Nothing compares to that bright, red glare given off by a traditional fireplace. Regrettably, such an addition to your living room and its installation, finishing, and maintenance can cost a small fortune. However, there’s a cheaper, family- and environmental-friendly alternative to the old wood-burning hearth – the electric fireplace. In this article, we are going to show you how a faux electricity-powered fireplace works and, of course, the reasons why you should head to the nearest home improvement store to buy one.
How Does an Electric Fireplace Work?
A fireplace needs wood, and plenty of it, if we might add, to generate heat. The major issue with traditional fireplaces is that most of the generated heat gets lost along the way. Experts estimate that more than 90 percent of it goes out the chimney. And that’s the least of your problems. Regular fireplaces need cleaning and firewood to maintain a steady temperature inside the living room.
They also pose some health hazards. For instance, long-term exposure to wood smoke can cause lung cancer, not to mention the fact that inhaling carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide can be potentially deadly.
This is where the electric fireplace comes into action – no logs, no fumes, no chimney, and no more losing precious heat. But how is this achieved? Or, more to the point, how can a fireplace produce heat without wood? Stick around to find out.
Photo by Craftsman Court Ceramics
So, electric fireplaces employ metal coils to warm up your home. As electricity courses through the coils, heat is being generated. A small fan, which is installed behind the coils, ensures that the heat is being dispersed in an optimal pattern throughout the room where the fireplace is. Don’t worry too much about noise coming from the fan because it is virtually silent.
By Tiia Monto [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Most electric fireplaces come with faux firewood and even simulated flames. The logs are usually made of plastic, while the flickering flame effects are being produced by one or more LED bulbs.
That’s it for the mechanics. But is an electric fireplace really worth the effort? We believe so, and here are the reasons why you should consider buying one.
Benefits of Purchasing an Electric Fireplace
The most obvious reason an electric fireplace is worth every penny is that it can be installed virtually everywhere. It doesn’t matter if you have a condo, the proverbial house with a white picket fence, or an RV. There’s a fireplace out there to accommodate every home. Just plug it into a grounded socket and enjoy it.
Now, money-wise, an electric fireplace will require little maintenance (just yearly checkup to make sure everything’s hunky-dory, which will probably cost around 200 bucks, give or take) and, of course, you will be spared the costs of chimney-cleaning, inspection, purchasing/storing firewood, and disposing of the soot and charred wood.
Electric fireplaces’ prices start at around $2,500, while a traditional fireplace can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000, minus installation fees.
Concerning efficient energy use, electric fireplaces are, without doubt, vastly superior to traditional hearths since they generate constant heat without losses. In fact, such a home upgrade can produce 5000 BTUs of heat or even more, depending on the model. That’s enough to provide a cozy atmosphere for two or three rooms.
Photo by Joel
Most models come equipped with a thermostat which allows you to adjust the temperature as you see fit. High-end fireplaces also have stuff like Wi-Fi pairing capabilities which let you control the device from your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or personal computer.
As far as safety is concerned, the point goes to electric fireplaces once again. Why is that, you ask? Think of it this way – no matter how carefully you arrange the firewood, there’s always that small chance of a piece of burning coal to jump from the fireplace and onto the carpet, not to mention the fact that someone may get a nasty burn if they stand too close to the hearth.
With an electric fireplace, you would have eliminated that risk entirely – no more carpet going out in flames and no trip to the ER just because someone decided to hand-test whether the fireplace cooled down. Sure, it is not a good idea to actually touch the fireplace while it is plugged in and running, but that’s more than obvious.
Photo by Goedeker’s
Compared to traditional fireplaces where personalization could cost you a hefty penny, electric fireplaces are highly customizable – you can change the mantle color/material, add more flame effects, realistic logs, and much more.
As you can see, there are many benefits to purchasing your own fireplace that is simple and has efficient heat distribution systems, low maintenance costs, customizable appearance, and, of course, the fact that you can put anywhere you feel like to without being concerned about space.