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Introduction to Electric Fireplaces

What you need to know about electrical fireplaces
before purchasing one

Do you have the desire to relax in front of a crackling, warming fire on a cold winter night? Does your old fireplace take too much time, mess and bother to get it to the point of a good fire? Are the cumulus of ash and odious by-products involved with wood burning taking its toll? An electrical fireplace may be the answer to your problems.

Fireplace in living room

Early electrical fireplaces

Earlier electrical fireplaces weren’t much to look at. They were fake in appearance and had a very low-budget wood-burning effect and sound. These models were much more useful on a stage than in your living room. They have come a long way since then, and they are improving in design, function and efficiency.

The first authentic-looking electric fireplace came about in 1997 by the Dimplex Company. The initial model had a realistic wood burning look and sound and produced about 4500 BTU’s. This isn’t enough heat for an entire household, but for a 400 to 500 square foot room, it can suffice. This first model was portable and only needed to be plugged into an existing wall socket to power it on. It had adjustments for heat and a fan, and you could either have only heat or the lighted burning effect active.

Bedroom fireplace

The heating element

The heating element of an electric fireplace consists of metal coils that heat up when the device is plugged into an electric socket. During this heating up time, a very quiet electric fan turns on to force air through and around the coils and out of the front of the appliance. This is very efficient since nearly all the heat generated by the coils will be forced into the room. Some models have directional control so that you may be able to adjust the flow of warm air throughout the room, or at your feet.

Some electric fireplaces have thermostats for precise control of the room temperature, and even timers for when you need the unit to shut down. These units are very safe in that they remain cool to the touch on the exterior, and most of these appliances come with safety features such as tip-over and overheating shut-offs. The authentic looking wood fire in the unit is achieved by regular light bulbs you can purchase for replacement in any hardware store. The units use refracted light, in a random pattern that’s three-dimensional, giving an overall authentic effect.

Stone fireplace

Adjusting the fires

Most fireplace units’ “fires” can be adjusted from slowly burning embers to a roaring blaze with just the turn of a knob. Some units even come with burning sounds, adding to the effect. The benefits of an electric fireplace over conventional wood-burning or gas units are obvious.

With wood hearths, you have many inconveniences. You have to have an ample supply of wood if you use the fireplace for warmth during cold months. Starting a fire can be hazardous but mostly a chore. Then you have to keep feeding the wood into the hearth to keep the heat up.

Of course, cleanup is the final issue – what to do with all those ashes and how about having the flue cleaned periodically? In a gas fireplace scenario, you have different setbacks. Carbon Monoxide build-up is a big issue. You would have to safeguard your home with extra carbon monoxide detectors after installing a gas fireplace.

Gas produces moisture as a by-product during combustion. An un-vented log system can become very hot in the front, so children and pets have to be monitored, and you cannot burn the logs for hours at a time. You also have to check local codes to see if installing a gas fireplace is even legal!

Purchasing fireplace

Purchasing an electric fireplace is extremely easy. You can find them in hardware stores, retail stores, fireplaces outlets and even Online. There is a myriad of models to choose from, and nearly all are portable so you can move them around your room to suit your decorating needs. Make sure to read this best electric fireplace reviews before choosing model you want.

You can even purchase an electric fireplace insert; appliances that fit inside your existing hearth to give it a look, sound, and feel of an authentic fireplace. It is indisputable that an electric fireplace is a safe, easy to maintain, and efficient way to heat a room without any safety issues to worry about, and with the same charm, comfort, and appeal as traditional fireplace.

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