Why would you want a wall fireplace for your home? Perhaps you're drawn to the easy installation or the fact a wall mount fireplace doesn't need venting. Maybe it works best in your small space or is budget-friendly. Maybe you just want to be awesome. After all, the only thing cooler than hanging artwork is mounting real flames on your wall.
Besides the aesthetic appeal, wall-mounted fireplaces are great for heating small spaces and add cozy warmth to the room.
In this article, we will give you an overview of the customization options for this fireplace. We'll also include pros and cons, installation, shipping, maintenance, and even recommended brands.
What Is A Wall-Mounted Fireplace?
Napoleon Allure 50" Wall Mount Electric Fireplace
When people think of a wall fireplace, most immediately think of an electric wall fireplace. That's because a wall mounted electric fireplace is hung from a wall using brackets, anchors, and mounting plates. It tends to have a modern linear style and comes in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Most wall-mounted fireplaces are electric, but there is a healthy selection of gas models available, too.
Wall Mounted vs. Built-in Fireplaces
Wall-mounted fireplaces are not the same thing as conventional built-in fireplaces. The main difference is that the built-in models are recessed into a wall or cabinet. The wall-mounted models are mounted directly to the wall and do not require any framing. (Some wall-mounted models have the option of being partially recessed similar to built-in models.)
The beauty of wall-mounted fireplaces is that they can be installed almost anywhere. You don't need to frame any openings in your wall or run a vent pipe. As long as you follow the guidelines, you can mount it anywhere on the wall. The guidelines specify how to make sure the fireplace is far enough away from flammable material.
Wall-mounted models tend to be less expensive to purchase and install than built-in models. They are also portable so you can take them down and mount them somewhere else. This is a great option for renters!
Built-ins are a more permanent installation. They are meant to be framed into an opening in a wall or cabinet. The extra construction makes them more labor-intensive and expensive to install. They also require precise framing dimensions, which could slightly limit some of your installation options.
Majestic Pearl II Peninsula Direct Vent Gas Fireplace
One advantage is that they come in multi-sided configurations. Wall-mounted fireplaces typically show the fire only from the front, but built-ins can be see-through, 2-sided, or 3-sided.
Before You Buy a Wall-Mounted Fireplace
Like most things, the benefits of wall-mounted fireplaces come with a few limitations. They're modern, low-maintenance, and space-saving. They also project from the wall and offer limited heat. We'll make it easy with a list.
Amantii - While still a relative newcomer to the fireplace industry, Amantii has wasted absolutely no time in producing a broad range of electric wall hanging fireplaces. Their products offer excellent value and a host of different styles and media options. They are also quick to improve their products and correct any perceived shortcomings with each model.
Dimplex - When you purchase a Dimplex fireplace you can rest assured you've made a wise investment. Dimplex was an early player in the electric fireplace industry and pioneered many styles that are now commonplace in the market. Dimplex products are innovative and long-lived, making for a great investment.
Heat & Glo - If you are on the hunt for a modern and striking wall mounted gas fireplace, this manufacturer has what you need. Several models they produce offer an impressive linear flame paired with a wide range of surround options that help them blend right in with the decor of the room.
Napoleon - This long term manufacturer of gas fireplaces was among the first to offer a true wall mounted gas model. Their units offer contemporary styling with curved fronts that give their products more presence in the room. They also boast air filtering technology that makes them very clean burning.
How Do Electric Fireplaces Operate?
Napoleon Allure 42" Electric Fireplace
Electric fireplaces come with or without a heating component. The most common heating component is a fan-forced coil heater, but other options are available. The models usually feature an on/off switch and 3 to 5 heat settings.
Do you want the charm of a fire without the extra heat? Non-heating electric models are the perfect option for people living in warmer climates who want to enjoy a heat-free fire.
