Are infrared electric fireplaces energy efficient?
Efficiency means getting the most bang for your buck. An efficient fireplace creates the most warmth for the least money. The second type of efficiency incorporates non-energy impacts. In times of climate change, we need to be certain our electric fireplace uses materials effectively and without waste. One of the major questions people ask is, are infrared electric fireplaces energy efficient? Looking at both types of efficiency, we can see they are. At every step, from building the fireplace to producing heat, we build efficiency into the system.
Other fireplaces can release carbon, carbon monoxide, methane, and other waste products. However, an infrared electric fireplace does not emit these waste products in your home because nothing burns. The flame effect is cool and holographic. No flames, no smoke, no waste gasses, a MagikFlame electric fireplace is home-emission free and one of the best electric fireplaces on the market.
Scale efficiencies mean that most electricity production runs with greater efficiency when made on a larger scale – like a centralized plant or a wind farm. So, even the original power plant (even coal) will run cleaner than a traditional home fireplace. And an infrared electric fireplace has more efficiencies than that. This article is part of your MagikFlame electric fireplace buying guide.
In this post, you will learn:
- The average cost to run an infrared electric fireplace
- How infrared fireplaces work
- About efficiency
- How this efficiency translates into ambiance
- How much energy they use
- To compare infrared fireplaces to other heat
- The difference between a conventional fan electric fireplace or a space heater
- About safety features
- Ways you can help your fireplace save on energy costs
- The MagikFlame story
- Plus – a look at the MagikFlame fireplaces that can save energy at home
The average cost to run an infrared electric fireplace
Running an infrared electric fireplace continually for six months will cost you around $60. Most other heating options, from other space heaters to central heating, will come in at $400-700 to heat the same amount of space.
The MagikFlame infrared electric fireplace’s costs depend on how you use it. If you only use the flame effect, without the heat, it costs about 50 cents per month to run. A standard usage on low (used for room heating within a central heat system) costs about $7.80 per month. If you run the fireplace on low for six months and on visual flame only for another six, the cost is just under $50.
Times you need the unit on high are rare and involve the electric fireplace being the only heat source. The cost for six months on high and six months on visual is still less than $150.
How infrared quartz fireplaces work
Infrared quartz fireplaces use two mechanisms, one to heat and the other to provide the look of the flame. These electric fireplaces use an infrared heating source that provides faster heat and heats larger rooms than a conventional electric fireplace heater. A quartz bulb produces heat output as infrared light. You can feel this light warm up your skin as infrared heat.
With this technology, our infrared electric fireplace stove creates 5200 BTUs. Our heating element warms up to 1000 square feet of room, compared to 400 square feet for a forced-air blower heater. It pairs this heat with a realistic flame effect.
Infrared fireplaces are used primarily to heat a room working as an infrared heater. An infrared heating unit heats the air at once. The quartz heating unit provides radiant heat across the room, which you can feel almost at once. The quartz bulb produces heat as radiant heat that your skin senses as immediate warmth. You do not have to worry about overheating, because the heat drops as soon as you turn your fireplace thermostat down or turn it off.
Visual flame system
Our infrared fireplace provides the whole feeling of a fireplace. We filmed many fires in high-def and used those films as a basis for our special effects. A real log sits in the fireplace. A video of a flame projects over the log. The HoloFlame technology uses holographic systems to project a hologram on top of the log and the video. The hologram brings them together and makes the flames have a more realistic color, shape, and movement. Holographic technology makes the visuals appear to be a real 3D flame. You can visit our website and check out a video of the different flames we have available.
Other electric fireplaces
Other types of electric fireplaces involve different technologies to simulate a flame. A mechanical unit hosts a rotating cylinder with LED lights. A steam or mist fireplace evaporates water and colors the water to appear like flames. A gel flame combusts a chemical ingredient to make an actual fire.
Are electric fireplaces energy efficient? Yes, most are. But MagikFlame makes the best-infrared quartz electric fireplaces.
The full measure of electric fireplace efficiency is a ratio of how much energy they use over how much energy they produce. If you had a fireplace that uses half of the fuel burned, that unit would run at 50% efficiency.
To answer the question: are infrared electric fireplaces energy efficient? The answer is yes. Most infrared electric fireplaces run at near 100% efficiency, meaning most of the electricity they use is turned to heat. The infrared fireplace wastes little.
How does a MagikFlame fireplace achieve this efficiency? Here are a few features that boost fireplace efficiency
- LED lights – LED bulbs to create the lights inside the fireplace. LED bulbs run far more efficiently and are greener than traditional incandescent light bulbs.
- No moving parts – Energy used for mechanical movement will always be a little inefficient. With nothing moving inside, the fireplace can devote almost 100% of its energy to direct heat.
