do electric fireplaces cost?

The cost of electric fireplaces can vary depending on the type, features, and quality. 

Electric fireplace inserts can be found in the range of $350 to $3,000, while freestanding units may cost between $350 to $2,000. 3-sided electric fireplaces may cost more.

Wall-mounted electric fireplaces typically range from $250 to $1,500 or higher. Electric fireplace TV stands can cost between $500 to $2,000, while built-in and flush-mounted options may be priced from $350 to $3,000 or more. Electric fireplace mantel packages generally also fall within the $500 to $3,000 range.

If you’re looking for electric fireplaces that offer the best features and quality at an affordable price, you may want to check out our Value Finds.

Electric fireplace log set

In photo: Dimplex Revillusion 20-inch Plug-In Electric Log Set

What factors affect the cost of an electric fireplace?

The cost of an electric fireplace depends on several factors, such as the size, style, features and installation options. Some of the main factors are:

1. Size

The larger the fireplace, the more it will cost. Larger fireplaces may also require more electricity to operate, which can increase the running costs.

2. Style

Electric fireplaces come in various styles, such as wall-mounted, freestanding, mantel, insert or TV stand. The style can affect the cost of the fireplace, as well as the installation and maintenance costs.

3. Features

Electric fireplaces have different features, such as flame effects, heating options, remote control, timer, thermostat and sound effects. The more features the fireplace has, the more it will cost.

4. Installation

Electric fireplaces are generally easy to install, as they only need a power outlet and a suitable location. However, some fireplaces may require additional wiring, mounting or venting, which can increase the installation costs.

50" wall mounted electric fireplace in dining room

In photo: Touchstone Mirror Onyx - 50" Wall Mounted Electric Fireplace

How can you save money on an electric fireplace?

While an electric fireplaces can be great addition to your home, especially if you want to create a cozy and warm atmosphere, they can be quite costly to buy and operate. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with some tips to help you reduce the costs of an electric fireplace.

1. Use it as a supplemental heating source

An electric fireplace is not meant to replace your central heating system, but rather to provide extra warmth in a specific area. You can use it to heat up a room that you spend a lot of time in, such as your living room or bedroom, and turn down the thermostat for the rest of the house.

2. Shop around for the best deal

Electric fireplaces come in different sizes, styles, and prices, so you should compare different options before you buy one. Try looking for discounts, value finds, sales, or coupons online or in stores.

3. Maintain it properly

While, an electric fireplace requires minimal maintenance, you should still clean it regularly and check for any damages or malfunctions. This can help you extend its lifespan and avoid costly repairs or replacements.

Media console with electric fireplace for 45-inch TV

In photo: HearthPro Nate Media Console with Electric Fireplace for 45-inch TV

Electric fireplace installation

How do you install an electric fireplace?

The installation process of an electric fireplace varies based on the type and brand. 

Generally, freestanding electric fireplaces require minimal setup and can be placed anywhere with a standard electrical outlet. Wall-mounted electric fireplaces may need some drilling and secure mounting to the wall while electric fireplace inserts can be easily fitted into existing fireplace openings. For built-in electric fireplaces, professional installation might be necessary for recessing into the wall. 

To help you out, we’ve created specific installation guides each type. Refer to these comprehensive guides for step-by-step instructions and ensure a seamless installation process.

 See-through electric fireplace

In photo: Napoleon Clearion Elite See-through Electric Fireplace

Where is the best place to install an electric fireplace?

The best spot to install an electric fireplace depends on what you're looking for and the layout of your home. 

If you want a traditional look, you can install it in a fireplace mantel or surround. This will give you the feel of a real wood-burning fireplace, but without the hassle of cleaning up ashes or smoke.

But if you’re aiming for a modern look that is sure to impress your guests, you can mount it on the wall or recess it into the wall. This will give you a sleek and minimalist design that will save you floor space and create a focal point in your room.