For the rest who might appreciate a little boost of heat, there are three main options. As mentioned, the most common is fan-forced coiled heat. Electricity running through a coil heats the wire and a fan blows air over the heating element and out into the room. Some of the fan-forced models use ceramic heating elements, which are even better at producing heat. Quartz infrared heaters are more rare and warm the objects in the room with infrared heat.
The heating ability of these units ranges from 400 to 1,000 square feet. Often the flames and heater are controlled separately, and you can run one without the other. Many include timer settings so you can set the fireplace to run for a certain amount of time.
The controls allow you to adjust the heat settings and flame patterns. Depending on the model, the controls can include buttons on the unit, a handheld remote, or a wall-mounted control. Some models are even compatible with your smartphone and other smart devices.
Features Found in Electric Fireplaces
The highlight of electric fireplaces is their incredible versatility. Not only can they go in almost any room, but they also come with so many options to customize the color and appearance of the flames.
Napoleon Allure Vertical Wall mount Electric Fireplace
For example, the Napoleon Allure Vertical Series comes in two sizes and can be partially recessed in the wall for a sleeker look. At 1,500 WATTS, it produces up to 5,000 BTUs. Not only can you adjust the flame color, the ember bed and sidelights also glow with different colored lights. Depending on the size of the model, you can choose a crystal cube or birch log decorative media set.
Amantii 60" Fire and Ice Electric Fireplace
The Amantii Fire and Ice Slim Models switch flame color with the touch of a button. Colors include blue, purple, rose, violet, orange, and yellow. The standard decorative media is glass chunks with clear and blue diamond fire glass. An optional stainless steel surround is also included. It comes with a remote and the option of hard-wiring into a thermostat. Other sizes are available including deep and extra tall and include even more media options.
Napoleon Allure 50" Electric Fireplace
Installing a Wall Mount Electric Fireplace
Start by planning your electricity source. You'll want to choose a spot away from water that gives the best view of the flames. Electric models must have a dedicated 15-Amp circuit. We recommend hiring an electrician to install a recessed outlet behind the unit.
If you decide not to install an outlet behind the unit, you can use a Panduit to conceal the electrical cords. Some models come with paintable electrical cords so that you can camouflage the cord with the wall paint color.
Read and follow all the instructions for mounting. Most manufacturers require you to anchor linear fireplace models to at least three wall studs. If you plan to screw into drywall without studs, make sure you have the proper drywall anchors. Please note that some fireplaces may be too heavy to mount on the sheetrock alone and may require studs for support. Have someone assist you when installing the hardware and mounting the fireplace.
A surface mount includes hardware to mount directly on the wall without any framing or cutting into the wall. Some models offer the option of a flush mount. This involves cutting into the wall and building a recessed frame. Another option is to build a frame out from the wall to surround the fireplace. Read and follow the manufacturer's instructions to know the right dimensions and safety considerations.
How Gas Wall-Mounted Fireplaces Work
Napoleon Ascent 36" Linear Fireplace
Gas wall-mounted fireplaces operate as a supplemental heat source. Unlike electric models, there is no option of having the flame without the heat or vice versa. The units use oxygen from the room and vent into the room instead of out through a vent pipe.
Gas models burn either liquid propane or natural gas. Only use the type of gas that your unit was designed for. Using the wrong gas or trying to convert the appliance to burn a different gas is unsafe for vent-free gas fireplaces.
Depending on the model, the unit will have either a standing pilot light (millivolt) or an intermittent pilot light. The job of the pilot light is to light the stream of gas when the main burner is activated. The standing pilot light uses a tiny stream of gas with a continuous burning flame. The intermittent pilot light is a tiny flame that lights only when it is turned on to light the main burner.
These units are designed so that the flow of gas is completely stopped if the pilot light ever goes out. This keeps gas from leaking into the room. There are also oxygen depletion sensors that shut down the unit if they detect low oxygen levels.
Gas wall-mounted fireplaces have a heating capacity range between 200 to 400 square feet.