- Multiple heat settings – You can change heat settings on the infrared fireplace. Bring the heat to your ideal temperature instead of choosing between high heat and off. You will even have a touchscreen to select your heat and merge your electric fireplace with the rest of the heat of the house.
- Long life span – A MagikFlame fireplace will last an average of 15 to 20 years. There are no moving parts to wear down, and we construct the electric fireplace with care out of high-quality materials. These increase the time you can enjoy your fireplace and the efficiency of your dollars spent on the unit.
How this efficiency translates into ambiance?
The visual fire combines with the efficient heating unit and creates an ambient flame that resembles a proper fire. In fact, it resembles many actual fires. You have your choice of several flame videos to choose from.
We enhance this experience with extra features. The flame visuals are accompanied by the sound of logs crackling. Puffs of pine scent drift into the room and improve the environment. With vision, sound, and smell, it’s difficult to tell a MagikFlame from a wood-burning fireplace. You would have to get extremely close to the fireplace.
Our electric fireplaces and firebox inserts have touchscreens that let you adjust all the features above, the fire and the fireplace’s thermostat. Because they have no fans, you hear the crackling of the flames as the main noise.
Some gas fireplaces are able to compete with infrared electric fireplaces in regard to fuel costs. However, that in no way makes them more efficient. The infrared unit is cleaner and more sustainable. A gas fireplace has a small burner that does not burn all the gas that enters it. An infrared electric heater creates no emissions in your home. Your home stays clean, and your environmental impact remains low.
Burning something in a home wood-burning or gas-burning fireplace creates a low-level local source of emissions that can contribute to climate change. With an infrared fireplace, you are running on the fuels your utility company selects. These can be sustainable and clean, like wind or solar, but will always run more efficiently than a home unit. Utility companies almost always create a more efficient use of electricity than running a home unit.
To compare infrared fireplaces to other heat
A MagikFlame fireplace creates 5,200 BTUs as a secondary heat source and warms up to a 1,000 square foot room at peak efficiency. Are infrared electric fireplaces energy efficient? Yes. They run at nearly 100% energy efficiency.
Wood fireplaces and wood burner stoves
Wood fireplaces and wood-burning stoves are beautiful, but they burn dirty. Wood is one of the least efficient fuels you can burn. Wood contains a great amount of waste material that, when it burns it turns into ash or soot. The amount of waste you clean out of your fireplace and that a sweep cleans out of your chimney are only the start. Much of this waste blows out of the top of the chimney. In the air, it becomes particulate pollution that can be harmful to breathing and health. This is the main reason doctors do not recommend fireplaces to patients with asthma or COPD. When they produce heat, much of the heat goes up the chimney as well.
A real fire open fire fireplace operates at 10% efficiency. That means only 1/10 of the energy created warms the room – the rest is visible light or is wasted. If you put glass doors on the fireplace, the efficiency rises to 20%. A high-quality wood-burning fireplace insert or burn box costs about $2000. They run at around 65,000 to 85,000 BTUs each hour. These units burn at about 50% efficiency. They are much better than an open fire but worse than a gas-burning, electric fireplace or insert.
A gas-powered fireplace either runs on natural gas metered into your house or a propane tank in areas not connected to gas lines. Propane costs much more than either gas or electricity. A gas fireplace insert costs between $1400 and $3000 and warms a medium-sized room with a heating capacity of 25,000 to 40,000 BTUs. You can incorporate a gas fireplace into a zone heating system. Gas is an efficient and inexpensive way to heat a living room.
Electricity has a more stable cost than natural gas. Gas fluctuates based on immediate supply and demand. Electricity has fluctuations, but they are lesser because maintaining a mix of electrical suppliers balances market fluctuations. Check your fuel mix from your electric supplier. Your home energy blend likely starts with coal and gas plants. These old-fashioned fuels balance with more sustainable sources, such as hydro, wind, and solar. Gas units’ efficiency deteriorates. This means that an electric fireplace will add more to a home’s value. An efficient fireplace is a valued sustainable feature.
The difference between a conventional fan electric fireplace and a space heater
A conventional fan electric fireplace or space heater uses a mechanical fan to move the heat out into the room. This fan requires more energy to run than the infrared system. The fan breaks down much more often because it contains several moving parts, whereas an infrared system has few. The fan moves heat around using a convection pattern. The fireplace blows that warmed air back into the room, like a heat pump.
About safety features
Gas fireplaces are a safety hazard because they burn using a real flame. You must keep children and pets away from the fireplace. You also need to keep all combustible a reasonable distance away, such as papers, books, and dust, for the risk of a house fire.
