There’s an electric fireplace – that doesn’t require any venting – for every space. That’s right, no chimney necessary. These aren’t the electric fireplaces of old featuring glowing plastic logs and a hot wire. Now you can find electric fireplaces made for wall mounting, stand-alone models complete with a mantel, old-fashioned stove models, or even mounted in a media center.
Electric fireplace technology and safety features have come a long way and feature everything from LED flames to infrared heating technology. Below you’ll find everything you need to know before purchasing the right electric fireplace for you.
The principle function of the electric fireplace is heating your space. Shocking I know, and it’s important to be familiar with some of the key terms and options in order to find the right one for you.
Forced Air Heat
These are units that blow air over a heating element and then into the room. Though not as efficient as infrared heaters, forced air heaters have come a long way in both safety and technology.
Infrared heat is created by a quartz element that supplies instant heat that warms objects, like you, instead of warming air temperature. This allows for less energy expenditure and almost instant, soft warmth. Infrared fireplaces can heat up to 1000 square feet and require no venting so they’re prefect for supplemental or zone heating. What’s zone heating? Glad you asked …
The idea here is simple. Zone heating keeps rooms you’re in warm while others that aren’t in use can stay cooler. It’s a great way to save some money on your electrical bill. Zone heating also allows you to keep your thermostat set lower keeping your heating bills lower while maintaining a comfortable temperature in the rooms you use the most.
Speaking of heating, when reading about electric fireplaces you’ll see the heat produced measured in BTUs or British Thermal Units. A BTU measures the amount of work (or heat) needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree. Water is of course harder to heat than air so not as many BTUs are needed to heat a room.
Watts are also typically listed to measure how much electricity is used when the fireplace is creating heat. Don’t get confused between the two. The wattage is referring to electricity consumption, not necessarily heat produced. So, typically when shopping for an electric fireplace, you’ll want to look for lower wattage and a higher BTU rating. Because of their relatively low wattage, most electric fireplaces can run off of a standard 120 volt plug (about 1500 watts), making electric fireplaces much more efficient than wood burning fireplaces. According to EPA studies, traditional fireplaces lose almost 90% of their heat through the chimney. Because electric fireplaces don’t need a chimney, they can heat a room much faster and with much less energy needed than burning logs.
Also, when you’re not using a traditional fireplace, cold drafts can come down into your home – not a problem with an electronic fireplace. Pair that with the fact that most electronic fireplaces use highly efficient LED flames to mimic real fire and you have an efficient, smoke-free, and beautiful way to heat any space.
The fact that an electric fireplace produces no real flames eliminates the chance of sparks starting a fire or causing burns from hot fireplace grates. Because of the nature of infrared heat, today’s electric fireplaces stay cool to the touch while heating your room. Even forced air models have a vent above the actual fireplace that blows gentle heat into your room as opposed to a real fire which makes temperature control extremely difficult. Almost all electronic fireplaces today have automatic shut-off timers in case you doze off in front of the fire. Did I already mention no smoke? Burning wood creates smoke and carbon dioxide which can become dangerous at high levels – again, not an issue with an electronic fireplace.
Not only are they safe and efficient, but electronic fireplaces come in just about every shape and size for any space. Whether you’re looking for a wall-mounted model, a small model in an entertainment center, or a classic free standing model, there is a perfect electric fireplace waiting for you. Shop Dimplex electric fireplaces and other best-selling brands right here at Hayneedle.