The control options are similar to the ones offered for electric fireplaces. Typical models include control buttons on the unit and handheld remotes. Some have more sophisticated options including wall-mounted thermostat controls.
These fireplaces have built-in wall mounts so you can easily hang them on your wall. Keep in mind that mounting screws are sold separately. There are a variety of sizes and heat output options. For example, the 24" Plazmafire model produces up to 9,000 BTU while the 31" model has up to 20,000.
These vent-free fireplaces come as either propane or natural gas models. They feature catalytic tiles that filter the by-products of combustion for even cleaner air.
You can select your style of surround and choose from different colors of fire glass. Some models come with an option of either a brick interior panel or a reflective interior panel. Other accessories include an LED light kit.
Installing a Wall-Mounted Gas Fireplace
Start by making sure vent-free appliances are allowed in your area. Plan out where you want the fireplace - you'll want a location with enough ventilation. Hire a professional to install the necessary gas lines. Follow all the manufacturer's instructions and have an extra person help you when mounting the fireplace.
How Big Should My Room Be?
Since gas wall-mounted fireplaces are vent-free, you need enough space and ventilation to maintain good air quality. The heat output of these appliances is measured in BTU. The higher the BTU, the more heat is produced, and the more space and ventilation the appliance needs.
Because of the risk of intermittent operation caused by oxygen depletion, these units cannot be installed in elevations that are more than 4,500 feet above sea level.
Any vent-free fireplace installed in a bathroom must be rated for 6,000 BTUs or less. Bedrooms are capped at 10,000 BTUs. If you have a very small bedroom or bathroom, you may need to limit BTU output even more.
You can determine the maximum BTUs per hour a given space can support using the room's dimensions. Multiply the room's length, width, and height. Take that number and multiply it by 20. That is the approximate number of BTUs per hour the installation space can support.
Have a professional install the gas lines that your appliance needs. This typically involves opening up the wall. You can route a gas line downward from the attic if the home is on a slab foundation. You can also route the gas line from the exterior of the home if the fireplace is up against an outside wall.
As with electric fireplaces, most linear fireplaces must be mounted on at least three wall studs. If you screw into drywall you will need the proper drywall anchors. Some fireplaces models may be too heavy to mount on drywall anchors and require wall studs.
Refer to the section on installing electric wall-mounted fireplaces for the options on surface mount versus flush mount. Read and follow all of the instructions before you begin. Have an assistant ready to help you when the time comes to lift and mount the fireplace.
Caring For A Wall-Mounted Fireplace
If you follow the guidelines for how and where to install electric or vent-free fireplaces, there should be minimal maintenance required. You'll want to keep dust from building up and check occasionally to make sure all the components are in good shape.
For both electric and vent-free appliances, dust the exterior and vacuum the interior to remove any dirt and dust. Check that the electrical wires are in good shape - especially if you have problems with any rodents that could chew the wires!
Vent-free fireplaces should have an annual inspection to make sure everything is in top working order. You can periodically remove the access panels and gently vacuum components such as the fan blades or the oxygen depletion system.
How Will My Wall-Mounted Fireplace Ship?
As with most fireplace appliances, small and medium-sized units ship via parcel. The larger or more fragile units require LTL freight.
No matter what shipping method you use, always inspect the appliance as soon as it arrives. Once you sign off on the shipment, the shipping company is no longer liable for any damages. It's much better to catch any damage before you sign off so you can do something about it! Notify the manufacturer right away if you notice any missing parts or defects.
Amantii Slim 60" Indoor/Outdoor Built-in Electric Fireplace
If you want to add instant drama and charm to any room, simply mount a fireplace. They are low cost, low maintenance, and super easy to install. With so many options, sizes, and styles you are sure to find the perfect one for your home!
If you go with a vent-free gas model, check to make sure your room has enough space and ventilation for the size you want to buy. Other than that, follow the guidelines and instructions in the manual and you will be on your way!