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3 Urban Legends About Electric Fireplaces

3 Urban Legends About Electric Fireplaces

Electric fireplaces are one of the more misunderstood models in the hearth industry. Some people assume they don't heat well or if they do it will cost you an arm and a leg on your utilities. Others imagine old-school electric fireplaces in their mind that have unrealistic flame patterns and look more like a science project than a modern heating device. Since there are so many urban legends floating around about electric fireplaces, we decided to devote this article to discussing three of the top myths about them. We hope this puts your mind at ease if you are interested in owning one.

3 Urban Legends About Electric Fireplaces
electric fireplace
Legend #1: Electric is more expensive than gas

While many people think small electric fireplaces are expensive to own, you have to take several things into consideration before deciding which type of fireplace is more expensive overall.

First, electric fireplaces cost next to nothing to install. Most of them come fully assembled, quickly plug into a wall outlet and are ready to go. Gas fireplaces however, can cost several hundred up to a thousand dollars for installation and labor fees. So, the upfront cost of a small electric fireplace will usually be way less than the cost of a gas unit.

Next, gas units can give you more heat per unit of energy which over time could even out the higher upfront cost of their installation. Though, electric fireplaces are not as expensive to operate as they may appear. Utility costs for electric fireplaces run between 8 cents to 23 cents per hour. We know that range is a bit broad, so for reference, a 1500 watt fireplace usually stays around the 8 cent to 10 cent range.

3 Urban Legends About Electric Fireplaces
Napoleon High Country Fireplace

The last thing to consider about electric fireplace costs is that because they are ventless units, they are 100% efficient. That means none of their heat is lost up the chimney and everything you pay for ends up in the room you are trying to heat.

So, between minor installation costs, comparatively low cost per hour and 100% efficiency, it can be said that electric fireplaces are not more expensive than gas fireplaces to run. They offer a modern look with relatively no maintenance and effort on your part. So whatever you end up paying may be worth it for that peace of mind.

Legend #2: Electric fireplaces don't look as good as gas or wood-burning fireplaces

At the end of the day, this legend is subjective. While it is true that electric fireplaces have come a long way since they were used as props in the theater in the early 1900s, some people still prefer the look of a "real" wood burning fireplace.

Modern electric fireplaces have authentic flame patterns and usually have the ability to switch between different flame colors. So, while it may not be a "real" wood burning fire, there is something to be said about matching your fireplace flames to the color of your décor.

3 Urban Legends About Electric Fireplaces
Napoleon Allure Electric Fireplace

Also, don't forget that many electric fireplaces have an option to use them with or without the heat. Yes, you heard that right. If you live in a warmer climate and love the crackle of a fireplace but don't need the extra added heat, an electric fireplace may be just the thing you need to liven up your space.

Legend #3: Electric Fireplaces don't heat as well as others

Last, but not least, we will address the myth of electric fireplace heat output. It is true that electric fireplaces put off less BTU's than gas or wood burning fireplaces. Though, in some cases, an electric fireplace may actually heat better than an open wood burning fireplace or a B-vent gas fireplace. Open faced fireplaces can lose up to 80% of their heat up the stove pipe. So, a fireplace can put off tons of heat but end up being a "waste" because you lose so much of it through the venting.

3 Urban Legends About Electric Fireplaces
Superior See Through B Vent Fireplace

Like we said earlier, electric fireplaces are 100% efficient. Every ounce of heat they put off goes into the room & does what it is supposed to do. So, depending on what gas or wood burning fireplace you are comparing it to, an electric fireplace may be the better option for heat.

Even though I know you will be sad, this is where we will stop the article for today. If you have more questions, please look through our never-ending list of guides and articles here. If you'd like to have a conversation with an NFI certified specialist, please feel free to call us at 800.203.1642

About the Author

Collin Champagne

With over 13 years in the industry, Collin is a National Fireplace Institute (NFI) certified technician and managed content for the eFireplacestore and eCanopy brands. He has achieved the highest NFI certification possible as a Master Hearth Professional and is certified in all three hearth appliance fields: wood, gas, and pellet. With experience with sales and in-field installations, his expertise shines through his technical knowledge and way with words.

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