However, an infrared fireplace has no actual flames. Gas units also pose the risk of producing carbon monoxide. This makes the infrared fireplace safer and less likely to start a combustion fire in your home. The external parts of the fireplace, including the glass panes, do not heat during operation. Cool surfaces increase the safety of small children playing around the fireplace.
With the remote control, you have better command over the fire, making it much less likely to overheat. Unlike many space heaters, the electric fireplace will not overload its heating capacity.
Ways you can help your fireplace save on energy costs
The most efficient way to run a fireplace is to have the unit heating only the space needed. One way you can improve this efficiency is to close the doors to the room you are heating, so heat does not escape. Don’t use this infrared heater as the only heat unit for the house (unless yours is a tiny house).
Keep your central heating unit on low, both to provide a base heat for the fireplace room and to heat the rooms the fireplace doesn’t reach. Turn the fireplace off when you leave the room at night. The MagikFlame may be safe, but you do not need to heat a room you or your family are not in. If you are uncertain what time you need to shut the fireplace down, MagikFlame fireplaces come with a shut-down timer. The unit will turn off when the timer stops.
Keep your windows closed, too. Unlike many wood fireplaces, the infrared fireplace does not need a cracked window. The heater warms the room needing no aid from outside.
Purchase the right-sized fireplace. Know the size of the room you want to heat and select a fireplace that produces enough heat to fill your space. If the heater is too small, it will strain to heat the room and not run at peak performance.
The MagikFlame Story
MagikFlame’s story is one of hard work to design new technology and build a quality product. The founder of MagikFlame, Howard Birnbaum, worked in movie special effects before he developed the idea for a better fireplace. He took holographic technology that he used doing effects for The Matrix, Starship Troopers, and Harry Potter and created a realistic holographic flame. His flame received a patent in 2020 and differs from any other fireplace technology.
MagikFlame paired with a local woodworking company in Florida to create mantels and surrounds for the fireplaces. We make each unit with care in America. The goal is top quality, not mass production or sales all over the world.
Plus – A look at the MagikFlame fireplaces that can save energy at home
You can buy several types of infrared quartz fireplaces. A firebox insert fits into your old fireplace. Check out the MagikFlame realistic fireplace buying guide. A wall mounted electric fireplace can seem like a fireplace but goes flush against the wall. We place a recessed unit in a niche cut into the wall. Every MagikFlame creates radiant heat in the room itself. They can serve as a TV stand or with the television mounted on the wall above the unit.
The Morpheus electric fireplace is our smallest mantel at 45” W x 42” T x 15” Deep. Its sleek, white neoclassical design makes it look timeless in a new or older home as a wall mount. The Artemis is larger at 52” W x 43” T x 15” D. Its design is simple and fits nicely into modern homes. The Athena holds Victorian flourishes to match a more traditional home. It measures 55” W x 48” T x 18” D. The Athena has a bright white finish and hand-carved decorations.
The Churchill Corner Fireplace is deeper and designed to fit into a corner. This creates a thick mantel that you can use as a TV stand. It measures 52” W x 42” T x 40.5” D. It’s a simple but weighty design that fits well in contemporary or traditional homes.
The MagikFlame Electric Fireplace 28″ Insert measures 28” W x 32” T x 12” D. A fireplace insert is an economical way to go if you already have a traditional fireplace, a recessed feature, or at least a mantel. This type of electric fireplace is the easiest to install. You place an insert in the opening and plug it into the wall. But you would need to get an electrician to wire the unit into your home’s wiring if you wanted that. You can also build this insert into a freestanding frame of your own or another freestanding device.
Are infrared electric fireplaces energy efficient?
Yes. They create warm air, which becomes a great supplemental heat source to existing central heating. We load them with design ideas for safety, such as needing no venting. We load them with efficiency features, like their different heat settings.
What other brands of infrared quartz fireplaces can I buy?
ClassicFlame also creates infrared heating units. The Duraflame DFI-5010-01 electric heater is another infrared fireplace. Both ClassicFlame and Duraflame are strong brands with long-term reputations.
Where can I get one?
You can buy a MagikFlame directly through our website or on Amazon. You can also purchase one on Amazon. Using the data supplied by Amazon, you can see a direct comparison to other electric fireplaces.
Does the MagikFlame actually come with a fish tank?
Yes. MagikFlame has a virtual fish tank that you can run when you do not want to see a fire. On hot summer days, fish can be more enticing to observe than a flame that looks hot.
What are BTUs?
A BTU is a British Thermal Unit, which is how we measure the heat output of all heating devices, including an infrared heater.
What is zone heating?
In zone heating, you divide your house into usage zones. The used bedrooms may be one, then the main living room, then less-used rooms. You can heat each of these zones to separate temperatures according to your needs. You can save money by heating some less than others.