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FAQs about electric fireplaces

Source: Plow & Hearth
Source: Plow & Hearth

Electric fireplaces are growing in popularity. They can make any room warm and inviting without the hassle of a traditional fireplace with a chimney, venting, and the upkeep. They can be decorative and provide a nice ambiance.

What types of fireplaces are there?

You can purchase a typical electric fireplace installed on a single wall, a mantel fireplace that looks more like the traditional fireplace, media console, electric stove, or a gel fireplace. Keep in mind, these fireplaces are used as supplemental heat sources and shouldn’t replace any primary heating source.

 What is the difference between a gel and an electric fireplace?

Gel fireplaces use gel cans or bottles to produce a flame, while electric fireplaces must be plugged in and they come with a blower that provides the heat. Gel typically doesn’t provide as much heat as an electric fireplace. While they are less expensive than electric fireplaces when it comes to upfront cost, you will have to continually purchase the gel cans or bottles.

Are there benefits to getting an electric fireplace?

Absolutely. They’re easy to install, a chimney and venting isn’t required, upkeep is minimal, they’re inexpensive compared to a regular fireplace, they’re easy to use with just the flip of a switch or push of a remote control button, they’re eco-friendly, and still provide a realistic appearance. The only maintenance electric fireplaces require is the replacement of bulbs of every few years.

What if I already have a fireplace?

If you’re tired of dealing with a real fire and the upkeep of a traditional fireplace, there exist electric fireplace inserts that can be installed within your traditional fireplace. You should use a professional to install any time of insert or electric fireplace and have to make sure you have the dimensions correct. Then it will work just like an electric fireplace with the look and feel of a traditional one.

What size room can the fireplace heat?

The average size of a room that will benefit from an electric fireplace is about 400-square-feet. The bigger and more expensive you go, the bigger the room can be, and vice versa. Though it depends on other factors too, such as insulation in the room, the location of the electric fireplace, outdoor temperatures, and more. But federal law states that an electric fireplace cannot have a capacity larger than 1,500 watts, or about 5,000 BTUs, as they become dangerous beyond that limit.

Can you treat the mantel and media console fireplace the same as a regular fireplace?

Yes. Mounting a television, decorations, or painting on or above an electric fireplace is safe. Just be sure the mantel or console can handle the weight and size of the items you choose.

What other cool features come with an electric fireplace?

Some electric fireplaces allow you to turn the flame on without the heat, if you’re just looking for ambiance. You can also turn on the heat without the flames if you’re only interested in keeping a room warm, instead of staring at the flames. The glass on electric fireplaces typically stays cool to the touch, unlike real fireplaces that get hotter and hotter as you get closer, making it safe for children and pets. Fancy electric fireplaces have the option to change the color of the flames. You can also purchase a remote for an electric fireplace, which is definitely something you cannot do with a traditional one.


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