5 Things to Consider When Buying an Electric Fireplace

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There’s nothing that says “warm” and “cozy” quite like a fireplace. But if you don’t already have a gas or wood-burning fireplace built into your existing house, you might think you’re out of luck. However, there’s an alternative that can be installed quickly and easily, while still providing the warmth and coziness of a traditional fireplace.

Electric Fireplaces: 5 Things to Think About

Electric fireplaces have become extremely popular over the past decade-plus. They’re cost-effective, spatially efficient and aesthetically pleasing. But before you go out and purchase one, make sure you do your research. Here are a few things to know:

1. Understand What an Electric Fireplace Is

 An electric fireplace is basically an electric heater that mimics the visual design of a wood or gas fireplace. They’re often used in place of conventional fireplaces when there are restrictions or limitations in place. And because they’re heaters with no actual flame, there’s no need for a chimney or other exhaust system.

Electric fireplaces plug into the wall and typically come with two settings. When the “flame only” setting is turned on, it produces the look of a flame without putting off any heat (saving energy and money). However, the heater can also be turned on to provide both aesthetic beauty and functional heat. Depending on the size and rating of the electric fireplace, a quality unit can heat between 150 to 1,000 square feet with ease.

 2. Select the Right Style

There are a number of different styles and designs. If you’re shopping for an electric fireplace, you’ll probably end up choosing one of the following three:

  • If you have an existing fireplace in your home that can no longer be used in its original capacity, a fireplace insert is an excellent choice. It simply slides into the existing space and provides heat.

  • The most common type of electric fireplace is the standalone unit. These models are designed to mimic the style of a built-in fireplace and often come with mantels and other traditional design elements.

  • Wall-mounted. This style is by far the most modern and sleek. It actually insets into the wall and allows you to establish a heat source in virtually any room. Wall-mounted options require more work than inserts and freestanding ones, but they look great.

While there are some pros and cons to each, the type of electric fireplace you choose will be predicated on your room requirements and personal preferences.

 3. Research Heating Options

 “Electric fireplaces also come in a variety of heating options, depending on how much heat output you need,” Homes.com explains. “This comes down to the size of the room you’re looking to heat and how much you plan to rely on the fireplace for warmth.”

There are really three basic options. You have forced fan units, which force outside air over specially designed heated coils that then pump the hot air into the room. (These typically work well in spaces that are smaller than 400 square feet.) Then there are infrared options, which use infrared lights to provide cozy, ambient heat for spaces up to 1,000 square feet. Finally, there are ceramic options. These electric fireplaces blow air over hot ceramic plates. (This is ideal for small spaces.)

4. Take the Voltage Into Account

Before purchasing a unit, make sure you do some research on the electrical hookup. This isn’t typically a problem, but the last thing you want is to overload your system.

“The voltage of the circuit must be 120 volts in most cases. That’s standard voltage though, so that shouldn’t be an issue,” eFireplaceStore mentions. “Be sure to evaluate what other items are using the same 120-volt circuit as the fireplace. It may be necessary to remove other items to lessen the load.”

5. Consider Additional Features

Think about any additional features you’d like to have in your electric fireplace system. Many of the top models on today’s market have upgrades and optional features. This may include:

  • Remote control for easy operation

  • Touch screen panels for custom control

  • Multicolor backlights

  • Sleep timer

You might not care about any of these upgrades, but it’s helpful to know what’s out there. Take your time, do your research, and make an informed purchase!

Is an Electric Fireplace Right for You?

Electric fireplaces offer many of the same benefits as traditional wood or gas fireplaces, but without the same hefty price tag or complicated installation. If you’re ready to add some warmth and coziness to your home, now’s a perfect time!