If you’re going for a more flexible look, you can get a freestanding or portable unit that you can move around as you please. This will let you change the ambiance of any room in your house with ease.

Freestanding electric fireplace in living room

In photo: HearthPro Wall-Mounted/Free Standing Electric Fireplace

After all, the great thing about electric fireplaces is that they can be easily installed in apartments or rental properties without any major renovations. Just find a spot with access to a power outlet, follow the installation instructions, and voilà! You've got yourself a cozy corner to enjoy. Remember to consider safety and manufacturer guidelines as well to ensure a great experience with your electric fireplace.

Can electric fireplace be installed in a wall?

Yes, electric fireplaces can be installed in a wall. Wall-mounted electric fireplaces are designed specifically for this purpose. These fireplaces are designed to be flush-mounted or recessed into the wall, creating a seamless and modern appearance.

Elite recessed/wall mounted smart electric fireplace against white brick wall

In photo: Touchstone Forte Elite 40-Inch Recessed/Wall Mounted Smart Electric Fireplace

What are the safety precautions for electric fireplaces?

Safety is the top priority when it comes to enjoying your electric fireplace. Here are some essential safety precautions to keep in mind so you can continue enjoying your electric fireplace while keeping your home from harm.

1. Read the manual

Take a few moments to read the user manual provided by the manufacturer. It may not be the most thrilling read, but it contains crucial safety instructions and guidelines specific to your electric fireplace.

2. Comply with electrical requirements

Make sure your electric fireplace is plugged into a dedicated electrical outlet that can handle its power needs. Avoid using extension cords or power strips, as they might not handle the load and could lead to potential hazards.

Also, check if your electric fireplace has overheating protection. It's a nifty feature that automatically turns off the unit if it gets too hot.

3. Keep clearances

Give your electric fireplace some space! Keep flammable items like curtains, furniture, and paper at a safe distance to prevent any accidental fires.

Gold 50-inch built-in smart electric fireplace in elegant living room

In photo: Touchstone Deluxe Gold 50-inch Built-In Smart Electric Fireplace

4. Don’t leave it unattended

Electric fireplaces are generally safe, but it's always better to be cautious. Just like you wouldn't leave a traditional fireplace unattended, the same applies to your electric fireplace. Especially if there are little ones or pets around, keep an eye on it while it's running. 

5. Keep it clean

Give your electric fireplace some TLC by keeping it clean. Dust and debris can build up, affecting its performance and creating potential safety issues.

6. Unplug when done

When you're finished using the electric fireplace, don't forget to unplug it from the wall. It's a simple step that ensures safety and saves energy.

Media console with electric fireplace for 47-inch TV

In photo: HearthPro Dixon Media Console with Electric Fireplace for 47-Inch TV

What are the safety hazards associated with electric fireplaces?

While electric fireplaces are generally safe, there are a few hazards to be mindful of. First, ensure the fireplace is plugged into a proper electrical outlet to avoid electrical issues. Overheating can occur if the unit isn't ventilated correctly or if the cooling system malfunctions. 

Fire hazards are also present, so make sure to keep flammable items away from the fireplace to prevent fires. Be cautious with cords to prevent tripping, and make sure your fireplace has necessary safety features like overheating protection. 

Lastly, follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper installation and maintenance, and never leave the fireplace unattended for long periods. If you have concerns, consult a professional or the manufacturer for guidance on safe usage.

Wall-mounted electric firebox

In photo: Dimplex Multi-Fire XHD Series Plug-In Electric Firebox

Let’s wrap it up

There’s no doubt that electric fireplaces offer a convenient and stylish way to bring warmth and ambiance into your home without the hassle of traditional fireplaces. From easy installation to various designs, they cater to different preferences and spaces. 

Whether you're looking for a wall-mounted centerpiece, a cozy addition to your bedroom, or a freestanding unit for versatility, there's an electric fireplace for everyone. So, shop now and find the perfect electric fireplace to elevate your living space and create cherished moments with family and friends!


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