There is a lot of confusion surrounding electric fireplaces. Some of that comes from “lifestyle bloggers” who put out information in an attempt to draw a crowd through relevant content. Though, many of them lack actual experience in the field they are talking about. Other misconceptions come from a general lack of understanding in the public.
Fireplaces are a tricky appliance to master. EPA standards continue to change and improvements in technology have birthed hearth appliances with more visual appeal than actual heat. So, it's no wonder the average person doesn't know what to expect when buying a fireplace of any type, much less an electric one. So, we thought it would be helpful to discuss a few misconceptions about electric fireplaces and help you manage your expectations before making a purchase.
While electric fireplaces can put off up to 10,000 BTU's of heat, each model is different and sometimes, manufacturers can overstate the power of their products. Many things factor into how effective an electric heater is. For example, the insulation in your home can make a difference in how much heat stays indoors and is absorbed in the room you actually want it to be in.
Also, the height of your ceilings will make a huge difference in how you experience heat from your fireplace.High ceilings tend to suck heat to the top of the room, so it is encouraged to use a ceiling fan or buy a fireplace blower to make sure the heat your fireplace puts out actually ends up in your direction and not congregating around the ceiling or in a corner
- electric fireplace with high ceilings
Be aware that many electric fireplace models may say they can heat “up to” a certain square footage. However, the maximum square footage it is able to heat would only be possible in ideal conditions. If you live in a home with poor insulation, high ceilings and intense temperatures outside, your fireplace may only heat half of the square footage suggested because of all the things playing against it.
This BTU calculator is a handy tool to help you figure out what fireplace will work best in your home based on your living conditions.
If you want a good general rule of thumb, electric fireplace heaters should be used for zone heating. They are fantastic for heating smaller rooms or “zones” as opposed to heating an entire house. Don't buy one expecting it to warm a living space with many sectioned off rooms or multiple floors.
One interesting thing to be aware of with electric fireplaces is that all of them don't put off heat. Yes, there are a select few that are made for people who live in warm climates and want to enjoy the ambiance of flames without the actual heat. Those units draw very little power and easily connect to a standard wall outlet.
- blue flame electric fireplace
Though you may save on your utilities when you buy an electric fireplace heater, you will also miss out on the realistic flame patterns our wood burning and gas fireplaces bring to life. For the adventurous people out there, you might enjoy unique flame colors, like red and blue, that electric fireplaces offer.
Some people prefer that over a traditional wood burning fireplace look. If you do, you might also want to consider customizing your electric fireplace with glass or rock mixed media. Mixed media is a great way to personalize your electric heater and bring a new sense of style to your room.
While some electric fireplaces don't put off heat or cost you extra in utilities, others that do heat have to run consistently to keep a decent level of heat flowing. So, this can lead to a higher utility bill, especially in areas where utilities already come at a premium.
Electric fireplace heaters are best suited to be used as “zone” or space heaters, like we mentioned before. If your HVAC unit struggles to heat your entire living space, adding an electric fireplace may be just the trick to warm up a smaller room that normally stays chilly.
One of the greatest benefits of having an electric fireplace is its portability. Because these units are typically not installed into a wall, moving them from room to room or adjusting their position in one space is very simple. Their ability to be relocated is also due in part to their limited heat output.
Many gas or wood burning fireplaces have regulations on where they can be installed due to the intense heat they put off. So, like everything else in life, there are always pros and cons. But thankfully you have this article to help you weigh out all the details and make the best decision for your home.
- electric fireplace in living room
Since electric fireplaces typically need help to move their heat beyond the small space they are mounted in, it's great to consider installing them in an area that has a ceiling fan. Fans give them a much better chance of balancing heat and give you the most bang for your buck.
As mentioned in the last section, electric fireplaces don't have the same restrictions on their installation as gas and wood burning fireplaces do. Many models are approved for bathrooms, bedrooms, and even use in mobile homes.
- electric kitchen fireplace
While the units that do not radiate heat are easily connected to and do not draw much power, the ones that do can become taxing on older electrical work in your home. A manufacturer might say your unit plugs into a 120-volt electrical outlet, which is true, but only for some electric fireplaces. While for others, you may have to dig into the user's manual to realize you need a dedicated 15 amp electrical circuit so you don't overload the room circuit.
For older homes, or homes with lots of high amp devices, this is very important. If you don't know this information up front, it could lead to tripping your circuit breakers repeatedly. That will get old real quick. So, the cost of adding an additional circuit, if your fireplace needs it, should be considered up front.
Now that we have covered expectations for heat output, placement, installation and more, this brings us to the end of this article. We hope you have learned enough here to take the next step towards purchasing the fireplace of your dreams. If you have more questions, please reach out to us at 800.203.1642 or email us by clicking this link.