Introduction to Electric Fireplaces
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.
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
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
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
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 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.